Partnership With Civic Orchestra Of Chicago Has Orchestral Music Alive And Resonating At Kenwood Academy

CHICAGO (CBS) — Music is considered a universal language, but not everyone has access to the opera, concerts, or the symphony.

Enter a music partnership that brings professional performances right to a Chicago public school. And as CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported Monday night, the program hits just the right tone for the school’s young musicians.

At Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., orchestral music is alive and well.

“It feels like you’re just like with the violin, you know – you’re like connected to it,” said 14-year-old violinist Andre Madison.

Madison is a member of the high school’s orchestra program. He and his schoolmates in the program find joy in the music, and in nights like Monday night – where they not only perform for their community, but also open for members of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.

The Civic Orchestra of Chicago is a group of pre-professional musicians in training with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The concert Monday night was an encore to workshops Civic Orchestra musicians have already had with the students.

“It’s just really meaningful to be able to work with them and help out in any way that we can,” said Civic Orchestra violinist Rannveig Sarc.

“They come help you – it’s like a great moment to improve yourself, you know?” added Madison. “It’s like I know for a fact – like not many other people get chances get chances like this.”

Kenwood Academy’s orchestra director, Jhonatan Roldan, says that is especially true the city’s South Side.

“School by school, they’ve been closing. The music programs have been finishing one at a time, and we’re now attempting here at Kenwood to kind of bring things back into perspective; back into the South Side of Chicago – make this a powerhouse musically again,” Roldan said.

And Roldan is not stopping with musicians at Kenwood. He is hoping to bring classical music to all of the South Side of Chicago through something called the South Side Chicago Youth Orchestra.

“So we have kind of a call towards all musicians on the South Side, or on the Near South Side, to kind of come and join us and make music,” Roldan said.

But Kenwood Academy is where most of Roldan’s orchestral energy goes, as he nurtures young musicians into notes unknown.

“I want students to feel that level of connectedness; that level of engagement, really,” Roldan said.

And partnerships like the one between Kenwood Academy and the Civic Orchestra only serves to enrich that connectedness and engagement.

“It’s just very important to feel that there is a community around music, and that people are motivating and inspiring each other,” Sarc said.

The concert Monday night was the last one for the Civic Orchestra at the school this season.