Ben Gudbrandson

Kalamazoo Kids In Tune

The Kalamazoo Symphony and Kalamazoo Public Schools' after-school music program, Kalamazoo Kids in Tune continues beyond the school year, offering six weeks of summer programming. Artistic director Ben Gudbrandson says it's a time when the skills they built might otherwise get rusty, and just as importantly, kids benefit from the familiar routine of rehearsal and performing. Craig Freeman, a leading brass instructor for KKIT, added a jazz unit to the program this summer, and alongside the orchestra and its chamber ensembles, Kalamazoo Kids in Tune will give two public concerts this week.

On Tuesday, July 16, the orchestra will play at the Portage Public Library at 1 pm - 1:30 pm. On Thursday, July 18, they'll be downtown on the Kalamazoo Mall from 11:45 - 12:15 pm. 


C. Lieurance

On a late Tuesday afternoon in February, Cara Lieurance visited Milwood Magnet School, where Kalamazoo Kids in Tune is held four days a week. Young people, in grades 3 through 11, were lugging their instruments down the hall into the band room, finding their seats in what has been called the youngest orchestra in Michigan.

But for the last few weeks, the numbers have skewed older. Many of the kids had their parents with them. Not just to sit and observe; they are playing instruments too, some for the first time, preparing for a public performance at the Epic Center in dowtown Kalamazoo on Mar 1 at 5:30 pm. 

In this audio postcard of a Families In Tune rehearsal, you'll hear the voices of Kids in Tune artistic director Ben Gudbrandson; Duncan Waling and Tobin Waling; Meghan Cook; Jeannie and Natalie Glas, and Heather and Ariana McCord. Kids in Tune has around 80 student participants and is a collaboration between the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Kalamazoo Public Schools, and Communities In Schools.