Mercury Baroque and YES Prep West Joint Concert

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Sixth and seventh grade students from Yes Prep West — a charter school here in Houston, had a rare chance to work and learn from Houston's Mercury Baroque, a group of internationally renowned musicians. For their finale, they are performing a free joint concert this Thursday, at the Wortham Theater. Michelle Choi had the opportunity to hear and speak with those involved.

With the fine tuning of their instruments, students from Yes Prep West began their last rehearsal alongside their Mercury Baroque mentors, for their big concert this Thursday. Playing everything from classical Vivaldi to modern pop music like Coldplay, the sixth and seventh graders were exposed to the endless possibilities of music. This is Cheryl Fergerson, a seventh grader at Yes Prep, she plays the violin.

“I think that everyone at my school should be able to experience this because it’s a really cool opportunity and it can further you so much more.”

Since last September, Mercury Baroque musicians had been teaching these students in depth musical training, by giving them private lessons and chamber music coachings. Learning from these mentors has definitely been a treat for these kids, who come mostly from low-income households. Ellen Winstead is the principal at Yes Prep West.

“They have gone from just plucking at their strings a year in a half ago, to performing in quartets at galas downtown, performing onstage at Wortham Center tomorrow night, and being really confident musicians.”

The concert for Thursday night is to showcase the culmination of the hard work and diligence by both the students and their mentors. Deborah Lugo, the Executive Director of Mercury Baroque says the experience has not only been beneficial to the students, but has been a great chance for them as well.

“To be able to reach this population and really train the artists of the future, we truly believe in that, and we’re very excited to have had this opportunity.”

Both Mercury Baroque and Yes Prep West say they would like to continue their partnership into the future. This is Antoine Plante, the Artistic Director for this concert.

“They are eager to learn, really respectful, and it’s so wonderful that we can give them this special thing that is music.”

This joint concert, which is free to the public, will be held at the Wortham Theater, this Thursday at 7pm.