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Jane H. Kesson School Concert Program

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Jane H. Kesson School Concert Program is the ideal way to expose students in grades 3-5 to the exciting and powerful art form of orchestral music. School Concerts familiarize students with the environment and traditions of a concert hall, equip them with fundamental musical vocabulary, and cultivate a lifelong interest in classical music.


School Concerts

2019-20 School Concerts
Link Up: The Orchestra Rocks

Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts—Verizon Hall
Erina Yashima Conductor

February 4, 2020 | 12:15PM

February 11, 2020 | 10:30AM and 12:15PM

February 18, 2020 | 10:30AM and 12:15PM

February 25, 2020 | 10:30AM

Tickets are $8 per student, teacher, and chaperone for private, regional, and home schools. Tickets and busing is free for School District of Philadelphia schools through the Billy Joel Fund for Music Education.

All performances are 45 minutes long.

Registration will be available by the end of August.


Link Up

The Philadelphia Orchestra tailors its School Concerts to align with the interactive and engaging Link Up curriculum developed by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. This curriculum places a strong emphasis on student participation: The students learn to sing and play an instrument in the classroom and then perform with The Philadelphia Orchestra from their seats at a culminating School Concert in Verizon Hall. The 2019-20 program, The Orchestra Rocks, is a thrilling way for students to explore rhythm and groove. It shows how the rhythm creates patterns of sound and silence that are expressive and exciting.

Teacher Workshops

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s free workshops, as part of the Jane H. Kesson School Concert Program, prime teachers for the optimal experience in preparing students for School Concerts. At a workshop, teachers can deepen their understanding of the music to be performed at the concert, become acquainted with best practices for implementing the Link Up curriculum, and explore techniques for arts-integrated instruction more broadly. Schools receiving scholarship funds from the Billy Joel Fund for Music Education are required to attend a Teacher Workshop.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019—SDP In-Service Professional Development Day (SDP Teachers Only)

Monday, September 23, 2019—Teacher Workshop at Kimmel Center

Registration for the Teacher Workshop will be available by the end of August.


Billy Joel Fund for Music Education

Established in 2008 with an extraordinary donation from legendary singer-songwriter Billy Joel, the Billy Joel Fund for Music Education is earmarked to support and augment music education in the School District of Philadelphia. The Fund subsidizes tickets and transportation, allowing School District of Philadelphia Schools to receive 73 tickets and bus transportation to a School Concert each year. 

To receive tickets and busing, schools and their music teachers must commit to attending a Teacher Workshop, devoting instructional time for preparation and reflection, and completing post-concert evaluation surveys. Please note that eligibility for the program is limited to elementary and middle schools within the School District of Philadelphia only. 



The Philadelphia Orchestra has a strict policy regarding the cancellation of concerts due to inclement weather. To cancel a performance, the Orchestra requires that the City of Philadelphia declare a state of emergency, not just a snow emergency. The Orchestra also has a strict no-refund policy. However, all available measures will be taken to reschedule any missed performances due to weather. Thank you for your understanding.

About Jane H. Kesson

Jane H. Kesson (1926-2017) was a Philadelphia Orchestra patron since the age of 12. She went on to become a music educator for 45 years, teaching grades K-12 in public schools. During her career, and even in retirement, she brought hundreds of students to Orchestra concerts each year. In recognition of her extraordinary bequest, in October 2018 the Orchestra renamed its School Concert Program in honor of Miss Kesson.

School Concerts are funded in part by the Annenberg Foundation, the Julius and Ray Charlestein Foundation in memory of Morton and Malvina Charlestein, the Connelly Foundation, the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, the Christian Humann Foundation, the Billy Joel Fund for Music Education, Lincoln Financial Group Foundation, the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation, the Ethel Sergeant Clark Smith Memorial Fund, the Volunteer Committees for The Philadelphia Orchestra, and an anonymous donor.