Learn At Home!
Learn about instruments, composers, music, and even how to conduct from the comfort of your home!


Tona Brown

This week’s lesson features Tona Brown, the first black transgender woman to perform at Carnegie Hall and to perform for a United States President.

Tona Brown is a Black transgender American woman who has changed the world of classical music for the better. She studied violin, viola, piano, and voice at the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in Virginia. Although she has faced many obstacles in her life, she hasn’t let anyone or anything get in her way. Tona has said, “You can’t tell me I can’t do something,” and that tenacity shines through her music. In the video, Tona performs with cellist Kevin Jones for the Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony in Baltimore.

As You Listen...

  • Have you ever been told you can’t do something? Has one of your friends or family been told they can’t do something because of their gender or the color of their skin? 
  • Tona has experienced this discrimination. How has she chosen to move forward and live her dream?
  • What does this piece make you feel? Hopeful? Sad? Both? Why so?

Learn more by checking out this article about Tona Brown and her life as a ground-breaking musician.

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You Can Help Keep the Music Going!

If you enjoy our weekly activities, please consider a donation to the BSO. The BSO does over 90 in-school performances each year, reaching thousands of students throughout Whatcom County.


Whatcom Arts Project

The BSO is a proud participant and a founding member of the new Whatcom Arts Project, a group of over 30 community arts nonprofits. The goal of the Whatcom Arts Project is to reach our community during this time of need to provide hope, entertainment, learning opportunities, and a sense of togetherness. Each week during the pandemic, the BSO posted learning activities and videos on our website and to social media as part of the Whatcom Arts Project.

To learn more about the Whatcom Arts Project and home friendly activities in our area, please visit: www.facebook.com/WhatcomArtsProject/ or https://www.bellingham.org/whatcom-arts-project/.