News & Updates

The Presser Foundation Announces $235,000 in New Special Project Grants to Music Organizations

Posted by on Oct 25th, 2021 in News & Updates | 0 comments

October 25, 2021 – Philadelphia, PA

The Presser Foundation is pleased to announce new Special Project grants totaling $235,000 to 24 music organizations for the fiscal year 2021-22. These grants are designated for special projects of music presenting, music performing, and music educating organizations in the Greater Philadelphia Area.

In addition to its continued focus on pilot projects/first-time collaborations, significant anniversaries, and providing operating support for newer organizations, this year The Presser Foundation was pleased to incorporate a new Special Projects category that will give planning grants to music organizations for efforts to center racial equity.

As part of the Special Projects area, the Foundation will honor $37,000 in previous commitments to PRISM Quartet and Musicopia and gave honorariums to four nonprofits (Choir School of Delaware, Kennett Symphony, Trenton Children’s Chorus, and World Café Live) who served as panelists in the Foundation’s Next Movement event in September.

Peter Burwasser, Chair of the Special Projects Committee, commented on these grants, “This year, music organizations continue to adapt and innovate to the many challenges that they face, and they do so through many means. In that vein, the Committee was pleased to see a diverse group of music organizations apply for a wide variety of projects. Ten will receive grants for pilot projects/first-time collaborations, two will receive significant anniversary gifts, four will be given general operating support, and eight will receive planning grants to center racial equity within their respective organizations.”

“As the Foundation seeks to center racial equity in our own organization, we look forward to seeing how a number of organizations critically think about, reflect on, and integrate equity into their own work.”

A full listing by special project category of the nonprofit partners is below.

2021-22 Special Project Grantees (in alphabetical order by category)

Pilot Projects/First-Time Collaboration – $142,500

Significant Anniversary – $23,000

General Operating Support – $25,000

Racial Equity Support – $45,000

Previous Committed Support – $37,000

Honoring Robert W. Denious

Posted by on Sep 20th, 2021 in News & Updates | 0 comments

Long-time Presser Foundation Trustee Robert W. Denious passed away on September 4, 2021.  We received the news with deep sadness as Bob was a valued and congenial colleague in service of the musical and philanthropic vision of Theodore Presser.  Bob served for nearly two decades as a loyal member of the Presser Board and had been elected to the honorary designation of Honorary Trustee in 2015.  During a distinguished career as a lawyer for Duane, Morris, and Heckscher, Bob brought his considerable knowledge and skill, his love of music, and an exceptional sense of service to others to the work of the Foundation as he did to many other organizations that have worked to improve conditions in our society.  His loss will be felt by all of us at the Foundation, and we will greatly miss his most delightful manner.  We join many others in Philadelphia and the region in expressing our sincere condolences to his family and friends.

https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/mainlinemedianews/name/robert-denious-obituary?pid=200110931

Jeffrey Cornelius, President

The Presser Foundation   

Reflection on Next Movement: Centering Racial Equity

Posted by on Sep 10th, 2021 in News & Updates | 0 comments

By Abby Rolland, Grants & Communications Manager

Being vulnerable and open about one’s organization, one’s board, one’s feelings is never easy, even when around close family and friends. To do so in a (virtual) room with other nonprofits and a funder is even harder.

To their immense credit, Monica Buffington (Kennett Symphony), Arreon Harley-Emerson & Brittney Lynn Stanton (Choir School of Delaware), Alicia Brozovich (Trenton Children’s Chorus), and Alex Shaw (World Café Live) openly and honestly discussed their respective organizations’ journeys toward embedding and centering racial equity in their activities and programs, in their missions, and in their visions.

But let me back up about and share some background about why these people, why this Zoom room, and why this topic.

First, this event took place as part of our, The Presser Foundation’s, drive to provide resources to grantees that go “beyond the check.” In other words, the Foundation strives to be a resource for grantees beyond solely its grantmaking. Thus, the idea for the Next Movement series was born. Last year, The Presser Foundation and the American Composers Forum hosted five Idea Forums focused on resilience, creativity, and programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, we reimagined the five Idea Forums to become one panel discussion that the above participants graciously agreed to participate in.

