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Utah Opera Releases 'Back To School' Report On Education Programs

Utah Symphony | Utah Opera released impact figures from its educational outreach programs that found 40 percent of Utah public schools - and more than 157,000 students from combined free symphony and opera education programs - were served by the orchestra during the 2017-18 school year alone. Utah Opera education programs reached 35 percent of schools in Utah in that same period. For full reports of both opera and symphony outreach, visit the website.

"For more than 40 years, USUO has been deeply engaged and invested in music education, and has been impacting schools, students and teachers through live orchestra and opera Education Outreach performances," said Education Outreach and Community Director Paula Fowler, who has led efforts in schools throughout the state for more than 15 years.

"At the very core of our organization, we believe music education enriches lives, creates opportunities for future success, and strengthens community. Symphony and opera music education programs collectively reach 155,000 students on average annually," said USUO President and CEO Paul Meecham. "Every child deserves access to high quality music education, and we are so grateful to the legislative support and donors who contribute to our outreach programs to make this an ongoing commitment."

Longtime Music Director Maurice Abravanel paved the way for Utah Symphony to receive support from the Utah State Legislature in 1975 when he and Senator Haven Barlow advocated for the creation of Professional Outreach Programs in Schools (POPS) to provide matched funding for arts performances - including orchestra concerts - in Utah public schools.

Glade Peterson followed the Utah Symphony model when founding Utah Opera in 1978, initiating an extensive education and outreach program in Utah's schools in tandem with its ticketed performances. A third of the orchestra's yearly concerts serve Utah's school children and Utah Opera's Resident Artists perform more than 250 education programs annually in schools throughout the state. In fact, the each part of the organization (Utah Symphony and Utah Opera, separately) reaches every school district in the state on a three to five year rotation.

In 2017-18, Utah Symphony served 76,021 students and 457 schools while Utah Opera served 81,346 students and 393 schools. The Utah State Board of Education documented 1,113 total public schools and 652,348 public school students in a report for the 2017-18 school year.

Among reasons why music education is fundamental to USUO:

  • A 2015 study by the National Association for Music Education found graduation and attendance rates increased for schools with music education. Schools with music programs have an estimated 90 percent graduation rate (17 percent higher), and 94 percent attendance rate (9 percent higher) compared to schools without music education
  • Utah has the highest percentage of children under the age of 18 in the country at 31 percent of the total state population so the opportunity to impact and inspire youth through classical music and opera translates to greater life experiences
  • Utah has had a long history of arts appreciation that extends to this day.
    o The performing arts are ingrained in the fabric of our state's identity. They figured prominently in the cultural landscape of the Mormon pioneers who made the treacherous trek across the Plains and mountains carrying pianos back in the 1860s
    o A 2015 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) three-year study found Utah rated #1 in the nation for performing arts attendance at 51 percent, heads and tails above the national average of 32 percent.

About Utah Symphony | Utah Opera Education Department

The Education Department of Utah Symphony | Utah Opera creates and oversees opportunities in music for audiences of all ages, with special emphasis on musical experiences for K-12 students and teachers. As the largest performing arts organization in Utah, USUO promotes a broad public knowledge and appreciation of music through more than 30 state-assisted community outreach programs, amounting to more than 600 performances annually. USUO Education serves more than 7,000 teachers and 155,000 students each year throughout Utah by bringing both symphony and opera programs, free of charge, to every school district in Utah over a three- to five-year rotation. For more information, visit usuo.org/our-company/in-the-community or call 801.869.9091.

About Utah Symphony | Utah Opera

Utah Symphony | Utah Opera connects Utah communities through great live music, serving as the premier local provider of orchestral and operatic art forms. The Utah Symphony, which performs at Salt Lake City's Abravanel Hall and is led by Music Director Thierry Fischer, is one of the most engaged orchestras in the nation. In addition to numerous regional and domestic tours to perform outdoor free concerts against the backdrop of Utah's state and national parks, it has embarked on seven international tours and performed at Carnegie Hall in 2016 coinciding with the orchestra's 75th anniversary celebrations. Since 1978, Utah Opera has provided Utah's citizens with distinguished productions at the historic Capitol Theatre that showcase emerging and established artists, celebrate traditional works, and champion the American operatic tradition. USUO reaches 450,000 residents in Utah and the Intermountain region through its performances and educational outreach programs serving more than 155,000 students annually. The organization employs 57 staff and 85 full-time musicians and presents four full operas and more than 175 symphony performances in each season throughout Utah and an annual summer festival - the Deer Valley Music Festival - in Park City, Utah. For more information, visit www.usuo.org.

Utah Opera Releases 'Back To School' Report On Education Programs Utah Opera Releases 'Back To School' Report On Education Programs Utah Opera Releases 'Back To School' Report On Education Programs

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Utah Symphony | Utah Opera 123 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101 | 801-533-6683 | info@usuo.org

Utah Opera Releases 'Back To School' Report On Education Programs

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