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UNCP music faculty support Carnegie Hall Initiative in Moore County

Lucas Scalamogna (left) Taiki Azuma, Joanna Hersey and Kevin Streich after a recent performance. Photo by UNCP

The Department of Music at UNC Pembroke is well represented on stage during concerts by the Carolina Philharmonic, based in Pinehurst. Faculty from the Department of Music have performed with the orchestra since it was founded in 2009.

The orchestra has partnered with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute and Moore County Schools for several years to provide music educational experiences for students from kindergarten through fifth-grade students.

Through this program led by the Carolina Philharmonic’s director, David Michael Wolff, musicians bring instruction to children in schools across the county. Dr. Joanna Hersey, professor of music and associate dean of Student Success and Curriculum, has worked with this program since its founding. This year, Hersey visited classrooms performing, providing feedback on their progress, and teaching more than 140 children about the orchestra.

“It’s so inspiring to come into a classroom of young students, who are so excited to see instruments like the tuba, trombone and euphonium. They are full of questions and are happy to tell you about an instrument that an older brother or sister might be learning or a musical tradition in their family,” notes Hersey

Support from the Carnegie Hall program provides learning materials and instructor resources. This educational outreach includes helping students prepare to attend interactive concerts given by the orchestra. School children sing and play the recorder during the concerts, joining the orchestra. Presented multiple times per year, these performances welcome over 2,500 students annually. The Carolina Philharmonic Junior Orchestra, a program of string instrument instruction for grades 3-12, also performs onstage during the concerts.


This season, faculty from UNCP included Taiki Azuma, performing on English horn, Kevin Streich on clarinet, Tim Altman and Aaron Vandermeer on trumpet, Joseph van Hassel on tympani, Joanna Hersey on tuba, and Lucas Scalamogna on the violin.

Department Chair Joseph van Hassel has performed with the group for nine years.

“I enjoy the school concerts because it is extremely gratifying to hear the excitement the students generate over the music we perform,” van Hassel said. “It makes me secure in the knowledge that music is alive and well with young people, whether popular or more classically oriented.”

Lucas Scalamogna teaches violin and viola and directs the UNCP Orchestra, continuing to service local students once they arrive on campus.

“I have been playing with the Carolina Philharmonic for three years,” says Scalamogna. “These concerts are some of the most enjoyable performances for me because the students show so much enthusiasm, and are always eager to participate, learn, and interact with the orchestra. It is inspiring to see such young students be so involved and excited about an orchestra concert.”

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