After a year of serving the 80 children and families at St. Francis de Sales School in West Philadelphia through the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra’s Tune Up Philly program, I am very excited to share with you the news that I continue to serve the same children and community under a new banner – Play On, Philly! (POP). Two weeks ago, we launched POP for 110 children at St. Francis, engaging the 80 children from last season while increasing our enrollment this season. There are 17 professional Teaching Artists that work with these children every weekday after school for three hours a day. Each child selects a standard orchestral instrument and receive a group lesson, small ensemble experience, and large ensemble rehearsals every day. The program has a full symphony orchestra, string orchestra, and wind ensemble, while offering jazz, composition, choir, and percussion.
Our primary goal is to build a foundation for a prosperous and sustainable society in Philadelphia by making an investment in at-risk children to acquire high-level executive functioning skills which will enable them to pay back society through a lifetime of productivity and responsible citizenship. We are able to fully evaluate and assess the impact of our program by providing consistent music education, performance opportunities, and collaborations with some of the region’s finest arts, education, and social service organizations. Our year-long project, Brahms From the Inside Out, will open the door to many partnerships as our children learn more about who inspired Brahms, his compositions, and the impact he had on classical music.
We are planning an exciting season of opportunities for our children to work with Sir Simon Rattle and Marin Alsop, perform at City Hall, Mann Music Center, and the Kimmel Center, build lasting partnerships with the Philadelphia Sinfonia, Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania, and host a performance in Philadelphia of El Sistema-inspired programs throughout the United States. I hope that you will follow the Play On, Philly! program and share our story of dedication and hard work with other people by….