Backstage Pass: Musicians in the Community with Dave Kirk

David Kirk, principal tuba, performs with Houston-area students.

Backstage Pass: Musicians in the Community with Dave Kirk

Houston Symphony musicians are full-time members of the orchestra, but many still dedicate their spare time to serving our community by working with local schools and other community partners, such as hospitals, shelters, and senior care centers.

This month, Dave Kirk, principal tuba, told us about his passion for bringing music into Houston-area communities.

Why is it important for an orchestra to do work in the community?
I think for a lot of people, music is a salve, especially for those who experience difficulty in their lives. We bring music to those who otherwise would not be here. It’s important to reach audiences who aren’t aware there’s an orchestra of this caliber in Houston.

When did you begin doing education and community engagement services with the Houston Symphony?
I’ve participated in every service since the program started more than 25 years ago. It’s a privilege to do it.

David Kirk, principal tuba. By Eric Arbiter.

Do you have any favorite concerts you’ve performed in the community?
As a member of our brass quintet, our performance at The Richmond State Supported Living Center was one of the more memorable concerts I’ve ever played. At shelters such as Star of Hope or The Salvation Army, there is no audience more engaged. It’s really great to bring joy to the people there. We get a lot of thoughtful questions about the music.

What is it like to work with students?
We musicians were students, and we love to pass along our knowledge and experiences to future generations. One of the students I work with at Sharpstown High School went on to get a scholarship at Texas A&M, and he became an engineer—I received a memorable letter from him. I don’t know that he plays anymore, but he went into a field bringing personal success and satisfaction. It’s a testament to what music education provides those who have an opportunity to receive it. That’s what our community work is all about.

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