This Friday, dozens of students will skip class and take to the city streets to perform more than 40 pop-up concerts across Baltimore.
Dubbed #40for40, these free mini-concerts will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Baltimore School for the Arts, with mostly juniors and seniors performing works by classical composers at more than 40 locations such as the Baltimore Museum of Art, City Hall, Mondawmin Mall, Pimlico Race Course, and Druid Hill and Patterson Parks, as well as in numerous neighborhoods such as Pigtown, Hampden, and Fells Point.
From 8:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., five ensembles—brass, woodwind, string, jazz, and the a capella chamber choir—will each visit at least eight locations, with performances lasting five to seven minutes in length, with a kickoff and finale performance starting and ending the day in the lobby of the newly renovated Enoch Pratt Central Library.
“The Baltimore community has supported the Baltimore School for the Arts through financial gifts and artistic partnerships for 40 years, enabling our students to receive a world-class education and go on to lead meaningful lives,” said BSA director Chris Ford in a press release. “These performances are just one way we’d like to give back to the community during our anniversary.”
In addition to the concerts, BSA theater students will also host their annual Ages on Stages festival, now in its 30th year, at the Basilica Place assisted living facility in Mt. Vernon toinclude music and dance performances for local senior citizens and the general public.
In 1979, BSA was established by the Baltimore City Public School System as a specialized learning institution for students who aspired to careers in the visual and performing arts. The public-private school would go onto become one of the top five public arts high schools in the country, which its children’s program, TWIGS, has also been praised for providing free after-school and weekend classes for second graders through eighth graders. And the alumni list includes a star-studded cast, from actress Jada Pinkett-Smith and actor Josh Charles to rapper Tupac Shakur and fashion designer Christian Siriano, to name a few.
“BSA is one of the most special places in the world,” Siriano told us in September 2017. “You’re thrown into this world with unbelievably creative people and you’re given freedom and responsibility in your curated study.”