COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A group of young musicians known as the Columbus Cultural Orchestra is combining jazz, hip-hop, and classical music to create a whole new sound.
“We’re playing everything from Stevie Wonder to Drake,” said Stephen Spottswood, founder and music director for the Columbus Cultural Orchestra.
When Spottswood formed the orchestra last year, he said it was something he knew he had to do.
Growing up, Spottswood was a classical violinist, but he also had a love for jazz and hip-hop, two passions that he said were often hard to come by.
“I just couldn’t find it in the sheet music store, and my dad is a composer and arranger, so I saw him do it, so I picked that up,” Spottswood said.
After graduating from college and becoming a music teacher at Reynoldsburg City Schools, Spottswood saw many young and talented Black kids with a passion for music, but little to no representation in the orchestras.
“The first thing is seeing a conductor that looks like them because that’s usually not the case,” he said.
The orchestra is made up of mostly young Black students, all between the ages of 14 to 25.
Spottswood said the purpose of combining jazz, hip hop, and classical music is to give students a way to express their love for different types of music in a fun and creative way, hoping to inspire more young, diverse talent.
“The most important thing for them to know is that they can be themselves,” he said. “You know, some students talk about how they felt ostracized in orchestras growing up, and when they can be part of an orchestra where everybody looks like them, that brings a sense of belonging.”
The Columbus Cultural Orchestra will be performing inside the Lincoln Theatre Thursday at 7 p.m., with tickets available online.