Education & Community

School Programs

Classical in the Classroom

Our in-school educational programs currently include Beethoven in the Schools, Music in the Schools, Soloists in the Schools, and the Play It Forward program in partnership with the Bellingham Festival of Music.

If you are interested in welcoming the BSO to your school, please contact programs@bellinghamsymphony.org.

Beethoven in the Schools

Every spring, Bellingham Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Grant Donnellan and his accompanist visit hundreds of children in grades K–3 and share the joys of music. Dressed in 19th-century period costume, “Beethoven” leads young students through the interactive process of musically animating a story.

This engaging program is co-sponsored by the Bellingham Festival of Music.



Music in the Schools

With the intent of inspiring students to choose an instrument and play in their schools’ music ensembles, Symphony musicians present a series of concerts, bringing instrumental music to the elementary schools of our community. These visits typically include a forty-five minute concert by a small ensemble of Bellingham Symphony Orchestra musicians from one of the four instrument families of the orchestra; strings, woodwinds, brass, or percussion.

Education packets addressing lessons outlined in Washington State’s Learning Standards are sent to teachers to help them integrate the musical performance and interactions into subjects such as science, history, and social studies.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Introduce students to a variety of music selected to spark the interest of the targeted grade levels.
  • Demonstrate the sound and character of individual instruments found in the orchestra.
  • Ask questions and participate by playing along with some of the groups

We provide supplementary materials for teachers to use at their discretion before or after each concert. To request access to our Resources for Teachers portal, please email programs@bellinghamsymphony.org.



Soloists in the Schools

We consider it a great privilege to provide opportunities for our kids to interact with renowned professional musicians from across the globe. When possible, the BSO arranges for our guest artists to visit local schools for presentations, readings, and performances.

Past Soloists in the Schools events have included a special reading of “A Cello Named Pablo” by author and cellist Amit Peled as seen in the video above.

To learn more about opportunities to participate with Soloists in the Schools, email programs@bellinghamsymphony.org.

Play It Forward

The annual Play-it-Forward Chamber Residency program is presented in partnership by the Bellingham Symphony and the Bellingham Festival of Music.

Each spring, the program brings small ensembles from the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles to hold a week of seminars, masterclasses, mentoring, and performance for Whatcom County middle school and high school students. The residency culminates in a public performance by the ensemble and private reception with program supporters.

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