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Santa Barbara Symphony Seeks Co-Investors to Expand Afterschool Music Education Program

The Santa Barbara Symphony is seeking additional funding partners for a proposed expansion of BRAVO!, the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s afterschool music education program for public elementary students in grades five and six.

Under the plan, the Symphony, in a new operational partnership with the SBUSD, will augment district teaching staff and extend the program’s hands-on instrument instruction to fourth-grade students.

The Symphony also will assume greater responsibility for administering the program, including managing teaching artists.

The expanded BRAVO! program will cost $121,500 annually; funds totaling that figure must be committed by Aug. 31 if the plan is to be implemented with the start of the coming school year.

In addition to the Symphony, SBUSD, and the Incredible Children’s Art Network (iCAN), funding partners include the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation and Westmont College, which will adapt the student internship initiative it developed in collaboration with iCAN to the new program. The Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation will provide funds and assist with instrument maintenance and repair. 

The proposal follows iCAN’s recent announcement that it will exclusively focus on grant-making. Since 2011, the organization had developed and delivered its own successful afterschool music education program for 150 students at its Franklin Elementary and Westside Neighborhood Center sites in Santa Barbara.

With iCAN’s withdrawal from direct program offerings, combined with growing demand for such instruction generally, Symphony officials predict the number of BRAVO! students could grow to some 200 in the coming school year, up from the current 125. 

“The Symphony stands poised to continue iCAN’s important work in collaboration with the Santa Barbara Unified School District,” said Amy Williams, director of education and community engagement for the Santa Barbara Symphony. “Parents and teachers look to the Symphony to lead this expanded afterschool music education program for elementary students. It perfectly aligns with our mission to provide the community’s youth with dynamic educational opportunities. We are proud to help families fulfill their musical dreams.”

According to Donna Ronzone, SBUSD’s director of visual and performing arts, “District students benefit from a number of partnerships with our community’s arts organizations. I am deeply grateful for and 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.”

Established in 2007, BRAVO! provides fifth- and sixth-grade students with afterschool music classes twice a week at Santa Barbara Junior High School. Participants present a series of public concerts throughout the school year.

Under the Symphony’s expansion plan, SBUSD will provide transportation to Santa Barbara Junior High. The launch of the expanded BRAVO! program is provisionally slated for the start of the 2016-17 school year, pending funding.

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

Tim Dougherty represents the Santa Barbara Symphony.


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