Beginning in the 1990-91 season, we inaugurated our Student Matinee Performance Series, featuring Friday daytime performances for St. Louis school children by internationally-known players: the lute duo of Paul O'Dette and Hopkinson Smith, the Baltimore Consort, and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. We present 4-8 of these events per season to school audiences, with the majority from St. Louis City schools.
These performances are given by the same world-class performers that appear on the Great Artist Series. We feel that students deserve to hear our art form at its best, in an intimate space, and in a true concert setting. Average audience size is 350 students per concert in a 420- seat hall. This promotes a feeling of connection among the students and the performers, who often come down into the audience to answer student questions. With this series, we are addressing the needs of music educators and students in the city public schools to gain first-hand experience with these art forms. Up until 1999 we worked with the now-defunct Sharing and Pairing Division of the St. Louis City Desegregation Program, which provided busing services to our concerts. Invitations to the performances were sent in cooperation with the Division of Curriculum Services, St. Louis Public Schools. Since 2005 we have worked with Ms. Kaye Harrelson, Music Education Supervisor, St. Louis Public Schools, in similar fashion, sometimes sharing with them the costs of providing the busing. We invite all par- ticipants (both teachers and students), their families and friends to attend the subsequent evening performances of these outstanding artists.
The Objectives of our Education Program (adopted June 28, 2009):
To use the fretted instruments to introduce school-age children, their teachers, and their families to the classical and folk music traditions of world cultures;
To actively encourage student participation in the musical arts by creating specific opportunities for their participation;
To address the specific educational needs of classroom teachers;
To enrich and strengthen families through musical activities in which both adults and children participate;
and To focus the program on the area of greatest cultural and educational need, viz., the St. Louis City Public Schools.