WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — John Marshall and Wheeling Park students filled into the J.B. Chambers Performing Arts stage for a festival! 

For a majority of these high schoolers, this was the first time getting a taste of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. But they also got a taste of prejudice sweetly sung and violins carrying tunes that once fell on deaf ears. 

The Festival of Ideas welcomed three guest speakers to dissect works of the musical greats. 

We quickly learned that some of ‘the greats’ were anti-Semites.

This is amazingly beautiful and deeply disturbing at the same time. 

Rabbi Joshua Lief, panel speaker

Park high schooler, Kyria Riddle, reflected saying, “Pay attention more to the stories behind the music that we are playing.” 

Other ‘greats’ faced a racist world, like the late Florence Price: An African American woman whose music was brushed under the rug.  

“It’s definitely unfair because her music was good and it shouldn’t be based off the color of her skin.” 

Keasia King, 11th grader at WPHS

Because unlike the music that I’m used to, where it’s hip-hop and guys are rapping and telling you their struggle, word for word, these artists are pulling their feelings into music played by instruments that will evoke an emotion in you.

Ron Scott Jr., panel speaker

Pieces from Price’s work and that of others discussed Monday will be featured in the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra’s concert this Friday at 7:30 PM.