Link Up - Akron Symphony Orchestra

Link Up

Link Up

In collaboration with Carnegie Hall Akron Symphony is participating in Link Up The Orchestra Moves, a music education program provided by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI), during the 2023-2024 season. The more than 3000 students participating in the Link Up curriculum will attend a culminating concert on March 20th at Akron Civic Theater where they sing and play the recorder or the violin with the orchestra from their seats. This experience often serves as a students’ first concert and provides them with the opportunity to apply the musical concepts they have studied.

For over 35 years, Link Up has paired orchestras with students in grades 3–5 at schools in their local communities to explore orchestral repertoire and fundamental musical skills, including creative work and composition, through a hands-on music curriculum. Link Up addresses the urgent need for music instruction and resources by providing a free, high-quality, year-long curriculum that teachers can implement, along with printed and digital classroom materials, online video and audio resources, and the professional development and support necessary to make the program an engaging experience for students.

Akron Symphony Orchestra is one of over 100 national and international organizations chosen for this program. Since 2003, Carnegie Hall has partnered with professional, community, and university orchestras across the US and around the world to support their existing education programs and strengthen their partnerships with local schools. In 2023-2024, Link Up will partner with sites in the US, as well as in Canada, China, Dominican Republic, Spain, Kenya, New Zealand, and Japan, to serve more than 300,000 students and teachers globally. Visit for a complete list of participants and further details.



Laura Best is delighted to once again co-host the Link Up Program with The Akron Symphony Orchestra.  Ms. Best has performed a wide variety of opera and musical theater roles over the years with various companies including Great Lakes Light Opera, Actors’ Summit Theatre, Canton Comic Opera Company, Weathervane Playhouse, and The Carousel Dinner Theatre.  Favorite roles include Baba/Madame Flora in “The Medium” and La Abuela in “La Vida Breve”.

Ms. Best regularly steps in as a cantor, soloist, and section leader throughout area churches and performs Christmas caroling work with Cleveland Opera Theatre.  It’s possible you’ve seen Ms. Best commit murder, die (repeatedly), and innocently disco dance in countless murder mysteries throughout the area, primarily for  “Mysteries by Moushey, Inc.”  Ms. Best holds a Master of Music Degree in Voice from The University of Akron and proudly teaches music full-time in the Akron Public Schools.  Buddy and Leo, her two cats, often like to practice singing along with Ms. Best.  A million thanks go out to her vocal teachers from over the years, Dr. Mary Schiller and James Mismas.


Brian Keith Johnson

Brian Keith Johnson is nationally acclaimed for his opera and oratorio performances and his “powerful presence” and “rich and gleaming” voice.

He has received raves for performances with the Cleveland Orchestra, Akron Symphony Orchestra, Blossom Festival Orchestra, New Opera Festival di Roma Orchestra, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Springfield Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Porthouse Theatre, Lyric Opera Cleveland, and The San Jose Ballet.

Area audiences know Brian from appearances with the WPO and star roles in Opera Western Reserve’s productions of Porgy and Bess,  La Boheme, Traviata, Madame Butterfly, Carmen, and The Marriage of Figaro.

Born and raised in Warren, Brian received his bachelor’s degree from The University of Akron. He studied abroad at The New Opera Academy of Rome in Italy and at The American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. In 2018 Brian was inducted into the Warren City Schools Alumni Hall of Fame.


Works Performed

Radzetsky March
Thomas Cabaniss Come To Play
Tanyaradzwa Tawenga Mhande
J. Strauss II Blue Danube
Tali Rubenstein Shibolet Basadeh
Georges Bizet Toreador
José Pablo Moncayo Huapango
Copeland Hoedown