Honoring Finland’s 100th anniversary, the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra invited for the second time an entire age group as its godchildren comprising children born in Kuopio in 2017. The project began in spring 2018 when all these children and their families received an invitation to join the project. The godchild project is based on an art education programme that will be implemented during several years. The children and their families will be introduced to the world of music, different eras and genres – the programme planning for each season will be developmentally approriate considering contents and activities best for each age level of the children. The aim is to awaken and foster a love of music at an early age.
The project has been funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Year 2009 was the 100th anniversary year of the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra. Honoring its anniversary the KSO launched a first ever godchildren project in the KSO’s history inviting an entire age group as its godchildren compirising almost a thousand children born in Kuopio in 2009.
The Kuopio Symphony Orchestra’s initial aim was to develop and expand the orchestra’s art education programme by initiating a long-term art project with families living in Kuopio. In December 2010 the orchestra invited all the children and their families to visit its own “home”, ie. the Kuopio Music Centre for a first ever godchild event. The invite included also an introduction to the KSO Godchild Project mascot, the Little Mammoth (inspired by the Kuopio Museum Mammoth), designed by Riina-Liisa Leinonen. Since 2010 the godchildren and their family members (parents, guardians, siblings as well as grandparents) visited the KSO in various concerts and events a few times a year at the Kuopio Music Centre. Most of the nearly 1000 families accepted the invitation and joined these events.
The godchild project was based on an art education programme that was implemented during several years. The children and their families were introduced to different eras and genres of orchestral music in special theme concerts and events. The first Godchild Project culminated in May 2016 with a graduation ceremony where all the godchildren received KSO Diplomas. At the graduation ceremony the orchestra also premiered a composition called The Magic Wall “composed” by the godchildren by freely placing cut-out notes on a wall-size staff.
During a period of six years the KSO godchildren had an opportunity to listen to various kinds of music and to explore the orchestra, its instruments and sounds. Over 7.000 smaller as well as already grown-up persons enjoyed the special concerts and events tailored especially to the godchildren and their families. After the project ended, many of the families continued coming to the KSO concerts and other concerts, as well. The orchestra’s wish was that the music would take root in and enrich the lives of these families also in the years to come and that the families would learn to be open to appreciate different kinds of music. Music can be an integral part of the early childhood but also to enrich the lives of all the family members. As the children grow, their knowledge and experiences of music increase, they learn to appreciate different kinds of music without any preconception and the memories of moments spent together with either their mother, father, grandparent or a godparent will last forever.
The Kuopio Symphony Orchestra’s Godchild Project is part of the orchestra’s long-term programme of passing on cultural heritage to the next generation, to develop the art education programme for children and youth as well as to introduce the children to the world of music. At the same time the orchestra is educating new members of the audience for the future.