Before watching Treme tomorrow night, tune in to 60 Minutes for a segment on music education programs that includes the BSO's OrchKids initiative. You might recall that BSO Music Director Marin Alsop used funds from her MacArthur "genius grant" to start OrchKids two years ago.
Here's a brief description of the program gleaned from BSO press materials...
OrchKids is a year-round after-school program designed to create social change and nurture promising futures for youth in Baltimore City neighborhoods. Under Music Director Marin Alsop’s artistic leadership and direction, OrchKids is a cornerstone of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s efforts to expand the Orchestra’s relevance within the City’s broad and diverse community. In collaboration with several community partners, OrchKids provides music education, instruments and mentorship at no cost to Baltimore’s neediest youngsters. OrchKids is intended primarily to address the most pervasive social challenges affecting underserved youth, using music to cultivate fundamental life skills such as self-expression, cooperative learning, discipline and creativity. With assistance from The Family League of Baltimore City, the BSO has implemented several assessment tools to track if OrchKids participants are achieving social, academic and musical outcomes.
Now in its second year, OrchKids serves more than 150 pre-K through second grade students at Lockerman Bundy Elementary School in West Baltimore. Under OrchKids Program Manager, Dan Trahey, students receive classroom music instruction during the school day twice weekly and after-school sessions four days a week from 3:30-6 p.m. A typical after-school session begins with a healthy snack and includes classroom music instruction, group instrument lessons and tutoring assistance. OrchKids frequently have the opportunity to take field trips and attend concerts performed by the BSO as well as other cultural events in the region.