back to top

Four Roanoke Students Attend White House Classical Music Workshops

Four Roanoke city music students found themselves in a most unusual place last Wed. Nov. 4th as they were invited to participate in classical music workshops at the White House. The event focused on 4 instruments: piano, classical guitar, cello, and violin.  Because of a VH1 Save the Music Foundation grant that the city received, there was a connection that allowed city students to be included, according to Cyrus Pace, Coordinator of Fine Arts for Roanoke City schools.

The Roanoke students were chosen based both on what instrument they play as well as on their musical ability. Two of the students, Shuqeria Jennings and Sarah Furrow, are pianists from William Fleming High School, and Will Adams and Erin Cao are cellists from Patrick Henry High School. There were 120 participants from cities across the country, including Detroit, Los Angelos and Kansas City. Mr. Pace and the four students left at 6 a.m. for a day trip to DC, giving them only a brief half hour to walk around the city before going through security check and into the White House where they “could freely walk around the first and second floors which was pretty amazing,” according to Pace.

First Lady Michelle Obama is behind the program which is an effort to “highlight the importance of arts and arts in education in America,” said Pace. The students first spent time in workshops led by four master musicians, then gathered in the historic East Room to listen to a speech by Michelle Obama in which she encouraged the students to put forth their best effort with their music, and “thereby discover that there is no limit to what they can achieve.” The final treat was a performance for the students by the master musicians, along with some help from selected students, including an 8 year old cellist who was “phenomenal.”

Fleming student Shuqeria Jennings, who also writes and composes her own music, said the First Lady was “really nice and welcoming.” Her mother said Shuqeria hoped to be able to perform a classical piece she had previously written once she got to the workshop.  Even though that didn’t work out, she said her daughter had a great experience saying “it’s not every day you get to actually go to the White House!”

For more information and to see video clips of the music workshop, visit whitehouse.gov.

By Cheryl Hodges
[email protected]

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -Fox Radio CBS Sports Radio Advertisement

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -Fox Radio CBS Sports Radio Advertisement

Related Articles