Education Station: Kalamazoo Kids in Tune Hosts Family February | Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
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Education Station: Kalamazoo Kids in Tune Hosts Family February

young girl plays flute in blue t shirt

Family February was an exciting time for Kalamazoo Kids in Tune (KKIT)! Not only did we get to celebrate the progress made by each student, but parents also got the unique opportunity to play alongside them. In step with Black History Month, Family February celebrated the music of Motown, regional musical heritage, and Black artists.This year, 25 families picked up instruments to participate in our Family February full-orchestra concert. In a series of weekly rehearsals throughout the month, students often became the teachers as parents gained a greater admiration for their skill and dedication.

According to After School Program Manager David Crider, “Family February perfectly captures what Kids in Tune is all about: Using music to bring students and families closer together. Guardians have simplified parts so they can participate along with the students in just one lesson. My favorite part is the appreciation that parents will sometimes gain for how challenging it is. There is this respect and admiration that develops where they see their children and are like, ‘Wow, this is something really impressive that you’re doing and I want to support you.’”

All of that hard work paid off.

Concert night featured studio recitals, a Family Jamm improvisation session, musical trivia, and student research and artwork featuring Black artists and musicians. The night concluded with the grand finale: An arrangement of “I Can,” by Nas, a hip-hop song that incorporates the theme from Beethoven’s Fur Elise. A call and response of lyrics echoed through the room. “I know I can. Be what I wanna be. If I work hard at it. I'll be where I wanna be.”

Nathaniel Waller, founder of Djembe Yaru West Afrikan Drum Group, arranged the piece, and cellist Jordan Hamilton, director of Orchestra Jammbo’Laya, incorporated student improvisation. With over 200 attendees, the Family February Concert was a hit!

Congratulations to all of the Kids in Tune families who participated this year!

Tags: black history month, education, family february, kids in tune, KKIT, Music Education