ConnectOC Blog

Making Music Count for OC Students

Posted by: Shelley Hoss on 6/1/2015

By Shelley Hoss

The ConnectOC Blog is a place for sharing insight, information and examples of how Orange County residents, donors and nonprofits are working to build a brighter, stronger, more vibrant community.  We welcome you to share your thoughts by commenting below.

Music is a birthright.

It is this passionate belief of Carl St. Clair, Pacific Symphony’s Music Director, that has driven the organization’s outreach to Orange County educators, parents and students through its Class Act program for the past 20 years. 

Beyond exposing elementary school students to symphonic music — most for the first time — Class Act is changing lives. At a time when many students feel awkward about fitting in, they are gaining a community fused by mutual appreciation of music. 

And for some students, Class Act reveals a career path they never knew existed. 

Halle Davis is one such student. When she and her family moved from Chicago to San Clemente, she gained her first exposure to music education at Clarence Lobo Elementary School, a Class Act site. 

“It got me motivated,” Davis said. “I felt like something clicked for me, and I’ve never looked back.” Halle is set to finish her master’s program in music education this July and plans to be a teacher.

Susan Miller Kotses, Pacific Symphony’s vice president of education and community engagement, shares such student experiences with enthusiasm. 
“You feel like, ‘wow,’ this is part of a school’s culture now,” Kotses said. “That’s when I feel like we’ve been successful. When educators and students celebrate that music and art are important to them.” 

And data supports their enthusiasm. According to Stand Up 4 Music, students enrolled in music have a strong correlation to higher GPAs, test higher on SAT/ACT college entrance exams, have a lower drop-out rate, are more engaged in school, demonstrate greater creativity, and develop leadership and teamwork skills. 

Each year, students work with a Pacific Symphony musician who serves as a Class Act teaching artist. Activities include classroom lessons, ensemble performances, assemblies and a youth concert at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall for older students or an interactive performance on-site for younger students. 

The lineup every year features the music of one Class Act Composer of the Year. This year, Leonard Bernstein — Carl St. Clair’s own mentor — is the focus. 

During this academic year, Class Act will fuel the imagination of more than 16,000 elementary school students from 30 schools across the socioeconomic spectrum of Orange County. 

Stoddard Elementary School in Anaheim is just one of their participants. 

“The Pacific Symphony musicians who come out become rock stars to our students,” said Principal Dale Hillyer. “They realize there are possibilities beyond pop music or hip hop.” 

In fact, Class Act provided the impetus last year for this Title 1 school to create its own after-school orchestra program to fuel students’ interest. In existence for only two years, 160 fourth, fifth and sixth graders have already enrolled.

“We’re working with inner-city kids and introducing them to opportunities outside of their communities,” Hillyer said. “Before, they didn’t know about the possibilities that music can offer. Now a whole new world has opened up for them.” 

Visit Nonprofit Central to learn more about Pacific Symphony and other local nonprofits inspiring a love of the arts for Orange County students.


Shelley Hoss is president of the Orange County Community Foundation. She can be reached at

We invite you to comment on the blog below or use the social media icons to share on your networks.


Post Your Comment
1000 characters left


Add Comment
Showing 1 - 25 of 76 Sort by
NEET 2018 Application Form
Report | Reply
What a wonderful post thanks for this <a href="">neet 2018 application form</a>
AOC recruitment 2017
Report | Reply
I love your blog it is very good post <a href=””>AOC recruitment 2017</a>
check cashing
Report | Reply providing you the most effective services regarding among a brief amount. In USA you will notice USA everyplace, each town and 24/7.
Assignment help
Report | Reply
Congrats on having such well managed site! It has good looks and contains informative content as well. We are also a web portal where students get the help with the academic writing by opting for our assignment help online and can get a well written assignment.
Report | Reply
<a href=" outlook-email-setup/#.Wfw1btKnHIX">Outlook Support Number </a> Amazing post!!
Best Coursework Writing Service
Report | Reply
Nowadays many children or students spend their more times in front of television or with a mobile. So such kind of Class Act program motivate them and also give a career path. Thanks for sharing such a well-written article with us.
phd thesis writing services
Report | Reply
Thank you very much for this wonderful site. well written and informative content you have.
Report | Reply
Children today are spending more time in front of the television and Xbox than going outside and playing games. There is plenty to do outside. With plenty of games and activities you can do outside, television and game consoles are obsolete.
check cashing
Report | Reply
That’s why we tend to feel you plentiful and services. It is terribly simple to finding United States as we generally tend to rectangular measure at your city or nearest locations.
Report | Reply
Very nice post. Thanks for sharing.
fake yeezy boost 350
Report | Reply
Much interesting article and I am so delighted to be here and to gather this awesome post. Thanks a lot sir. <a href="">fake yeezy boost 350</a>
outsource medical coding
Report | Reply
These sort of annual talent shows are very necessary in every institution as they help students to show their talent and get rid of their stage fear. Hope the students have used this chance very well and I would like to know more about the events.
mcafee phone number
Report | Reply
thanks for this awesome web page, i like it
Lenovo Helpline UK
Report | Reply
Hii, Thanks for the sharing nice posting with us. i’m really impressed.
Setbeat music app
Report | Reply
You may happy to know there are a few brilliant apps that permit users to listen songs at anytime using their android phone and tablet. Setbeat is the app like this.
air jordan pas cher
Report | Reply
Golden Balls plays a gnarly leader of the Blackleg, the King's soldiers and stars alongside Jude Law and Charlie Hunman in what is basically Lock, Stock... meets Lord Of The Rings this May.
BT Email uk Number
Report | Reply
thanks for this awesome web page, i like it
louvre museum tour
Report | Reply
Hope the students have used this chance very well and I would like to know more about the events. Such annual talent shows are very necessary in every institution as they help students to show their talent and get rid of their stage fear.
roblox cheats
Report | Reply
Hello friends play roblox with full freedom after getting the roblox cheats as you will be able to cross all its difficult level and you will enjoy a lot while playing it.
Formal Shoes Men
Report | Reply
wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.
ivf diet
Report | Reply
Class Act has been serving quality musical education over the years and it is great that they continue to do so. The program has provided valuable education in music which has helped to create a community out of them. The students learning under them have been given a good opportunity to nurture their talents and also exposing them to the musical world.
forex buy sell signals
Report | Reply
This is a wonderful article, Given so much info in it, These type of articles keeps the users interest in the website, and keep on sharing more ... good luck.
Report | Reply
So luck to come across your excellent blog. Your blog brings me a great deal of fun.. Good luck with the site.
Case Study Help
Report | Reply
I am a creative writer and I am fond of travelling and I have been to Paris, Australia and CENTRAL PARK in New York.
Casual shoes
Report | Reply
wow this good but ,I like your post and good pics may be any peoples not like because defrent mind all poeple ,
       1   2   3