As students flooded into the main performance hall at the Warner Theatre, the room was buzzing.

Local students and teachers alike had been looking forward to their visit and their chance to get out of the classroom.

“I’m sure they’re excited. They’ve been talking about it for the past week about how excited they are to come to the Warner. Some of them have never been to the Warner before, so it’s really cool to see them very excited in this beautiful building,” said Marena Grondziowski, Music Teacher at Strong Vincent.

Led by Daniel Meyer, the engaging program taught the children how African culture was represented during the creation of the piece.

Meanwhile, the audience was permitted to engage in a question and answer session with the special guests on stage.

Those individuals included:

  • Tim Adams- Composer
  • Steven Banks- Standout Saxophone Player
  • Harry Lennix- Celebrity Narrator. Lennix is most known for his role in “The Blacklist.”

Students responded to questions regarding the Underground Railroad as music and history lessons were fused into one.

Steve Weiser, Erie Philharmonic executive director, said the intent of the program was to show any student that they could become a professional musician.

“I feel like there are some times in the music field where it can be a little one-sided. We really wanted to showcase that anyone can do this. When you’re here in the audience, you’re seeing people that look like you, and I think that represents a much more diverse aspect of classical music,” said Steve Weiser, Executive Director at Erie Philharmonic.

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Teachers shared that not only was this a great learning opportunity, but it just might motivate them as well.

“I think it’s a really great opportunity to bring culture into music, which is a fantastic way to do that. So, having these students there to watch something like that I think is very motivating and inspiring,” Grondiziowski said.