Kidznotes’ free Winter Concerts this weekend

Durham VOICE staff reporters take a peek at students as they practice for last year's winter concerts. Kidznotes begins working with students as young as pre-K and continues with them until their high school senior year. Students put in 10-hours of work each week. Photo by Cindy Chen


Kidznotes, the Durham-based non-profit music program devoted to giving kids a passion for music, is back with their annual Winter Concerts.

This year’s first free concert will be held Fri., Dec. 14, 5:30 – 7 p.m. at Fayetteville Elementary School located at 2905 Fayetteville St. The second concert will be presented in the same location, Sat., Dec. 15, from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Kidznotes frequently holds several concerts for the community throughout the year.

Kidznotes has a community mission to empower students to develop interests in music into a talent that spills into other parts of their lives. Because all students in the program recive free or reduced lunch, Kidznotes aims to “change the face of poverty” in not only East Durham but also Southeast Raleigh.

It serves to level the playing field for students ranging from as early as pre-K to seniors in high school.

According to its most recent annual report, the music program has found that its students have shown improvement in their overall attendance in class and tend to have higher attendance compared to non-Kidznotes students.

The weekend’s concerts will feature performances from Kidznotes’ Advanced Vivaldi and Abreu students. Abreu are the most experienced students and Vivaldi are the junior players who all started playing instruments since they were young.

Many volunteers, often Duke students, help younger students during practice and rehearsals.

One Kidznotes student, playing in the Winter Concert is Heyda Ortiz. She joined the program in 2011, a year after her brother first joined. She is now the oldest student in the youth orchestra and has been playing the flute since 2012.

Ortiz said what is unique about the program is that it starts teaches students when they’re young and offers free services to learn to play an instrument that is donated to the program.

“Some of the most important things I’ve taken away from being in Kidznotes are some skills like being more open and confident when playing in front of crowds,” Ortiz said.

“I’ve also learned what ‘teamwork’ is because we’re all part of a team.”

Learn more about Kidznotes on their website: or their Facebook at Kidznotes.