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Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Will Hold a Virtual 80th Anniversary Celebration

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With the isolation brought on by the Coronavirus Pandemic and the tragic events of the past few weeks, the 80th Anniversary celebration of Philadelphia Youth Orchestra (PYO), one of the nation's most preeminent youth orchestra organizations, will take place virtually. "An Evening of Harmony" will share appreciation of the past and preparation for the future. Originally planned as a gala event scheduled in the month of March, the program will take place on Friday, June 19 beginning at 8 P.M. EST. Live on Philadelphia Youth Orchestra's Facebook page, the evening willfocus onreflection, harmony, and unitywithin the community.

Produced by event planner extraordinaire, Fred Stein, this one-hour virtual program will be co-hosted by Maestro Louis Scaglione, President and Music Director of PYO, and Ehren Valme, a recent alumnus of PYO who is studying at the Julliard School. The evening will recognize the spirit of unity through music as PYO rejoices in the accomplishments of students and reaffirms its commitment to building a stronger community through excellence in music education.

Included in the presentations will be a historic look at the past 80 years with appreciation of the importance of diversity and an announcement about the future by PYO Board of Trustees Chairman James M. Matour, recognizing the expanded breadth and depth of the organization. PYO was launched in 1939 as one orchestra ensemble and has since evolved into an organization with nearly 600 students each year, age six to 21, in six distinct program divisions. .

The evening will include the presentation of a variety of awards, including the 7th Annual Ovation Award presented in partnership with WRTI 90.1, Jacobs Music Company and J.W. Pepper,which recognizes excellence in music education. Ten finalists will be named, with a surprise presentation outside the home of this year's Ovation Award recipient.

Special musical performances will feature present music students. There will also be a special performance by violinist Michael Ludwig, who is ainternationally recognized artist as well as the Concertmaster of The Philly Pops orchestra. Henry Zheng, Philadelphia Young Artists Orchestra's concertmaster, will perform on his violin as well. Zheng won the "Young Artists Solo Concerto Competition", and he would have performed live in Perelman Theater this May at the Kimmel Center with Philadelphia Young Artists Orchestra. Student performances will be shown in a digital format including Bravo Brass opening and closing the program, Philadelphia Young Artists Orchestra performing Scheherazade, Prysm Strings, followed by Tune Up Philly, the division of the organization that reaches 200 young musicians in underserved areas, demonstrating that music is truly a vehicle for social change. In addition, Philadelphia Young Musicians Orchestra will perform with the finale being the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, the most advanced ensemble of PYO, joined by more than 80 alumni, and presenting Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" from his Ninth Symphony. Maestro Scaglione said, "Little did I know when I programmed Beethoven's 9th Symphony for our year-end annual festival concert, how appropriate this hymn to freedom, joy and humanity would be. We need these values now more than ever."

The live segments of the program are being presented in Presser Hall at the main branch of Settlement Music School, a valued partner of PYO.

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