The biggest single school arts program in Baltimore isn’t run by the school system. It was created by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. -Anne Midgette
Baltimore, Md. (PRWEB) February 22, 2013
(February 22, 2013) - Two of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's (BSO) flagship music education programs, OrchKids and OrchLab, are featured in Washington Post music critic Anne Midgette's arts education story in this weekend’s Washington Post Magazine. In a story titled, "After years of crouching, arts ed is raising its hand again," Midgette covers arts education programs by the BSO, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Washington Performing Arts Society.
Of OrchKids, Midgette says, “The biggest single school arts program in Baltimore isn’t run by the school system. It was created by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.” She goes on to comment on OrchLab, “…designed in close consultation with the Montgomery County school system, [OrchLab sends] musicians into schools that already have music programs for extra coaching.
Read it online or in print. The Magazine hits newsstands on Sunday, February 24.
OrchKids™ is a year-round music education program designed to create social change and nurture promising futures for youth in Baltimore City. Under Music Director Marin Alsop’s artistic leadership and direction, OrchKids is a cornerstone of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s efforts to expand the Orchestra’s relevance within the City’s broad and diverse community. In collaboration with several community partners, OrchKids provides music education, instruments, meals and mentorship at no cost to Baltimore’s underserved youngsters.
The program was inspired by Venezuela’s El Sistema, the music program that in 30 years has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in that country’s most impoverished areas. Like El Sistema, OrchKids is intended primarily to address the most pervasive social challenges affecting underserved youth, using music to cultivate fundamental life skills such as self-expression, cooperative learning, discipline and creativity. In the 2013-2014 school year, OrchKids will serve more than 600 students at Lockerman Bundy Elementary School, New Song Academy, Mary Ann Winterling Elementary School and Highlandtown Elementary/Middle School, #215.
Under Artistic Director Dan Trahey, the OrchKids receive classroom music instruction and participate in citizenship, mentoring and academic activities. A typical after school session includes a nutritious meal, choir rehearsal, group instrument lessons, tutoring and homework assistance. Students study instruments in the strings, woodwinds, brass, harp, and percussion. OrchKids also take field trips to local recreational and educational destinations and regularly attend BSO concerts. OrchKids have performed in Baltimore’s Artscape, the Inner Harbor, Peabody Institute, Baltimore School for the Arts, the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. In 2012, the OrchKids performed at Carnegie Hall as part of a national El Sistema summit. On average, the OrchKids perform in front of a total audience of approximately 150,000 people.
OrchKids maintains a faculty of 32 professional working and teaching musicians as well as academic classroom teachers. Additionally, a body of volunteers from area high schools, businesses and communities also support the program. Parents are a major aspect of OrchKids, who must sign an agreement to be involved and support their child’s efforts in the program. Business and community partners include Baltimore City Public Schools, the Peabody Institute, Baltimore School for the Arts, The Family League of Baltimore, University of Maryland Baltimore County and others. Lead funding support was provided by initial gifts from Maestra Marin Alsop, $100,000, and Rheda Becker & Robert Meyerhoff, $1 million.
OrchLab is a music-in-schools program for elementary, middle and high school students in Montgomery County, Maryland. OrchLab was created to enrich the instrumental music program in schools within the MCPS system that have the greatest need, as well as to provide professional development opportunities for MCPS music instructors. For the 2012-2013 academic year, OrchLab was piloted in 23 of the schools located in the Downcounty and Northeast Consortia of the school system. The program will continue to encompass interactive classroom visits to elementary schools by BSO musicians as established by BSO on the Go. New, however, is OrchLab’s enhanced service to middle and high school music student ensembles and orchestras, which can benefit from up to three mentorship visits from BSO musicians, and the opportunity to attend one BSO concert at The Music Center at Strathmore. All OrchLab visits and student activities are provided at no cost.