On October 10, current Miss USA Olivia Culpo visited M.S. 180 in the Bronx. During her visit, Culpo—a cellist by training since the 2nd grade—sat in on the school’s 8th grade orchestra. Together they rehearsed Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. After the rehearsal, Culpo answered student questions—sharing advice on overcoming nerves and discussing her favorite and most challenging pieces to perform. During this segment, Miss USA expressed her enthusiasm for music—classical music in particular—and provided students with names and compositions they were eager to search on Youtube.
At the time of her visit, the orchestra was learning to site read and perform a twelve-bar blues progression. According to music teacher Leah Potteiger, “students were excited and energized by the visit,” and learned from Miss USA’s example: “It was good for them to meet a cellist and to see her basic etiquette during rehearsal.” In addition, “Miss USA noted to the students that while she is not a professional cellist, the cello continues to play an important role in her life.” The distinction, Ms. Potteiger believes resonated with students, who she hopes will allow music to shape their lives.
Ms. Culpo, a child of professional musicians and a band camp enthusiast, was impressed by the students’ musicality—even after only a month of school. Miss USA also spoke to the students in band and toured the school’s music technology lab. Delighted by the experience, Ms. Culpo hopes to visit another ETM partner school in the near future to encourage student development through the arts.