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Santa Barbara Symphony Launches Communitywide Music Education Programs

Orchestra is partnering with three area school districts to provide hundreds of community children with unique instructional opportunities

Further cementing its status as a music education leader in the region, the Santa Barbara Symphony has launched a pair of instructional programs that will collectively serve some 285 area public elementary school students during the current school year. The effort includes an expansion of BRAVO!, the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s afterschool music education program, as well as a new violin program in the Hope Elementary School District.

“As part of the Symphony’s overall efforts to address a growing need in the community, these new programs are in effect making the case for quality music instruction in our schools, and the message is clearly resonating with parents and educators alike,” said Dr. Amy Williams, director of education and community engagement for the Santa Barbara Symphony.

“The resulting learning experiences will add immeasurably to students’ development, and are perfectly aligned with the Symphony’s mission to provide the community’s youth with dynamic educational opportunities. We are proud to help families invest in their children’s future through music.”

“With the launch of these programs, the Symphony now helps serve the educational needs of more than 8,000 area children. It’s an extraordinary and gratifying milestone,” said Kathryn R. Martin, interim executive director of the Santa Barbara Symphony.

The expanded BRAVO! program provides hands-on instrument instruction to fourth-grade SBUSD students (participation had been limited to students in grades five and six). BRAVO! participants take part in afterschool music classes twice a week at Santa Barbara Junior High School, and present a series of public concerts throughout the school year.

Under a new operational partnership with the SBUSD, the Symphony has assumed greater responsibility for administering the program, including managing teaching artists. In addition to the Symphony, SBUSD, and the Incredible Children’s Art Network, funding partners include Westmont College, the Mosher Foundation, and the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation, which also is assisting with instrument maintenance and repair. Symphony officials predict the number of BRAVO! students could grow from approximately 125 to 180 this school year.

“This vitally important initiative would not be possible without our many generous supporters. We are exceedingly grateful to have such motivated and insightful benefactors,” said Santa Barbara Symphony Development Director Pamela Perkins-Dwyer.

“I am very excited about this new partnership, which will go a long way in supporting and enhancing the music education our students receive during their instructional day,” said Dr. Donna Ronzone, SBUSD’s director of visual and performing arts.

The Hope Elementary School District program is designed for novice violin students ages 9 to 12, and is expected to serve upwards of 70 participants this school year. A pre-existing Goleta Union School District initiative provides about 150 students in grades four through six with string instrument instruction (violin, viola, cello, and bass).

The Santa Barbara Symphony serves approximately 8,300 young people directly through its Music Education Center, whose programs also include the Music Van, Concerts for Young People, the Junior Orchestra, and the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony. In operation since 1978, the Santa Barbara Symphony Music Van visits third-grade classrooms in the greater Santa Barbara area between September and December, serving some 2,000 students in more than 40 schools each year. The program is the recipient of a California Teachers Association Gold Award for Outstanding Support of Public Education (2009) and a Sally Parker Education Gold Award from the League of American Orchestras (2007).

For more information, call 805.898.8785 or email [email protected]

 — Tim Dougherty is a publicist. 

 

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