Secondly, the Foundation is working to center racial equity within our own organization. We’ll share more on this later, but we are actively striving in our tactics and in our strategy to become a more equitable, a more inclusive, and a more just organization. While we hoped that this panel would be beneficial for grantees, we also understand its applicability to our own efforts.

So as we planned this event, we prepped questions, shared them with the panelists, and the panelists shared their thoughts about what they wanted to say. I knew at that point that the variety of organizations (two children’s choirs/schools, one presenting music space with a strong focus on education, and one symphony), the variety of staff/board perspectives (two executive directors, one education-focused staff member, one marketing/development-focused staff member, and one board member), and the various stages of how each is centering racial equity would make for an enlightening and enriching discussion.

Yet even those high expectations were surpassed. Throughout the 90-minute event, the panelists were open, honest, and vulnerable. They not only shared the victories and positive steps they are taking to centering racial equity, but they also discussed the challenges they face. They mentioned the importance of changing the language of “at-risk” and “underserved.” They talked about actively pushing at all times to foster and facilitate sustainable change. They shared how you can sympathetically “vibrate” with people in your organization with the same ideas and vision to advancing and centering equity. They openly discussed the stages they are in, revealed past successes and trials, and shared the challenges they face with getting everyone within the organization on board.

I could go on and on about the event, how quickly it went by, how we wish we had more time, and how positive the participants’ feedback has been so far. Instead of typing pages and pages, I would encourage you to watch the recording. I would bet that you would learn at least one thing relevant for your organization.

Recording: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/S6ZruDYtXb3EN5YSKjdyIGgtHFY_Jy7EBfeYFbC-a6cDoAZhyaF_dFPgLXdUti88.UYRQy_raTW_sZ-z4

Password: 2XzF!8!M

And if you don’t have even 10 minutes to watch it, I would encourage you to check out the resources shared by the panelists.  

To conclude, The Presser Foundation is proud to partner with such extraordinary grantees and organizations. As a new staff member, I am thrilled to be part of an organization that takes its commitment to centering racial equity and to being a true partner to and amplifier of its grantees, seriously. In addition, I’m even more eager than before to continue learning from and partnering with amazing nonprofits in the Greater Philadelphia area.

News Release: The Presser Foundation Announces Nearly $2 Million in New Capital Support Grants

Posted by on Apr 19th, 2021 in News & Updates | 0 comments

April 19, 2021 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – In a continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on the Greater Philadelphia Area’s rich ecosystem of music performance, education, and community engagement, The Presser Foundation announces new Capital Support grants to thirty-five music organizations. These grants, totaling $1,954,200 and paid over six years provides both single year and multi-year support to music organizations. The Foundation will also make payments on previous and deferred commitments totaling an additional $547,500. A full listing by category of the forty-four grantee organizations is below.

These grants are designated for capital projects of music presenting, music performing and music education organizations in the Greater Philadelphia Area. Capital projects typically include the construction of new facilities and the renovation or expansion of existing facilities. The Foundation also provided for a one-time extension of grant guidelines to consider the equipment and supply needs of organizations as they continue to respond to the pandemic with innovative, uplifting and inspiring music programming. 

Corey R. Smith, Chair of the Capital Support Committee, commented on these grants, Given the environment of continued uncertainty due to the pandemic, the Foundation is pleased to be in the position to support music organizations of a great variety of scale and purpose. These grants will support the purchase of a computer, equipment for recording, supplies for summer camps, a micro-stage, and needed maintenance and renovation of buildings. We want our music organizations to come roaring back when it is safe to do so, because so many musicians, students, and enthusiasts depend on them.” 

2021 Capital Support Grantees (in alphabetical order by category)

Traditional Large Capital Projects – $1,760,000 in Multi-Year Grants

Community Music School Lehigh Valley

Curtis Institute of Music

EMEAPP (Electronic Music Education and Preservation Project)

Kimmel Center, Inc.

