Kids’ Orchestra of Baton Rouge recently announced the appointments of LSU School of Music doctoral student Raul Gomez as artistic director and Eliza Eaton as project director.

Kids’ Orchestra is a new, year round program designed to foster social change and nurture promising futures for youth in Baton Rouge. In collaboration with a broad array of community partners, Baton Rouge’s Kids’ Orchestra program will provide music education, instruments and performance and leadership development opportunities to Baton Rouge’s kindergarten through fifth graders.

A native of Costa Rica, Gomez is a conductor, violinist, composer and teacher working to complete his doctor of musical arts degree in conducting at LSU. He is a Sidney M. Blitzer violinist and a Huel D. Perkins Fellow in the university’s Doctor of Musical Arts program.

As artistic director, Gomez said he is looking forward to working with the very talented team of Kids’ Orchestra teachers, students and their families to start a movement that will make a huge difference in the community.

“I am a strong believer in the power of the arts to help improve our society and culture and that’s what Kids’ Orchestra is all about,” Gomez said. “Growing up in Costa Rica, I had the privilege of studying music in a similar program and it definitely changed my life.”

Laurence Kaptain, dean of the LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts, said he felt Gomez’s appointment speaks to the serious intent of Kids Orchestra of Baton Rouge to assure quality in instruction and excellence in the structure of this ambitious project.

“He [Gomez] is a proven artist, talented composer, inspirational teacher and creative leader who will provide important direction, while serving as a role model for the students and teachers associated with the program,” Kaptain said.

Eaton, a violist who is formerly of Teach for America, has worked with the United Nations World Food Program, Rotary International Youth Exchange and the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis.

Eaton said she knows the power that music can have in influencing a student to strive harder to reach a goal, inspiring a group to work together to create something magical or building a child’s self-esteem.

“Kids’ Orchestra will bring the children of Baton Rouge the opportunity to play, create and explore the wonderful world of rhythm and sound together,” Eaton said. “I look forward to helping build a program that will, one day, see every elementary school student in Baton Rouge learning and growing through music.”

“I am so excited about our five fabulous schools for our inaugural year - Capitol Elementary, The Dunham School, Lanier Elementary, LSU Laboratory School and Melrose Elementary,” Kids’ Orchestra Founder and Board Chair Nanette Noland said. “My dream of providing an excellent staff is coming together, and I am delighted that our Kids’ Orchestras are already booked for Christmas events.”

For more information on Kids’ Orchestra, contact Executive Director Gwen Jones at (225) 922-4656.