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Detroit Symphony Presents Its Second Live from Orchestra Hall: Classroom Edition on May 14 – the First Webcast Reached Nearly 50,000 Students

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra continues the educational expansion of its Live from Orchestra Hall free HD webcast series with the second Live from Orchestra Hall: Classroom Edition, available to students worldwide on Thursday May 14 at both 10:30am and 11:45am EST via The first groundbreaking Classroom Edition, “An American Adventure,” reached nearly 50,000 students in November 2014, with 300 Detroit public and charter schools participating, along with 125 more schools nationwide.

The May 14 program – again hosted by actor (and Detroit native) Damon Gupton and led from the podium by DSO Assistant Conductor Michelle  Merrill – will debut an animated opening sequence showcasing famous Detroit landmarks using photo-real construction paper origami.  Entitled “Musical Tales,” the program includes music by Respighi, Copland, Debussy, Rossini and Mussorgsky, as well as John Williams’s “Harry’s Wondrous World” and Ari Pulkkinen’s Angry Birds theme. Live from Orchestra Hall: Classroom Edition is available to global audiences for live viewing or on an encore basis through the end of the week. Educational resources for the webcast, including curriculum enrichment materials, can be downloaded at

The Associated Press interviewed a Classroom Edition participating educator after the first webcast last November: “This is ingenious,” said Jonathan Walker, dean of kindergarten through fourth-grade students at University Yes Academy in Detroit. “It broadens their horizons, and it exposes them to something that they’re typically not exposed to. I hope it sparks something – maybe one day they’ll want to join an orchestra.” Kristana Spearman, a 10th-grader at University Yes, said she usually listens to hip-hop and gets her classical from “elevators and restaurants.” But the performance gave her new perspective. “I really like how they’re combining different things … I didn’t know you could do all that,” said Spearman, 16, who previously “tried” to play sax and cello. “It never seemed to work for me, but I might try again.”

For years, the DSO’s popular Educational Concert Series (ECS) has bussed metro Detroit school children to the Max M. Fisher Music Center in midtown Detroit, exposing area youth to orchestral performance in historic Orchestra Hall. Now, with the development of Live from Orchestra Hall: Classroom Edition, select ECS performances will be adapted to provide an engaging classroom experience, complete with an interactive lesson plan archive aligned with the national music education curriculum.

Developed with the help of nationally recognized music education consultants, including a content developer and research analyst who worked for both Sesame Street and 3-2-1 Contact, the program will focus on music that tells a story, whether through opera, film or video game, with curricular ties that emphasize language arts, and featurettes on instruments like flute, percussion and tuba. Teachers and students will also have the opportunity to interact with the DSO and other viewers through social media.

The DSO strives to become America’s Education Concert Provider, delivering webcasts to every classroom in Detroit and nationwide, for students in grades K-8. Live from Orchestra Hall: Classroom Edition is made possible by the support of the Mandell and Madeleine Berman Foundation, with the goal of providing music education to the children of Detroit.


About Live from Orchestra Hall
With the goal of becoming the “most accessible orchestra on the planet,” the DSO has repeatedly proven itself as a leader in technology and accessibility. Classroom Edition is an extension of the DSO’s weekly free HD webcast series Live from Orchestra Hall, which reaches a global audience of hundreds of thousands, using a state-of-the-art robotic camera production system. The DSO launched the groundbreaking Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series in April 2011, becoming the first orchestra in the world to offer a series of free live webcasts for a global audience. Since then, Live from Orchestra Hall has expanded to include mobile viewing via the DSO to Go mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices; and partnerships with the world’s top cultural sites, including, France-based, Russia-based and UK-based

Now watched in more than 100 countries, the Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series is presented by the Ford Motor Company Fund and made possible by the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Watch free webcasts at, view concert highlights at and connect with the DSO at, as well as on Instagram and Twitter @DetroitSymphony with the hashtag #DSOLive.


“Live from Orchestra Hall: Classroom Edition”
Thursday, May 14, 10:30am and 11:45am EST

Damon Gupton, host
Michelle Merrill, conductor
Michael Miller, baritone
Ballet Americana

Respighi: The Pines of Rome
Copland: “Hoe-Down” from Rodeo
Debussy: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
Ari Pulkkinen: Angry Birds Theme
Rossini: “Largo al factotum” from The Barber of Seville
John Williams:Harry’s Wondrous World”
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition

About the DSO
Hailed by the New York Times as “cutting edge,” the internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra is known for trailblazing performances, visionary maestros, collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists and an unwavering commitment to Detroit. Esteemed conductor Leonard Slatkin, called “America’s Music Director” by the Los Angeles Times, became the 12th Music Director of the DSO during the 2008-09 season. Conductor, arranger and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik serves as Principal Pops Conductor, while celebrated trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard holds the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair. The DSO’s performance schedule includes Classical, Pops, Jazz, Young People’s and Neighborhood Concerts and collaborations with chart-topping musicians from Smokey Robinson to Kid Rock. A commitment to broadcast innovation began in 1922 when the DSO became the first orchestra in the world to present a radio broadcast and continues today with the free Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series. Making its home at historic Orchestra Hall within the Max M. Fisher Music Center, one of America’s most acoustically ideal concert halls, the DSO actively pursues a mission to inspire and serve the community through music. For more information, visit the newly updated or download the free DSO to Go mobile app. Subscriptions can be purchased by visiting or calling the DSO’s Box Office at 313-576-5111. Students of any age can attend any Classical, Jazz or Pops concert at Orchestra Hall free all season long by purchasing a Soundcard for $25. More information is available at

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© 21C Media Group, May 2015


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