Kutztown University Foundation

LiveConnections DBA World Cafe Live

Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts

Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Music Institute

Settlement Music School

The Music School of Delaware

West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance

COVID-Related Capital Needs – $194,200 in Single Year Grants

Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

ArtSmart

Berks Youth Chorus

Bowerbird

Chester Children’s Chorus

Choir School of Delaware

Choral Arts Philadelphia

Commonwealth Youthchoirs

Community Conservatory

Community Music School of Collegeville

Darlington Arts Center

Esperanza

Friends of the Wanamaker Organ

Harrisburg Symphony Association

Musicopia

OperaDelaware

Orchestra 2001

Philadelphia Sinfonia Association

Princeton Symphony Orchestra

PRISM Quartet, Inc.

Reading Symphony Orchestra

Singing City

Sruti

Tempesta di Mare, Inc.

Previous & Deferred Capital Project Commitments – $547,500 in Multi-Year Grants

Haverford College

Historic Lansdowne Theater Corporation

Lebanon Valley College

Lafayette College

Rider University – Westminster Choir College

Swarthmore College

Stetson University

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts

University of the Arts

News Release: The Presser Foundation Announces Nearly $1.2 Million in General Operating Support Grants to Music Organizations

Posted by on Feb 24th, 2021 in News & Updates | 0 comments

February 24, 2021 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania In a continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on the greater Philadelphia area’s rich ecosystem of music performance, education, and community engagement, The Presser Foundation announces another round of general operating support grants to 86 music organizations. These grants, totaling $1,166,500 provide both single year and multi-year support to music organizations in the Greater Philadelphia Area. The grants will be paid immediately to help these organizations to continue to weather the current COVID-19 crisis, which has forced so many music organizations to reimagine operations, performances and other activities. 

William B. McLaughlin, III, Chair of the Advancement of Music Committee, commented “While the ongoing pandemic has created stress on our beloved musical institutions, The Presser Foundation is inspired by so many who have invested in providing online music programming, shown great flexibility and innovation, and explored collaborations and other strategic relationships to supplement resources and expertise and expand audiences. Eighty-six organizations of a great variety of scale and purpose will receive funding and we are honored to help sustain and nurture these organizations that are essential to the communities and audiences they serve.”

Advancement of Music Grants: (in alphabetical order)

Academy of Vocal Arts 

Allentown Symphony Association

American Composers Forum

Anna Crusis Women’s Choir

Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Ars Nova Workshop

Art Sphere, Inc.

Artistas y Musicos Latino Americanos (AMLA)

ArtSmart

Astral Artists

Bay Atlantic Symphony, Inc.

Bowerbird

Chamber Music Society of Bethlehem

Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia

Chester Children’s Chorus

Choir School of Delaware

Choral Arts Philadelphia

Commonwealth Youthchoirs

Community Conservatory

Community Music School Lehigh Valley

Community Music School of Collegeville

Community Youth Orchestra of Bucks County

Darlington Arts Center

Delaware County Youth Orchestra

Delaware Symphony Orchestra

Dolce Suono Ensemble

Encore Series Inc./The Philly POPS

Esperanza

Friends of the Wanamaker Organ

Garden State Philharmonic Orchestra

Harrisburg Symphony Association

Intercultural Journeys

Kimmel Center

Lancaster Symphony Orchestra

LiveConnections DBA World Cafe Live

Lyra Society

Lyric Fest

Marian Anderson Historical Society & Museum

Market Square Concerts

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia

Music at Bunker Hill, a Nj nonprofit corporation

Music at Gretna, Inc.

Music for Everyone

Musicopia

Network for New Music

Ocean County College Foundation – The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts

Opera Philadelphia 

OperaDelaware

Orchestra 2001

Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale

Philadelphia Chamber Music Society

Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts

Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus

Philadelphia Sinfonia Association

Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Music Institute

Piffaro, The Renaissance Band

Play On, Philly! (POP)

Princeton Symphony Orchestra

PRISM Quartet, Inc. 

Project 440

Reading Symphony Orchestra

Riverside Symphonia

Rock to the Future

Settlement Music School

Singing City

Singing Hearts Choir Inc.

