More than 5,000 students play with Omaha Symphony

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - At the Holland Center this week, the 70 member symphony orchestra is getting some extra players.

Thanks to a program called Link Up, students from 94 Nebraska and Iowa schools together to perform with the symphony. Teachers began teaching the program last fall, which included a new recorder for each elementary school musician. The symphony purchased all of the recorders for the kids, and they kids get to keep them afterwards.

"A lot of people do remember it (the recorder). They play it in elementary school and it has that plasticy kind of feel but it really is a true real instrument," Joanie Mathis with the Omaha Symphony said.

The kids played along each song: during Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy,' Tchaikovsky's 'Romeo and Juliet' anxiously awaiting each cue from the conductor, ready to pick up their shiny black instruments, tied safely around their neck with a bright red string.

While there wasn't a first chair, one special student, 9-year-old Grace Jennings got a special recognition. She was the winner of a music writing contest and had her original composition ' The Purple Pandas' played by all.

"It sounded really good," she said after the concert. 

So while the recorder: a little instrument which in the hand of new players, can often times produce some shrill sounds, Gracie's music teacher Linda Wood says, don't give it a bad rap. 

"There's a few memes out there about recorder players, but if you had lived in the 1200's and had any money at all, you would have played a recorder." Wood said. 

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