This past Sunday, the Kidznotes Beethoven ensemble played on Duke campus with both high school students and college students from the local Durham area. This was a collaborative side-by-side concert that I started planning nearly a year ago, and I was so excited to see it become a success. As the President of Duke Chamber Players (DCP) this year, I wanted to try something new for our spring concert, so I suggested to Katie a side-by-side with the kids I’ve worked with for several years now. I also invited the chamber orchestra from Durham School of the Arts to help support us in the lower string sections.
The ages of the musicians on stage had a fairly large range, but all differences in age and experience were irrelevant when everyone was playing together in unison. Each stand had a Kidznotes student and an older student to act as a role model, stand partner, and friend. Collaboration concerts are so important because they truly represent the spirit of music as a universal language and the essence of an orchestra as individual units moving together as one. I was so glad to see three different music groups come together and play so beautifully. I also had a ton of fun, and I was so glad that the audience gave us a standing ovation because the kids deserved it.
This concert was certainly one of the best experiences I’ve had at Duke so far. Many DCP members came up to me afterwards and remarked about the astounding talent of the kids; one of them even joked (or maybe he wasn’t joking) that he had to step up his game in order to play up to par with his stand partner. I hope that some of them will see the kids again if they decide to become regular volunteers next year. I enjoyed this side-by-side concert very much, and I am more than willing to plan more in the future!
-Suqi Huang, Duke Chamber Players President (violin) & former Kidznotes intern