State Theatre Regional Arts Center At New Brunswick Inc

Symphony in C

Tempesta di Mare, Inc.

Temple University Music Preparatory Division

The Allentown Band

The Bach Choir of Bethlehem

The Crossing

The Friends of Chamber Music of Reading, Inc.

The Georgia E. Gregory Interdenominational School of Music

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts

The Music School of Delaware

The Philadelphia Orchestra

The Princeton Festival 

Trenton Children’s Chorus, Inc.

Trenton Music Makers

Tri-County Concerts Association, Inc.

Wilmington Children’s Chorus

Wilmington Concert Opera

Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey

Zoellner Arts Center

About The Presser Foundation

The Presser Foundation was established in 1939 under the Deeds of Trust and Will of the late music publisher Theodore Presser. It is one of the few private foundations in the United States dedicated solely to music education and music philanthropy. The Presser Foundation supports a broad range of classical symphonic, chamber, choral and vocal music performance and education through general operating and program grants to music organizations; capital grants for music building projects; undergraduate and graduate student awards; and assistance to retired music teachers. Much of the grant making focus of the Foundation is on organizations and institutions in the 75-mile radius surrounding Center City Philadelphia. For more information: www.presserfoundation.org.

Honoring Lucinda S. Landreth

Posted by on Feb 4th, 2021 in News & Updates | 0 comments

It is with a profound sense of sadness and loss that we received word that long-time Trustee and former President of the Board of Trustees, Lucinda “Cindy” Landreth lost her battle with illness on Sunday, January 31, 2021.  Shared by her family, “The Presser Foundation was at the top of her non-profit involvements.  She loved the mission and loved the people.”  

The feeling was mutual.  She remained an active participant in the work of the Foundation until the very end.  To say she’ll be missed somehow seems inadequate.  She was a potent force throughout her terms of membership on the Board and, of course, during her service as President.  She was also an example for all of us in how she lived her life with dignity, quiet courage, and purpose throughout these difficult years.

https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/inquirer/name/lucinda-landreth-obituary?pid=197654728

Dr. Jeffrey Cornelius, President

Honoring Thomas M. Hyndman, Jr.

Posted by on Dec 15th, 2020 in News & Updates | 0 comments

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Thomas M. Hyndman, Jr., long time Presser Foundation Board Member and Officer.  Tom’s tenure on the Presser Board began in 1959, and extended almost six decades.  Even after becoming an emeritus board member he remained interested and involved in board committee activity until very recently.  Tom was 96.  Working with Tom on the Board was a true pleasure.  A great listener, his charm, wit, interest, commitment, and penetrating mind made him an ideal colleague with whom to work toward Presser’s goals.  

I am including with this memorandum a link, that will take you to his obituary.  He was a well-known Philadelphia lawyer, a veteran of World War II, and a supporter of many worthy causes throughout his life.

On behalf of the Presser Foundation, I send our sincere condolences to his family, friends, and associates.  He was, indeed, a fine and rare person and will be greatly missed.

https://www.jacobfruth.com/obituary/thomas-hyndman-jr— 

Dr. Jeffrey Cornelius, President

THE PRESSER FOUNDATION

News Release: The Presser Foundation Announces Nearly $1.6 Million in Special Project Grants to Music Organizations and Undergraduate & Graduate Awards

Posted by on Oct 27th, 2020 in News & Updates | 0 comments

October 23, 2020 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania In a continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on the greater Philadelphia area’s rich ecosystem of music performance, education, and community engagement, The Presser Foundation announces Special Project grants to 42 music organizations. These grants, totaling $517,300, are in addition to previous commitments of $40,000 to The Mann Center for the Performing Arts and to Allentown Symphony Association. The grants will be paid immediately to help these organizations to continue to weather the current COVID-19 crisis, which has forced so many music organizations to reimagine operations, performances and other activities. 

Peter Burwasser, Chair of the Special Projects Committee, commented “The ongoing pandemic has created financial challenges to our beloved musical institutions of an unprecedented magnitude. In response, the Presser Foundation has felt obliged, but also greatly honored, to dramatically increase our support to these groups through our Special Projects granting committee. Forty-two organizations of a great variety of scale and purpose will receive funding. They are comprised of six newer organizations, five pilot programs and 32 creative proposals, including many that requested funding for vital technology to enable virtual musical presentations.”

