BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After becoming increasingly popular, Soulful Symphony is back at the Hippodrome.

Jessica Kartalija reports the orchestra is targeting future musicians and audience members with a special school concert.

Students at Booker T. Washington get a lesson is the arts with the Soulful Symphony.

“I started playing piano at the age of 4. We all grew up playing in church. Today I’m the conductor of the Symphony Orchestra,” said Darin Atwater.

Atwater started the 86-member ensemble back in 2000. The outdoor concert celebrates the opening of the new season of Soulful Symphony at the Hippodrome.

“He’s not only amazing on stage, he’s also incredible with these kids,” said Olive Waxter, director of Hippodrome Foundation Inc. “He has a way of inspiring them to do well in their life, to improve their art skills. He’s just a great role model for these kids to follow.”

“Music is what I want to be in life. It is what I love,” said a student at Booker T. Washington.

The Soulful Symphony performs classical, jazz, gospel and popular music.

Atwater says it’s important for children to have the opportunity to express themselves in different ways.

“They need a counter statement. All they hear on TV and BET is hip-hop music and rap music. Just have an exposure to culture,” said Atwater.

Debbie Thomas, the principal at Booker T. Washington, helped organize the outdoor concert for her students.

“It’s the message in the music. It is something to penetrate the mind, to give the kids something to think about,” Thomas said.

Soulful Symphony has its first performance of the season at the Hippodrome on Saturday. Tickets for this event are still available.

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