Not only does the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra work to put instruments into the hands of students, but they work to educate students about how accessible and enjoyable attending a concert can be.
The Orchestra will be celebrating its 80th anniversary next year and it is strongly invested in the community that has enjoyed and supported it for so long. The La Crosse Symphony Orchestra is especially focused on the youth of La Crosse with nearly as many educational programs as concerts in their yearly series. From scholarships, to violin lessons after school, to getting those violins into the hands of kids, the organization educates and instills into young people a love of the symphony.
“In my position I can see the opportunity that the Symphony has to bring something.” stated Eva Marie Restel, Executive Director of the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra. “People that might not have the opportunities in music, to grow and get the benefits of music education, which we know… studies are showing, you will stay in school longer, your behavior is better, your grades are better, you feel more confident… the improvement is remarkable.”
One of their popular programs is the after school violin lessons at the Boys and Girls Club. Any student can participate, there is no cost, and the lessons are taught by members of the Orchestra. They even give the students free access to the violins, “It’s the Play it Forward part of our program where people donate instruments and we have Leitholds fix them for us…. Or we buy new instruments. So that puts the instruments in the Boys & Girls Clubs and in the schools,“ said Eva Marie.
Not only does the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra work to put instruments into the hands of students, but they work to educate students about how accessible and enjoyable attending a concert can be. “We offer a 45-minute long Symphony for elementary students to come as classes. It’s a really neat program and it talks to students about what’s going on onstage, so there’s some learning,” said Restel. These student focused performances also work on any preconceived ideas the students might have about the Orchestra. “Maybe their Grandmas went, (and they thought it was) something for old people and you had to be super dressed up, and it’s not like that anymore,” said Restel. Young people are always welcomed at the symphony concerts, “Come out. Student tickets are $10 any seat, any concert.”
The La Crosse Symphony Orchestra performs at the Viterbo University Fine Arts Center and the 2020-2021 season will be celebrating the works of Beethoven and is entitled Inspired by Genius. The Christmas concert in particular is incredibly popular and it is suggested that you buy your tickets early.
For information about how to get tickets and to learn more about the educational programs offered by the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra visit www.lacrossesymphony.org.