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Da capo

An Introduction to the Orchestra


Beginning in The COT's 2023-24 Season, Da Capo (meaning “from the beginning”) suggests that excitement for classical music begins at a young age.


Part of The COT’s mission is to empower young musicians of diverse backgrounds, and that mission begins with The COT's Durham Fellows visiting 3rd graders in Durham Public Schools and Orange County Schools systems through Da Capo.

As of March 2024, The Fellows visited each third grade class at all 9 partnering schools twice, as listed below in order of date visited: 

Little River K-8*

E. K. Powe Elementary*

Parkwood Elementary*

Easley Elementary

Southwest Elementary*

Lyons Farm Elementary

Pathways Elementary*

Club Boulevard Elementary*

Central Elementary

* Indicates Title I School

How Da Capo Works

Visit 1

The first visit to each class consists of a string quartet arrangement of Strauss’s “Overture to die Fledermaus,” and focuses on introducing the instruments of a string quartet, their range, the different sounds they can make and how they work together.


Key terms include melody, harmony, dynamics, pizzicato, forte, and piano.

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At a visit in November, Spectrum News interviewed Tim Parham (violin) for a story about diversity and opportunity in American orchestras. The story ran on Nov. 27th, 2023. To view the story, click above!

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Visit 2

The second visit combines all the third grade classes in an assembly, and introduces the concept of music as a narrative after reviewing concepts from the first visit. Students have a chance to imagine what’s happening at the beginning, middle, and end of a story as they listen to the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution of Haydn’s “Fifths” string quartet.

On February 7, 2024, Indy Week covered the Fellows’ work for Da Capo at their visit to Southwest Elementary school. To view the story, click here!

Visit 3: COT Education Concert

The program culminates in a field trip to the Carolina Theatre of Durham, during which all participating schools make up the audience for a full orchestra concert.


On March 11, 2024, The COT hosted its first-ever education concert with 100% participation from partner schools. Transportation to and from the theatre was paid for by The COT.


The concert itself introduces each section of the orchestra, and students get to hear a melody line from each instrument. Led by principal conductor Niccoló Muti, the concert reinforces concepts from the first and second visits. 

COT Musicians demonstrate the different pitches of the woodwind and brass instruments, which the students have not yet encountered during the Da Capo program.

Da Capo in Action!

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