League of American Orchestras Reveals Ford Musician Award Recipients

The League of American Orchestras has selected five exemplary orchestra musicians to receive The Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service. A new program made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund, the awards celebrate orchestra musicians and the essential work they do in their communities.

The award recipients and their orchestras are:

  • Penny Anderson Brill, viola - Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's Music and Wellness Program
  • Shannon Orme, bass clarinet - Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Neighborhood Residency Initiative
  • Jeffrey Paul, Principal Oboe - South Dakota Symphony Orchestra's Lakota Music Project
  • Brian Prechtl, percussion - Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's OrchKids
  • Beth Vandervennet, cello - Oakland Symphony's Music for Excellence Program (MUSE)

"These five musicians serve as models and mentors to the entire orchestra field," said Jesse Rosen, the League of American Orchestras' President and CEO. "Their commitment and dedicated work, whether by inspiring under-served students, bringing comfort in healthcare settings, or bridging cultures through their artistry, is on the leading edge of orchestras' service to their communities. We are grateful to Ford Motor Company Fund for helping support this vital program and for enabling us to publicly acknowledge and share the important work of these musicians."

"It is a pleasure to honor these dedicated musicians who bring the joy of music from the stage to the community," said Yisel Cabrera, community relations manager, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. "Thank you for taking the extra steps to entertain, educate and lift people's spirits. Bravo!"

The five orchestra musicians were selected by a panel of industry professionals through a competitive nomination process to receive the awards. They include a $2,500 grant to each musician, as well as an additional $2,500 grant to their home orchestra to support professional development focused on community service and engagement for its musicians.

The awardees and their orchestras will receive their awards at the League's National Conference in Baltimore, June 9-11, 2016. The musicians will also participate in a Conference presentation and separate webinar, providing the orchestra field opportunities to learn from their experience.

Community work is defined as meaningful service through music: education and community engagement programs at schools, hospitals, retirement homes, community and social service centers, places of worship, and wherever people gather for civic, cultural, and social engagement. Those served may include low-income or at-risk populations, homebound elderly, immigrants, veterans, prisoners, and students of all ages, as well as members of the general public who may not otherwise have access to or are not traditionally served by orchestras.

The Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service mark the League's second partnership with Ford Motor Company Fund, which was previously the title sponsor of Ford Made in America, the largest commissioning consortium in the country's history.

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