Don’t miss this opportunity to bring Class Act to your elementary school! The Frieda Belinfante Class Act Program connects Pacific Symphony to a select number of elementary schools each year. Class Act strives to enhance existing school music programs by providing additional musical experience through the Symphony. Focusing on six main “contact points” with schools, the program works to increase awareness of and involvement with symphonic music for elementary school students, their families, and educators.
Each year, students form a relationship with a new Symphony musician who serves as a “Class Act teaching artist,” through activities including classroom lessons, ensemble performances, and scripted presentations. Schools that select the Level II Class Act experience also enjoy either a Youth Concert for older students or an Interactive Performance for younger students. All activities feature the music of the Class Act Composer of the Year.
Class Act was created with students in the center and to bring Pacific Symphony directly to schools. Each year, thousands of Orange County students form relationships with their Class Act Teaching Artists that visit the school campus several times during the school year. The culminating event includes a field trip to Reneé and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall to see the entire Pacific Symphony perform a special concert, just for Class Act schools. Click here to read the history of Class Act.
Here is what some Class Act participants have had to say about their experiences:
“Class Act has been a wonderful tradition that I look forward to every year. From getting to know the musicians, learning about the composers and seeing the joy on the children’s faces when they learn something new, the program is very near and dear to my heart. It is a true treasure!”
—Class Act parent coordinator and PFO Co-president
“The Class Act program has benefited our school and students by instilling a love and appreciation for classical music. Our school orchestra has grown substantially as we have partnered with the Pacific Symphony.”
—Class Act school principal
“My favorite part of the Class Act Year is the Youth Concert at Segerstrom. The students got to hear professional musicians and got to see what it looks like to pursue music at a high level.”
—Class Act school music teacher
“Through Class Act I have learned the impact that classical music has on children and how much classical music is in our lives.”
In the opening months of 1994, parents from seven Orange County elementary schools sat around a table and discussed their hopes and dreams for music in their children’s lives. Guided by then-Education Director Kelly Lucero and ardent Pacific Symphony supporter Valerie Imhof, this group of visionaries conceived a unique partnership between the Symphony and local school communities—and Class Act was born!
Symphony musicians would serve at the heart of this new and exciting partnership. Parents, teachers, and administrators at seven inaugural schools would also play an important role, each bringing their own unique contribution to the program. In September 1994, Class Act went from being a beautiful dream to a vibrant reality. Three Symphony musicians joined the team as the program’s first teaching artists. Cindy Ellis, flute; Andy Honea, cello; and Michael Hoffman, trombone stepped off of the concert stage and into the classroom!
A violinist, teacher, and passionate lover of music, Valerie Imhof has been the beating heart of Class Act since its creation. Though her official title is Class Act co-founder and program chair, Valerie is affectionately known as the program’s beloved “godmother”. When asked what inspired her to create Class Act collaboratively with a group of parents, she enthusiastically shares, “we wanted to develop a program that actually connected with the schools in a very meaningful way, and we thought that parents would have a good idea of how to do this.”
“Music is always about people, wanting to connect, and connecting together.”
Valerie Imhof, Class Act co-founder and program chair
This approach, putting parents at the center of the partnership, clearly worked. It continues to be a critical part of the program’s success, as Valerie has seen over the years. “Involving the parents was the best way forward, because we were invited to be part of their schools, instead of imposing ourselves upon them and trying to ‘sell’ what we had. Today, the parents’ role is just as essential, with parent volunteers handing down their knowledge to the next generation of parents.”
Applications are now available for the 2022-2023 Class Act year! For more information on bringing Class Act to your school, visit our website.