As the school year winds down, the musicians of the Conway Symphony Orchestra are winding up a busy month of bringing entertaining and educational music to classrooms across central Arkansas. The CSO in the Classroom program provides a 30-minute session to elementary and middle school music classes at no cost to the school, thanks to support from Conway Regional Health System and a Target Arts in Education grant.

"Conway Regional is very pleased to support the CSO classroom program," said Alan Finley, Conway Regional’s Chief Operating Officer. "Encouraging the benefits of classical music toward childhood mental and emotional development is consistent with CRHS’s mission and focus on wellness."

Now in its sixth year, the classroom program has reached close to 10,000 students at over 15 public and private/parochial schools, plus homeschool groups and an annual visit to Independent Living Services. Each year, the Conway Symphony offers a choice of two themed lessons, so that students receive a variety of instruction over the course of their time in elementary and middle school. The CSO also provides a curriculum packet to the teacher, with relevant lessons and student activities.

This year, the Music from Around the World program brings music from Canada, Peru, Brazil, Australia, the UK, France, Norway, Spain, the Czech Republic, Russia, Nigeria, South Africa, China, and Taiwan, with pieces by Mozart, Bartok, Beethoven, and Arkansas Folk. The Music of the People program includes pieces by Haydn, Bartok, Dvorak, Joplin, and Mr. Traditional (American Folk). From the end of April through the final day of school in May, the musicians are visiting schools in Conway, Greenbrier, Mount Vernon/Enola, Perryville, and Mayflower, with a summer visit planned to the Laman Library in North Little Rock.

"We’re excited to see this program expand since its pilot year in 2008," notes Israel Getzov, artistic director of the Conway Symphony Orchestra. "It’s been a great way to introduce students to classical music in a way that’s fun for them, and for our professional musicians."

Now in its 28th season, the Conway Symphony Orchestra brings professional concerts, exciting guest artists and high-quality music to the Central Arkansas community. For more information on concerts and other programs, visit ConwaySymphony.org or call 501-269-1066.