MET Orchestra Musicians performed free Musical Read-Along at Harry Belafonte Public Library
Members of the MET Orchestra were joined by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer at the New York Public Library’s Harry Belafonte Branch at 203 W. 115th St. in Harlem to perform a free Musical Read-Along for children and families.
Borough President Brewer read “Buzzard and Wren Have a Race,” from the book, “A Ring of Tricksters,” by Virginia Hamilton and a story from the book, “Icarus Swinebuckle,” by Michael Garland, accompanied by an original score composed by Robert Miller, husband of MET Orchestra violinist Elena Barere.
This children’s program has been organized by the MET Orchestra Musicians, who are engaging with communities across the city and advocating on issues that touch the lives of all New Yorkers, including a well-rounded cultural education, funding for arts organizations and artists, access to live music and increased diversity and equity in the arts.
“We’re very excited to play for kids and families at the Harry Belafonte library,” said MET Orchestra violist Mary Hammann. “As a parent and a member of the orchestra, I’ve seen firsthand that music, the arts and community advocacy go hand in hand. At a time when our society is openly discussing equity and inclusion, and when support for the arts in our schools and communities is constantly under threat, we must find new ways to introduce young people to the power of live music and the art that helps them to learn and thrive. The musicians in our orchestra are committed to strengthening the role that music and art play as part of a healthy, inclusive and positive society.”
“Manhattan is home to some of the world’s most talented artists and art institutions, and when we can bring that talent into the community where our students can experience it firsthand, everyone wins,” said Brewer. “I thank the MET Orchestra Musicians for helping our young children experience the power of live music, and for using their passion and creativity to support our public libraries and the work they do every day.”
“It is a privilege to welcome Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and the talented members of the MET Orchestra Musicians to the Harry Belafonte Library,” said Tequila Davis, library manager at the Harry Belafonte 115th Street Library. “Our namesake has inspired millions with his music and we are delighted to host this wonderful event, one that combines the magic of melody and reading, nurturing the imagination of our young patrons.”
“Music and the arts play a vital role in every aspect of our society and the health of our communities,” said Tino Gagliardi, president, Local 802 American Federation of Musicians. “The MET Orchestra Musicians are not only musicians, they are New Yorkers—parents, teachers and community advocates —who are active in the civic life of our city and who care passionately about making sure our children have access to the arts. Through their artistry and advocacy, they are inspiring our youngest generations to be creative, and showing that everyone can love and take-part in making music.”
The MET Orchestra Musicians are dedicated to providing their fans with a beautiful and immersive experience of opera, in equal parts engaging audiences in behind-the-scenes activities and opening an unprecedented channel of communication between performer and listener. Members of the MET Orchestra are sought-after teachers, comprising large portions of the music faculties of all the major universities and conservatories in the New York metropolitan area. Former students of MET Orchestra Musicians can be found in virtually every performing arts organization in the country. In addition, a number of MET Orchestra Musicians dedicate time working with younger students, both privately and by assuming leading roles in youth orchestra and pre-college programs.
Individual members of the orchestra have traveled to all corners of the Earth, in equal parts performing and engaging underserved audiences. MET Orchestra Musicians have performed fundraisers for local public schools and engaged in outreach efforts, including teaching in Haiti and Central America and bringing South African students to New York for intensive study. In addition, MET Orchestra Musicians are coaches and teachers at some of the world’s leading summer music festivals, including the Verbier Festival, where the coaching faculty has comprised MET Orchestra Musicians since its founding in 2000.
Local 802 AFM is one of the largest local unions of professional musicians in the world, working to promote artistic excellence and strengthen New York City’s vibrant arts community by advocating for fair treatment and compensation of hardworking musicians and performers. They seek to organize a community of all musicians and aspiring musicians while advocating for the preservation and creation of opportunities for live musical performance, promoting recording and film scoring in New York City, increasing children’s access to live music and high-quality music education, advancing the vital role music plays in our communities and ensuring that the musicians who are essential to New York City’s economy and cultural life are able to continue to live and work here. For more information, visit www.local802afm.org.