During its final meeting before the winter break, the Spring ISD Board of Trustees presented a special Spring ISD Spotlight recognition to Jenkins Elementary School music teacher Shantrice Holly, who was recently selected from a nationwide pool of applicants to perform with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
The performance was part of the symphony’s biennial “Extra Credit” concert featuring a select group of music educators from across the country performing together onstage with SLSO musicians at the historic Powell Hall auditorium in the heart of downtown St. Louis.
On Friday, Oct. 7, Holly participated as a trumpet player in this year’s official Extra Credit concert in St. Louis, under the baton of SLSO Music Director Stéphane Denève.
“Every other year, the symphony invites just a handful of incredible educators from across the nation to join them onstage for a professional performance,” said Spring ISD Director of Performing and Visual Arts Dr. Joe Clark during his remarks at the board meeting. “This is the pinnacle of every musician’s dream – there is no higher level.”
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra originally launched the event in 2017 to honor the important work of school music educators. A second Extra Credit event was held in 2019, followed by a three-year pause during the pandemic before this year’s concert.
“As a leading orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is committed to supporting music educators who are the front line in inspiring students to get involved and stay involved in music,” said SLSO President and CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard in a statement. “Extra Credit is a highly visible way for the SLSO to spotlight educators’ remarkable musical talents, honor the work they do to instill a love of music in their students, and provide them with a reinvigorating artistic experience.”
The unique concert experience draws large crowds to Powell Hall, and since its inception, the SLSO musicians and their music educator guest artists have come together to perform works by composers including Alexander Borodin, Antonín Dvořák, Edvard Grieg, Modest Mussorgsky, Maurice Ravel, Bedřich Smetana, Dmitri Shostakovich, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovksy, and John Williams.
During his remarks at the board meeting, Clark told trustees how Holly continuously goes above and beyond to support other teachers both in Spring SID and across the profession – including in the early days of the pandemic, when Holly participated in a project sponsored by Carnegie Hall in New York to provide support and guidance for music teachers around the country working quickly to adapt their lessons and music instruction for online environments.
More recently, Holly received an invite from Grammy Nominee Ronnie Garrett — who is also Tyler Perry’s musical director – to join his Simply Irresistible band and play her trumpet with the group for a charity ball in Dallas.
Still, Holly told the trustees that at the end of the day she gets her greatest satisfaction from her work with her students in Spring ISD, where she is now in her fourteenth year as a music teacher.
“I just really like to share the art and the gift of music with my kids, especially minority children, and I think it’s important for little brown girls to know that they can play brass instruments, too,” Holly said. “So I like to share that with my students and let them know that they can do it, too, that music is for everybody.”