Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Palm Beach Symphony Ends School Year After Impacting Nearly 8K Students

Musicians provided 611 hours of instruction in a variety of formats to students in the county's music programs.

Palm Beach Symphony Ends School Year After Impacting Nearly 8K Students

Palm Beach Symphony reached 7,943 K-12 students during the 2021-2022 school year via innovative programs presented at no charge to the schools or students. Players of the Palm Beach Symphony mentored young musicians enrolled in orchestra and band classes, and they also performed for student audiences school-wide in Pre-K through 12th grade across Palm Beach County.

"The musicians really enjoyed being back in the classroom working directly with students this year, while the hybrid remote models we employed during the pandemic allowed us to reach more students than ever before through virtual as well as in-person programs," said the Palm Beach Symphony's Director of Artistic Operations Olga M. Vazquez, Ph.D., who directed the education initiatives. "The School District of Palm Beach County and our education partners and supporters encouraged and enabled us to expand our free programming to more schools and students than ever before."

Musicians provided 611 hours of instruction in a variety of formats to students in the county's music programs. Music residences were offered at four Title I schools resulting in a total of 40 class sessions per month for those students. Music students also learned technique, tone, posture and instrument position in 216 coaching sessions that included rehearsing alongside the Symphony musicians. The coaching sessions are part of the residencies at the four Title I schools. In addition, the Symphony presented 20 in-school concerts to elementary through high schools who received mentorship, guidance and inspiration to further their musical interests and abilities.

Building upon the success of the virtual field trips offered during the pandemic, the Symphony presented two children's concerts. "Eudora's Fable: The Shoe Bird," an adaptation of Pulitzer Prize winner Eudora Welty's only children's book, was performed to children and families as part of the Dale A. McNulty Children's Concert Series and in virtual field trips to more than 5,200 students. The concert was a collaboration that featured students from Young Singers of the Palm Beaches. In addition, workshops relating to the concert were led by Symphony music teaching artists in elementary through high school classes. A partnership with the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County provided all elementary and middle school students with "Eudora's Fable: The Shoe Bird Literacy Kits," containing a copy of the book and learning activities related to bird proverbs and idiomatic expressions.

The Symphony also reprised "One Small Step," encouraging STEAM interest through a trip to the moon, in virtual field trips of the concert to more than 1,100 students. Workshops were also presented to 3rd-5th grade students in the Glades in conjunction with the concert through collaborations with community partners such as the Cox Science Center and Aquarium who offered science workshops as well as the Demetrius Klein Dance Company who presented music integrated workshops alongside Symphony teaching artists.

Student musicians also shared the limelight as 291 participated in performance opportunities at Symphony events and in the community. Students and music programs received 109 instrument donations from the symphony that included any necessary accessories such as bows, reeds and mouthpieces. The Symphony accepts donations of instruments as well as monetary donations to purchase and cover costs for needed instrument repairs before distributing them to students."

For the first time, the Symphony extended its support of young musicians beyond high school in its inaugural year of the Annual Mary Hilem Taylor Music Scholarship Competition that presented a total of $25,000 to Katie Riley, a graduate student at Lynn University, and Alexandre "AJ" Meyer and Rafael Mendez, both of whom study at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music.

The Lisa Bruna B-Major Award once again presented advanced level instruments to talented graduating high school seniors as Dion Sellitti, a baritone saxophone student at Santaluces High School, was named the winner and Dreyfoos School of the Arts oboe student Ellen Dahlstrom was recognized as runner-up.

The Symphony paid tribute to dedicated music teachers when Wesley Lowe, Jr., director of instrumental arts at The King's Academy, was honored as the Palm Beach Symphony's Instrumental Music Teacher of the Year. The recognition came with a basket of personal indulgences as well as many educational opportunities for the honoree's students including a classroom visit and clinic run by the Symphony's Music Director, Gerard Schwarz.

The Palm Beach Symphony's education programs are made possible through support from The Paul and Sandra Goldner Conservatory of Music, Lois Pope, the Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation, Mr. William Robertson, James R. Borynack and Adolfo Zaralegui/Findlay Galleries, Eric Friedheim Foundation, Inc. and The Mary Hilem Taylor Foundation.

Proud sponsors of Palm Beach Symphony include The Lachman Family Foundation, Patrick and Milly Park, Felicia Taylor Gottsegen/The Mary Hilem Taylor Foundation, DeLuca Foundation, Leonard and Norma Klorfine Foundation, Charles and Ann Johnson/The C and A Johnson Family Foundation, Patricia Lambrecht, Dodie and Manley Thaler and the Thaler/Howell Foundation, NetJets, Lugano Diamonds, Findlay Galleries, HSS Florida, PNC Private Bank, The Colony Hotel, Related Companies, Provident Jewelry, IYC, Palm Beach Design Masters, Braman Motorcars, CIBC Private Wealth, and Gent Row LLC. Programs are also sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

For more information, visit

Related Articles View More Miami Stories

More Hot Stories For You