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  • Writer's picturePress Release

Students Engage With VSO Through Virtual Field Trips

Words and Images courtesy of Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra has turned their popular Young People’s Concert into a virtual experience this year, available through the end of June, to 12 public school divisions.

The program, which began in the late 1960s, traditionally serves 25,000 students in 12 school divisions throughout the Hampton Roads region. The recording is available to these school divisions: Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Southampton, Franklin, Williamsburg/James City County, Hampton, Newport News, Suffolk, Isle of Wight, Gloucester. Conducted by Helen Martell, Music Director and Symphony Orchestra Conductor for the Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia, the concert features jazz pianist James Collins, as well as Virginia Beach local and GSA alum vocalist, Bridget Cooper.

The VSO partners with Carnegie Hall to provide schools with teacher guides, student activities, and classroom materials. Throughout the year, students learn to sing and play an instrument in their virtual classrooms, and then play and sing along with the Young People’s Concert recording. For most students, this is their first time seeing a symphony orchestra, and the opportunity to play along with the orchestra is an experience that leaves a lasting impact.

Kelly Dee, Hampton City Schools fine arts teacher specialist for music education, stated, “The Virginia Symphony Orchestra has shined brightly as a valued community partner, helping our music educators to overcome some of the challenges they faced during this pandemic school year. Our shared educational mission and work have provided many enriching opportunities that our students would not have experienced without their unwavering dedication to Hampton City Schools.”

“We were so glad to be able to continue our partnership with Hampton Roads teachers and students this year given all of the challenges presented by the pandemic. The VSO remained adaptable, and our musicians were flexible to ensure we could still effectively deliver our programs virtually. Music teachers have been incredibly innovative, and I look forward to incorporating the lessons learned and methods developed during this time to our future partnerships so that we can continue to provide valuable programs for students,” said Rebekah Geiselman, Education and Community Engagement Manager.

This year’s Young People’s Concert is generously funded by the following organizations: City of Norfolk, Chesapeake Fine Arts Commission, Southeast Virginia Community Foundation, Rouse-Bottom Foundation, Newport News Arts Commission, Portsmouth Museum and Fine Arts Commission, Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission, Tidewater Children’s Foundation, Williamsburg Area Arts Commission, Williamsburg Community Foundation, Camp Foundation, VCA, and BCAS.

To view supplementary information provided by Carnegie Hall, visit

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