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Concerts for Kids

Concerts for Kids is a free series of concerts for children in grades 3 to 8 hosted at historic Mechanics Hall. The spring 2014 program is an Introduction to American Composers, which enhances the understanding of American history through a prismatic lens of American classical music and composers, the concept of the "common man" (vs. royalty) and the influence of composers' cultural roots. The program begins with a piece by Benjamin Franklin and ends with a piece composed specifically for this Mechanics Hall program by a 20th century Massachusetts composer. The program includes a performance on the Hook Organ, also known as the Worcester organ. Students learn the fundamentals of concert behavior; they hear various genres and ensemble configurations; and are welcomed into one of Worcester's cultural landmarks. Geared to grades 4 through 8, all of the Worcester Public Schools 1,700+ fifth graders are specifically invited to the spring concerts. Teachers are provided free study materials for use before, during and after the performances.

Located at 321 Main Street, Worcester, Mechanics Hall is a 19th century architectural masterpiece - a world class performance hall and among Worcester's premier gathering spaces. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Mechanics Hall has served as the site for presidential speeches, boxing matches, symphony orchestra and contemporary music concerts, weddings, annual meetings, political campaign kick-offs, as well as business and educational events.

The Massachusetts music/arts curriculum framework, which embraces Common Core concepts, indicates it is necessary for children to acquire music literacy and learn about the roles of artists in our society. It further calls for students to learn about concepts of style - how it is influenced and changes over time and geography. The framework also calls for students to learn how to critically respond to music and about improvisation and composition. All three of Mechanics Hall's Concerts for Kids programs - Introduction to Chamber Music, Introduction to American Composers, and Conversations in Jazz - support these framework indicators.

Most importantly, students will experience a live concert performance in a world-class hall. Students emerge from the experience with a deep understanding of American history as seen through American classical music. They will gain an understanding of classical genres, instruments, vocabulary, composition and improvisation. They will see role models of professional musicians as examples of how playing music can remain a lifelong and enriching activity. They will also experience the historical ambience and acoustical qualities of Mechanics Hall and learn about its role in the history of Worcester.

Since 1994, Mechanics Hall has staged 115 Concerts for Kids for some 66,000+ students, all free of charge. Public, private and parochial schools attend and many bring children year after year. With few exceptions, the musicians have remained faithful to the program since its inception. Pianist Sima Kistanovich of Clark University is music director of the Chamber Music and American Composers programs and Professor Richard Falco of WPI is music director of Conversations in Jazz.

Additional support for this program made by the Alden Trust, WEDF and Mechanics Hall.