Music in the Schools

Music in the Schools

Music in the Schools is Brevard Philharmonic’s very special outreach program to the elementary school students of Transylvania County. Through live performances and demonstrations, many of which take place right at the County Schools and Brevard Academy, this program introduces the students to the four families of instruments that make up the symphony orchestra.

“Meet the Orchestra” is the Kindergarten program that features four musicians, each representing a different instrument family. The musicians play one or more instruments from their family for the students, showing them the parts of the instrument and how the sounds are made. Finally, the four musicians play a piece together to illustrate the ensemble sound. The children are also allowed to see and touch various display instruments.

The woodwinds are the subject of the first grade program, and the presentation is provided by Camerata Antiqua, a local well-known professional recorder ensemble. Thanksgiving and medieval times have both been themes in past presentations, with the musicians wearing costumes and playing songs that match the theme. They discuss the history of wind instruments from ancient to modern times and play on a wide variety of recorders.

Due to the enormous size of the percussion family, Scott Concert Hall is the setting for the second grade percussion program. All second graders in the county (including private and home schooled) are invited to the Porter Center for an exciting demonstration of many percussion instruments presented by the Brevard College Percussion Ensemble. In addition, Tim Shepard, Director of Music at First United Methodist Church, plays and explains about the Porter Center’s impressive pipe organ. The children are thrilled by both performances as well as the concert hall experience.

Third graders are treated to a presentation of the string family by the Opal String Quartet, a local well-respected professional string quartet whose members also play in area orchestras, including the Brevard Philharmonic. The students, now in their fourth year of Music in the Schools presentations, enjoy learning the history of the violin family (and bows) and hearing the sound of the different instruments in their various registers. The students even get a chance to compose their own pieces on the spot and hear their compositions played by the quartet! The string family presentations are sponsored by Jacquelyn Rogow.

The brass family is introduced to the fourth grade by Pyramid Brass, a local well-known professional brass quintet whose members also play in the Brevard Philharmonic. The program, sponsored by Jacquelyn Rogow, covers the history of brass instruments and how the sounds are produced, including the physics of low and high notes. And it turns out that even a coiled garden hose can be a brass instrument when played by these musicians!

On March 17, 2022, Brevard Philharmonic presents a full orchestra experience at the Porter Center for all County 5th graders in a concert sponsored by Jacquelyn Rogow. BP is proud of completing its mission to reach all county elementary school students with the addition of this 5th-grade program to Music in the Schools.

MIS Program sponsorship over the years includes C Notes, a North Carolina Arts Council Grassroots Grant through the Transylvania Community Arts Council, Jacquelyn Rogow, and other generous BP donors.

For more photos, CLICK HERE.

Music in the Schools expansion

Science and music joined forces at Transylvania County middle schools to entertain students and to reinforce classroom learning.

Thanks to the latest grant received by the Brevard Philharmonic, Music in the Schools is not just for elementary school students anymore.

Sixth-grade students were treated to a trial run of the newest Music in the Schools program, which gave local youth an exploration of N.C. Common Core science concepts using music they already know.

Brevard Philharmonic's Woodwind Quintet brought an oscilloscope that allowed sixth-graders to watch sound waves slide around the screen through a wide range of music, such as "Rhapsody in Blue," the theme from "Jaws" and music from the movie "Frozen."

Together the students and musicians explored concepts such as how sound changes pitch to create the unique sounds of each instrument: flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, and bassoon.

They investigated how the human ear hears sound and the connections between their ears and the decibels measuring loudness.

The group, led by principal clarinetist Stephen Loew, traveled to Brevard Middle School, Brevard Academy and then on to Rosman Middle School, reaching over 300 students in an extension of the elementary Music in the Schools Program that is a time-honored Transylvania tradition.

The elementary program focuses exclusively on music and culminates in the fifth-grade year with a full orchestra performance at the Porter Center at Brevard College. This new middle school program uses music to give students an enhanced understanding of N.C. Common Core subjects. Musicians and the music lovers on the Brevard Philharmonic Board of Directors believe this combination proves to the students that subjects like science and music work together and are relevant in their daily lives.

Board member Mary Beth Shumate, a retired teacher, notes, "It is a unique and powerful experience for students to hear science concepts, such as sound wave, pitch and refraction being made tangible through music they recognize and are enjoying in-person with professional musicians."

The program was funded in part by a grant provided by the Transylvania Endowment, an affiliate fund of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. The Transylvania Endowment is an endowment created to support the charitable needs in the community.

The Virginia W. Ramsey Fund for Music in the Schools

The Virginia W. Ramsey Fund for Music in the Schools was created with gifts from Brevard Philharmonic Board members and other community friends to acknowledge Virginia (Jinks) Ramsey’s efforts to develop an educational outreach program for the elementary school students in the Transylvania County Schools.

The Virginia W. Ramsey Fund for Music in the Schools will help provide financial support for continuing the MIS program in its entirety. Ramsey commented that this Philharmonic program is the only outreach program in the county that provides a sequenced, in-school, educational program that introduces local elementary school children in each grade to live classical music.

“For many children in our schools, this is the first time they have ever heard this kind of music in a live performance. It is our hope that our MIS program, with a different focus at each grade level, will plant the seeds for participating in and/or enjoying orchestral music as they continue their education,” Ramsey said.

Our deepest appreciation to the following for their generous contributions: Karla Atkinson, Mary Sauerteig, Renee & Arnold Braun, Renee Bresler & Wayne Steifle, Kristine & John Candler, and the Ramsey family.

For more information about the orchestra’s new fund, please contact Philharmonic President Carole Futrelle at 884-4221, or visit the orchestra’s website at