Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra concert series helps keep music in Wilkinsburg schools

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COLLABORATION—Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on stage and Wilkinsburg community choir below. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

 

The decade-long partnership between the Wilkinsburg School District and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Community Engagement Concert for the Community has been beneficial for students, educators and musicians alike.

“We purchased new instruments, mouth pieces, music stands and supplies from the money raised from the program,” said Lois Clark, a music teacher at the school district’s Kelly Elementary School. “We sent students to band camp for a week. The program whet’s the appetite of students to play orchestral music. Now we have a full elementary school music program with a band ­director.”

Clark also said that thanks to the program, VH-1 Save the Music Program heard about the school and provided the Wilkinsburg school district with a $90,000 grant in 2008 and a $30,000 grant last year to extend the music program by starting a theater program.

Over $56,000 has been raised in Wilkinsburg through the PSO’s Community Engagement Concerts over the past ten years. All proceeds from these concerts in Wilkinsburg benefit the school district’s music programs.

“I don’t think the music program would still be in existence if we didn’t have this collaboration,” Clark said. “Now we have a bond that no one can sever. It’s not that we depend on them, we feel very close to them.”

To commemorate the special relationship, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra held its tenth annual Community Engagement Concert “A Celebration of Music and Community” at the Wilkinsburg High School auditorium May 24.

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