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This Orchestra Is Connecting Local Scientists Through Their Love of Music

The Kendall Square Orchestra connects over 70 classically trained musicians, who work across over 50 organizations in the academic and corporate community of Kendall Square. The orchestra raises money to support causes related to healthcare, education and equity

NBC Universal, Inc.

Two women working in the sciences in the Boston area wanted to build connections among other workers in the local industry.

So they started an orchestra for workers, who are also musicians, to join.

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Five years later, the Kendall Square Orchestra is creating harmony across the STEM industry in Greater Boston, particularly Cambridge, and raising money for science-related causes.

"Towards the end of the workday, you're really tired and you're thinking, 'Gosh, like, wouldn't I love to just go home right now?'" one of the orchestra's co-founders, Kelly Clark, said. "But by the time you get to rehearsal, there's just so much energy in it."

Kelly Clark and and Elena Spencer founded the Kendall Square Orchestra in 2018. The pair goes way back, having known each other years ago in Michigan. They both eventually ended up living in the Boston area.

"Kelly and I are both scientists, and part of the industry, the biopharma industry in Kendall Square, and musicians," Spencer said. "And we thought it would be great if we could form a group with our peers that allowed us to build more intersections across different companies, and maybe spark some innovation at those intersections."

Things certainly have sparked.

Dozens of volunteer members have joined the group, which started as just a handful of musicians. It now features over 70 musicians, who come to rehearse after their day jobs in the local science field. The group has raised over $125,000 for local groups with its annual benefit concert, Symphony for Science.

"When we discovered the power of having a mission beyond music through supporting other causes that we all cared about, I think is when things really took off for us," Spencer said.

The orchestra brought on Kristo Kondakci to serve as musical director, who has a passion for bringing out the best of his performers — regardless of their skill level.

"They don't come for a paycheck," Kondakci said. "They come because they work really hard during the day, and they want this outlet of everything they're going through in their own lives together in music."

The 2023 Symphony for Science concert, which is scheduled for June 4, will benefit Next Step, which is an organization that connects young people with life-threatening diseases with services, as they transition from pediatric to adult care.

You can learn more about the concert and get tickets for the show here.

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