For over 50 years TSO has been bringing orchestral music directly into the classroom through the Music in the Schools (MIS) program. Each of the 36 schools that participate in MIS receives visits from three of the TSO’s chamber ensembles (String Quintet, Wind Quintet, and Brass and Percussion Ensemble) throughout the school year. The program enhances the musical education of thousands of Southern Arizona students each year.
Recently TSO’s principal percussionist, Trevor Barroero, who was born and raised in Tucson, had the opportunity to return to his middle school, Coronado K-8, with the Brass and Percussion Ensemble as a part of this program. Trevor described the experience as “very special and surreal” and said that “it wasn’t until 6th grade at Coronado K-8 that I experienced the thrill of performing with a large ensemble.” As a child Trevor would regularly attend TSO concerts with his family and remembers occasionally having TSO musicians visit his classroom. Those early experiences would lead to an impressive musical resume: along with holding the TSO’s principal percussion position, Trevor is also Adjunct Professor of Percussion at Pima Community College and is a founding member of the percussion trio, Lineage Percussion. He has won numerous awards and travels the world teaching masterclasses to percussion students.
After the performances the ensembles often receive thank you letters from the students and teachers expressing how much they enjoyed and learned from the visit. One student wrote, “Thank you for playing instruments for us, I hope you come again. I wish I could be like you.” A teacher from Mission View Elementary wrote, “This is such a valuable resource for our students. With most of our families living below the poverty line, this program becomes a window to the arts they probably would not experience otherwise.” Heart-warming letters like these let the TSO education team and musicians know that they are making a difference. For Trevor the experience carries an extra special meaning, “I’m looking forward to continuing to train the next generation of young musicians and give back to the community that gave me so much as a child.”