REACH Orchestra Students Meet Joshua Bell

Just a few short months ago the 8 to 12 year old students in Ravinia's REACH Orchestra had never held a violin. This week they got to perform on their instruments during a meet-and-greet with the legendary violinist Joshua Bell, who met the grade-schoolers backstage before his July 13 performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor. One of our REACH*TEACH*PLAY initiatives, Ravinia started the El Sistema-based orchestra--an immersion program that stresses passion above technique--in conjunction with the Women's Board of Ravinia and the People's Music School. People's had already launched a student orchestra at Hibbard, called YOURS.

Ninety-five student, parents and teachers from the REACH and YOURS orchestras attended the concert and three violinists from each orchestra met with Joshua Bell backstage before the performance, where Bell graciously shared stories about his earliest days with the violin.

When asked about the experience 10-year old REACH Orchestra violist Freddi Mercado said, "I like the's so good!"

Nick Pullia
Director of Communcations

Isaac Sinnett
Project Manager, REACH*TEACH*PLAY