The Presser Foundation is also pleased to announce the selection of 220 undergraduate schools of music and 16 graduate schools of music from across the country to receive Undergraduate Scholar and Graduate Music Awards ranging from $4,000 to $10,000 and totaling $1,040,000.   These Awards are designed to encourage and support in a special way the education and career of music students who exemplify high academic and musical accomplishment, leadership, and citizenship. 

Special Project Grants: (in alphabetical order)

American Composers Forum

Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Ars Nova Workshop

Art Sphere, Inc.

Astral Artists, Inc.

Bucks County Choral Society

Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia

Chester Children’s Chorus

Choir School of Delaware

Encore Series Inc./The Philly POPS

Intercultural Journeys

Jazz Philadelphia

Kleine Kammermusik

LiveConnections DBA World Café Live

Lyric Fest

Mamadele Foundation

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia

Music for Everyone

Musicopia

Nashirah: The Jewish Chorale of Greater Philadelphia

Network for New Music

Opera Philadelphia

OperaDelaware

Orchestra 2001

Philadelphia Chamber Music Society

Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Music Institute

Piffaro, The Renaissance Band

PRISM Quartet, Inc.

Singing City

Susquehanna Chorale

Tempesta di Mare, Inc.

The Bach Choir of Bethlehem

The Crossing

The Friends of Chamber Music of Reading, Inc.

The Georgia E. Gregory Interdenominational School of Music

The Philadelphia Orchestra

The Polyphonia Society

Trenton Music Makers

Wilmington Children’s Chorus

Wilmington Concert Opera

Variant 6

Yun International Music Foundation

Honoring Edith A. Reinhardt

Posted by on Sep 28th, 2020 in News & Updates | 0 comments

It is with sadness, yet with gratitude and appreciation for her long life and all that she accomplished on behalf of others, that we lament the loss of our former leader, Edith A. Reinhardt. Edith was President of The Presser Foundation and her philanthropic work, particularly but not entirely, among music organizations is legendary. She was a bold leader who worked tirelessly on behalf of the arts and those less fortunate. In addition to The Presser Foundation she served many other nonprofits as a guiding spirit and board member. She was also justifiably proud of having broken barriers on behalf of women. Because of Edith’s zeal, dedication, and hard work, music education and performance in our city and the region was strengthened for all time, and we are grateful.

Obituary of Edith A. Reinhardt

Edith A. Reinhardt of Philadelphia died on Wednesday, September 16, at the age of 98 at Fair Acres Geriatric Center in Media, PA. Even though Edith had not been active in the arts community for several years, “it is not hyperbole to say that an era has passed with her and Philadelphia has lost a significant arts leader and philanthropist, as well as a trailblazing executive and, a great lady,” wrote David Hayes, former musical director of The Philadelphia Singers. David expressed the thoughts of many in saying: “Her loss will be felt as a chasm in the arts community.” Edith was born on April 29,1922, and grew up in Philadelphia with her sister and parents, Charles Reinhardt and Rebecca Gallagher. In her youth, she enjoyed social dancing and vacations to Atlantic City with her family. During World War II, having suffered the loss of a loved one in the Air Force, Edith began her service with the Red Cross. She would go on to serve as the President of the Philadelphia Red Cross. After receiving her undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business, one of few women in her class, Edith began her career at Fidelity Bank and worked her way to being the first woman trust officer and a Senior Vice President of the bank. Having been a talented and aspiring opera singer, Edith expressed her love for the vocal arts through an unwavering commitment to strengthening music institutions in the greater Philadelphia area through her philanthropy and leadership. She was a benefactor, served on Boards, and held leadership positions at the Settlement Music School, the Academy of Vocal Arts, Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia Singers, Musical Fund Society, Chamber Music Society, Philadelphia Opera Company, and Darlington Arts Center. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Presser Foundation for decades—again, the first woman member—where she worked tirelessly to ensure the survival of myriad arts institutions in this role. She was also a pioneer for women in business and philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. Edith was known for finding time to mentor young professionals in their artistic, philanthropic, and business endeavors. She was a cheerleader, a counselor, and even a dispenser of tough love and reality when needed. Upon leaving Fidelity Bank in 1987, Edith co-founded the firm Hemmenway & Reinhardt, Inc. in Swarthmore, with her friend and business partner, Peter W. Hemmenway, specializing in non-profit planned giving services. In her free time, Edith enjoyed opera, the symphony, and theater, the company of her dear friends, and a good martini. Into her early 80’s, she kept up her family tradition of trips to Atlantic City, traveling there by train almost every weekend. Edith Reinhardt will be remembered for her grace, her generosity, and her indomitable spirit—like a beautiful piece of music sung from the soul. She is survived by the arts community that she nourished and her closest friends – Michael Palage, Diana and Michael Hemmenway. Memorial gifts may be made to the scholarship funds of Darlington Arts Center (https://www.darlingtonarts.org/) or Settlement Music School (https://settlementmusic.org/).


