Arts In Education

The Arts in Education Program through the Robinson S. Parlin Trust, has been successful in bringing together professional musicians and at risk students in After School Programs to play, listen to, and learn about classical music.  Musicians from Wheeling Symphony Orchestra chamber ensembles have much to tell students about their instruments as well as perform for them.

Serving economically disadvantaged students in Wheeling who often do not have access to opportunities for experiencing the joy and discipline inspired by exposure to music, Arts in Education has been offered at Laughlin Memorial Chapel’s After School Program; and the Anchor Program at Madison Elementary School, Triadelphia Middle School and Wheeling Park High School.

Approximately 115 low-income students participated in each session at Laughlin Memorial Chapel and the Anchor Programs at Madison, Triadelphia and Wheeling Park High School through the Wheeling Symphony Arts in Education program.  Research indicates that music awareness can lead to higher standardized test scores, enhanced self esteem, and perhaps more importantly, serve as an effective channel for self-expression. Music allows students to express emotions in a positive way that helps deter destructive behaviors.  We sincerely believe that music is making a difference in the lives of students in these after school programs.

Laughlin Chapel

Laughlin Memorial Chapel has operated since 1972 as a safe haven for children who live in the surrounding impoverished, inner-city neighborhood. Over 92% of the children who attend the Chapel qualify for free/reduced meals at school.  Students from Laughlin Chapel’s After School Program from kindergarten through 12th grade received music instruction through the Wheeling Symphony’s Arts in Education Program. Through this program each of the four orchestral family groups performed once for the students at the Chapel:  String Quintet, Woodwind Quintet, Brass Quintet and Percussion Ensemble. Musicians in each ensemble talked about their instruments and about the music they play.

At the end of each performance, students are given opportunities to ask questionsand play percussion instruments, pluck strings and try a brass mouthpiece to produce sound.

Anchor Program

The Anchor Program, a 21st Century Learning Center, at Madison School, Triadelphia Middle School and Wheeling Park High School, is an after school program that serves low-income at-risk students in Wheeling. The program director reported that for the current year, 86% of participants were economically disadvantaged.

Students in Madison’s Anchor Program travel to the Stifel Fine Arts Center for every performance by Wheeling Symphony ensembles.  Not only are students able to leave Wheeling Island for an excursion, but also to hear classical chamber ensembles in a setting conducive to chamber music.  The Stifel Center living room is acoustically excellent and presents a wonderful environment for listening to a small group of musicians.  When expectations are high for students, they usually demonstrate their capabilities at a high level.  These at risk students at Madison School ask the most thoughtful questions of all the programs and behaved in the most courteous manner conducive to a live performance.

The same performances and concert preparation presented at Laughlin Chapel were also presented at Madison’s Anchor Program. Triadelphia’s Anchor Program serves students from grades 6-8. Chamber ensemble concerts are performed in the school’s auditorium. Wheeling Park High School’s Anchor Program serves students in grades 9-12. Concerts began during the 2013-14 school year in the school’s Media Center.

Conclusion

At the end of each program year, Wheeling Symphony Executive Director and Education Coordinator gain feedback from directors of each After School Program to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the program in preparation for the next year’s scheduling. All have expressed the benefits and need for the continuation of the program within their program sites. In the coming year, program effectiveness will be measured using the following outcome indicators:

  • Number of participants.
  • Attitude towards instruction and responsibility.
  • Attendance.
  • Learning demonstrated through questions asked.
  • Feedback from program site directors.