League of American Orchestras Reveals Getty Grant Recipients

Twenty-two orchestras from across the United States have been selected by the League of American Orchestras to receive Getty Education and Community Investment Grants.

The grants will fund long-term in-school partnership programs; after-school educational programs with social development components; health and wellness programs in hospitals, nursing homes, and treatment centers, and artistic programming with a focus on social issues and community dialogue.

For first-hand video accounts from grantee program stakeholders and others, visit the League's new online story bank. Health care providers, parents, musicians, orchestra administrators, and students are all spotlighted in a regularly updated array of videos, articles, and infographics, all showing the many ways in which orchestras serve communities.

"We are grateful to the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation for their forward-thinking support," said League President and CEO Jesse Rosen. "This year's grants give orchestras a significant opportunity to offer communities greater access to the orchestral experience. These programs demonstrate the remarkably wide assortment of populations orchestra musicians serve, from multi-generational Native musicians, student songwriters, and elementary school children in an entire California school district, to babies in neonatal intensive-care units, teens and adults in the criminal justice system, and the developmentally challenged."

Getty Education and Community Investment Grants recipients for 2014-15 are:
Allentown Symphony Orchestra, for El Sistema Lehigh Valley; Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, forOrchKids; Central Ohio Symphony, for Reconnecting; DC Youth Orchestra Program, El Paso Symphony Orchestra, for Tocando; Grand Rapids Symphony, for Music for Health; Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, for Metropolitan Youth Orchestra; Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, forKalamazoo Kids in Tune; Kidznotes; Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, for KSO Music & Wellness; Los Angeles Philharmonic, for Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA); Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, for Soul Strings; Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, for Progressions; New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, for NJSO CHAMPS (Character, Achievement and Music Project); Orchestra of St. Luke's, for Youth Orchestra of St. Luke's (YOSL); Phoenix Symphony, for The B-Sharp Music Wellness, a W.O.N.D.E.R. Project: Alzheimer's Expansion Pilot Initiative; San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory, for Community Opus Project; Seattle Symphony, for NativeLands Community Composition Project; Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras, for SYSO in the Schools; Spokane Symphony, for Music Heals; Stockton Symphony, for Harmony Stockton; and Yakima Symphony Orchestra for Yakima Music en Acción (YAMA).

One of this year's grant recipients is El Paso Symphony's Toccando program, serving students in El Paso's El Segundo Barrio, one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the country, with 60% of households living below the poverty level. "Toccando uses an orchestra as a learning tool," says program director Karen Peters, "to help kids learn how to play together, to learn leadership skills, to learn perseverance and critical thinking."

Another grant recipient is Central Ohio Symphony's Reconnecting program: leading therapeutic drumming sessions for teen and adult drug offenders in the criminal justice system, some whom have lost custody of their children due to heroin abuse. "The drumming circle relieves a lot of stress," said one participant. "It helped me understand that I can feel good and get excited without drugs and partying. You feel so much happier after a session."

Seattle Symphony's Native Lands Community Composition Project received a grant for residencies, multi-generational cultural exchanges, and a culminating performance of the Potlatch Symphony, a co-created composition for Seattle Symphony musicians and members of Native American communities. Learn more by watching a video on the League's story bank.

A total of $425,000 was awarded for this year's grants, part of the League's three-year, $1.5 million re-granting program made possible by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. The orchestras, encompassing a full range of budget sizes, will receive individual grants ranging from $13,000 to $27,500 for a variety of community-based programs taking place during the 2014-15 season. 61% of the grants were awarded to after-school educational programs, 22% to health and wellness programs, 14% to in-school partnership programs, and 3% to orchestras' artistic programming with a focus on social issues. A prerequisite for qualifying orchestras was the existence of partnerships with local community or social service organizations.

The initial 143 applicants were narrowed by an independent advisory panel of experts to 32 semi- finalists; all programs were then judged on a number of criteria, including innovation and relevance to community needs, strength of partnerships, extent and quality of professional development, and strength of evaluation activities, among other assessment categories.

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