News Release: Next Movement: An Idea Forum

Posted by on Aug 4th, 2020 in News & Updates | 0 comments

The COVID-19 pandemic forced music educating, music performingmusic presenting organizations to a temporary standstill, impacting an unprecedented number of people. The Presser Foundation and American Composers Forum, Philadelphia Chapter co-hosted five Idea Forums and invited colleagues to share thoughts about resilience, creativity, and programming during pandemic.

LINKS TO RECORDED SESSIONS ARE BELOW.

August 12, 2020 session featured representatives from Ars Nova Workshop and Lyric Fest. 

Please click the link below to view the recording via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=720795375152626

Ars Nova Workshop took stock of their assets – themselves, their community and surroundings (Woodlands cemetery in their neighborhood) as they rethought their purpose and content.   The organization pivoted using the beautiful, safe and iconic space as the center of context rich activities (like outside yoga to live music) and aimed to record, present, document and disseminate their performances quickly.  

Lyric Fest used the opportunity to learn new skills in technology and take advantage of a broader reach they didn’t have prior to the pandemic.  Their storytelling through song – Artsong was enhanced with creative visuals that resulted in short song movies which could be recorded and presented at watch parties.

August 13, 2020 session featured representatives from Play On Philly! and Settlement Music School

Please click the link below to view the recording via Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=521953401906582

Play On Philly! was quick to refocus from replication to reimagination in their role of delivering music education and programming that was once centered around one-to-one intense daily instruction.  They included staff, teachers and families in information gathering on needs – instrument tuning, technology, commitment to practice time. Out of these discussions, POP Out of the Box and Virtual Summer emerged. Each 2-month long program provided imaginative, collaborative curriculum, with all stakeholders’ input considered in order to meet the needs of their families and community.  

Settlement Music School approached the pandemic with a focus on partnerships in a time of change by making informed and sensitive decisions. They used values-based responses with a focus on continual learning and a long-term approach to innovation (50/30/20 model). Their priority has been their staff, students and families, with a focus on equity and access.  Prior to the March 13th closure, a plan to go online was in the works and they were able to fairly easily mobilize staff of 170, create 20-person tech team, pick Skype for business for staff and families as a platform in a matter of days.  Communicate and often was their basic tenet and they were on an evolution to revolution.  Minimizing financial and technology barriers for families, as well as instrument needs (help from Jacobs Music), communicating and engaging with partners and colleagues was key.  Finding allies and resources (webinars and FB groups) who are also invested in the cause were some silver linings.   Collaboration has been essential and creativeness and responsiveness embedded in all they do.

