More than 500 St. Tammany students are learning their ABCs — their Orchestra ABCs that is. The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra presents its Early Explorers program this week for pre-kindergarten through first grades in Mandeville.

And don’t worry that the kids will be squirming in their seats. They will spend time on stage with one of the musical ensembles to see how a stringed bow bends, a horn blows and more. Then, they will be treated to a 25-minute concert with the full orchestra.

“We have an interactive component so they get an up close view of the sound and music that make up the families of the orchestra,” said Sean Snyder, the LPO’s director of marketing and communications.

Orchestra ABC’s brings in core principals of education such as math, reading and science, to help explain how an orchestra achieves its sound. The same program was recently held in Slidell.

“It’s one of the extra things we do for each community we visit,” Snyder said.

But that’s not all. For second through eighth grades, the LPO will offer its Young People’s Concerts at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, at Church of the King in Mandeville and Friday, Jan. 30, at the Slidell Municipal Auditorium.

Schools and homeschool families can sign up for the program which includes student booklets and a new component called “Link Up.” Three LPO musicians will visit the school in preparation for the YPC performance. For information, email

And doing what they do best, the LPO will finish out 2014 with three performance in St. Tammany. Finckel and Mozart Symphony No. 40, with Markand Thakar conducting and David Finckel on cello, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21, at First Baptist Church, 16333 Louisiana 1085, Covington. Tickets are $20 or $10 for students .

Christmas programs include the Yuletide Celebration which ends with a Christmas sing-along at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, at the Slidell Municipal Auditorium, 2056 Second St., Slidell. Tickets are $20 and $35. A Baroque Christmas will be performed 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19 at Church of the King, 22205 Little Creek Road, Mandeville. Tickets are $20, $35 and $55.

Formed in 1991, the LPO is the longest-standing musician-governed and collaboratively-operated orchestra in the United States with a 36-week season with more than 100 performances. Assisting the LPO’s outreach in St. Tammany is the Northshore Advocacy Council and its giving society, Alegro.

For details and ticket information, visit

Sharon Edwards is community news editor for the New Orleans Advocate.