Kids’ Orchestra began in the fall of 2011, working with four schools and sixty-five students ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade. However, the idea for the organization came a year earlier with a question posed to the congregation of St. James Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge by Rector Mark Holland. “How many friends or acquaintances do you have that are different in racial, religious, economic, or cultural background than you?”
Following the sermon, a news program highlighted the El Sistema training of Venezuelan-born, Los Angeles Symphony conductor, Gustavo Dudamel. With the fuel from Rector Mark Holland’s sermon and El Sistema’s principles, Kids’ Orchestra was born with the goal of using music to bring together children of private and public schools in order to foster teamwork and understanding, cross economic barriers, emphasize excellence, and teach instrumental skills and brotherhood within the orchestral system.
Now, Kids' Orchestra has an executive staff of four, thirteen teachers, a rotating group of volunteers, and a wide array of community partners. In its second year, Kids' Orchestra has expanded from four schools at two sites to eight schools at three different sites.