August 14, 2020 session featured representatives from Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia and OperaDelaware

Please click the link below to view the recording via Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=521953401906582

Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia 147th season, 112-person symphonic chorus with typical season of 3-4 concerts and 1-2 contracted performances had to pivot and consider when they could sing in person again.   Using core values like taking risks, respecting audiences, and powerful communal experiences, they developed 5 goals for the season.  With those in mind, MCC developed a season for in-person and if not.  The virtual season will include 3 virtual chorus projects, with some new commissions, 4 Big Sings, 5 Dialogues with Dominic discussions with composers as well as some member only programs like vocal check ins online, sing-a-longs and Mendel U education with deep dives into works.  If a vaccine is available and they are able to pivot back to in-person, they will be ready.  For now, the season’s goal is for community connection, building and engagement.  

OperaDelaware was heading into their 75th anniversary season and 2 weeks shy of hosting the start of their festival. There was much emotion after a successful previous and validation putting Wilmington on the map for opera in the region.  A simple act helped establish a toe hold back in the arts world and gave them hope.  One challenging task of sending an archival video led to thinking in terms of “what could we do” instead of “what we could not.”  Curbside pick-up of festival t-shirts with singing in the parking lot, led to Drive Through Arias that gave the artists purpose.  Alfresco Arias arose attracting new patrons allowing them to use using their outside space safely. They brought opera to the medical community at local hospitals and retirement facilities with the GrubHub of Opera – Pop-Up Opera – which also brought joy and hope to so many who have not been able to experience the art in some time.  All of this was a source of purpose and joy for those involved and the payoff off of the efforts was worth every ounce of sweat.  They hope to continue into the fall.   

August 19, 2020 session featured representatives from PYO Music Institute  and Wilmington Children’s Chorus

Please click the link below to view the recording via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/acfphiladelphia/videos/743985196444939/

PYO Music Institute took on the daunting task of delivering music education virtually with no existing platform prior to the pandemic.  They found a lot of positives during times of struggle – small Zoom classes, teaching artists communicating more with students and families, and the creation of a technology hotline and how-to videos. Technology donations were received to help students. Master classes were presented on Zoom and access was given to alumni.  All of their efforts culminated in a 90-minute online Festival celebrating and properly closing the season. 

Wilmington Children’s Chorus is the only tuition free children’s chorus in the nation and has a mission to empower young people through their values of access, excellence, diversity and inclusion.  They foster these values, in their musical family, in all they do.  During the pandemic, they focused time on gathering research for safer group singing in order to keep their “family” safe.  Masking, distance, time limits, ventilation and hygiene all working together is best practice, but no “one size fits all” solution.  With safety in mind, but never a 0% chance of contracting COVID 19, they planned to move through readiness stages of prerecorded, “live” virtual, hybrid and in-person singing.  They hosted discussion forums along the way to understand each stage and the impact on programs.

August 21, 2020 session featured representatives from Tempesta di Mare and The Philadelphia Orchestra

Please click the link below to view the recording via Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/acfphiladelphia/videos/651090152168417/

Tempesta di Mare walked away from a trip of performances in Germany in early March and had to scramble to put together a 2020-21 Season with no virtual programming experience.  Since they did have a great video of their rehearsal before their trip, the first project was a Watch Party.  Since they were unhappy with the sound quality of the recording, they researched and found Vimeo.  They had a large amount of content that was on brand and that they wanted to share.  They realized virtual delivery was a wonderful connector, that broadened their reach and built on from their core audience. They created the Tempesta Talks series with archived material to bring people inside the music and process for active listening.  There is still much learning to be had, but results and feedback have been positive.  

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s  last in-person concert was recorded on March 12th and they have been on a journey to define the future as society is being reshaped.  They examined their priorities as an organization and their financial circumstances and realized the incredible force to keep moving forward and the power of working together.  It is from this place that The Virtual Philadelphia Orchestra was born.  Watch, listen and learn were the themes of their creative new programs.  LEARN reaches thousands of young musicians with online instruction.  Hear NOW at home gala provided the healing power of music delivered to hospitals for patients and caregivers. Hear TOGETHER provides a monthly discussion on racial inequality. IDEAS – The Philadelphia Way – is their data driven process for moving ahead with a plan and commitment to confronting crisis.  They launched Our World Now for the 2020-21 Season and the Digital Stage as a beacon to the future.  Taking it a few months at a time, with input from the medical community, the Orchestra is adjusting as needed to have most impact.  

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