Dallas Symphony Orchestra announced new programs and residencies in Southern Dallas. Utilizing its resources including DSO musicians, staff members, chorus members, various concert services and educational resources, the DSO implements a multi-faceted program. Co-designed with community organizations, educators, local artists, city officials, and local cultural community and leaders, the initiative is funded in part by support from Capital One and The Eugene McDermott Foundation.
“Greater access to the arts in all parts of our city is important in maintaining a healthy arts ecosystem and a key component of our long-term Dallas Cultural Plan strategy,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. “I am excited about this collaboration between the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and various community partners to expand music programs for children and artist residencies in Southern Dallas. The Dallas Symphony has long been a key partner in elevating Dallas’s artistic profile, but its involvement in the community is equally remarkable.”
DSO will provide instruments and instruction to children in area schools and in after-school programs; DSO musicians will perform community concerts on weekends and evenings; and DSO musicians will collaborate with artists in the community.
Series Of Events Introduce Children To Musical Instruments
The program kicks off with events that introduce children to the instruments of the orchestra. These events allow them to try the instruments, and sign up for instruction.
December 1 – afternoon – Southwest Center Mall (formerly Red Bird Mall), 3662 W Camp Wisdom Rd C1076, Dallas, TX 75237 (Instrument playground + Symphony Yes! + Young Strings).
December 6 – evening – Martin Luther King Recreation Center, 2901 Pennsylvania, Building E, Dallas, TX 75215 (Instrument playground + quartet).
December 8 – Winter Faire and Market (Hosted by Shakespeare Dallas and Little D Markets), Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre, 1500 Tenison Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75223 (quartet performance).
December 15 and 22 – Highland Hills Library, 6200 Bonnie View Rd, Dallas, TX 75241 (Instrument playground + Symphony Yes! + Young Strings).
South Dallas Cultural Center will also host a sign-up event in January, 2019.
“This is the first time that a music program of this magnitude has been implemented in Southern Dallas, and I am very excited about it,” said Kim Noltemy, President and CEO of the Dallas Symphony Association. “The ultimate goal is for every child in Southern Dallas to have access to an instrument, lessons and performances free of charge. This deep and long-term engagement of both education and concert-making will build relationships in the community to get everyone excited about music and the new opportunities that music can provide.”
DSO Provides Instruments, Holds Instrument Drives
DSO will provide hundreds of instruments to students by June 2019. Instrument drives will be held around Dallas, and the DSO is appreciative of donations of instruments for the residency.In partnership with organizations including Big Thought, the DSO will offer music programs and lessons multiple times per week as part of school and/or existing after-school programs at no charge to families. Educational partners will assist the DSO in developing curriculum and training teaching artists for the residency. In addition to providing instructors, DSO will facilitate opportunities for ensemble playing across the area as children become proficient.
Mentorship programs, demonstrations and connections to behind-the-scenes components of the orchestra business will be offered. They include stage management, lighting and sound crew, marketing, IT and more. Student musicians will be identified to work with DSO chamber groups for concert preparation, soloing opportunities and performances at the Meyerson. Looking long-term, this program will expand to accredited Pre-Kindergarten programs in Southern Dallas. Starting in 2020, they will provide weekly or twice weekly early music education for children from 3-5 years old. Partners who will participate in these programs include Dallas Metroplex Musicians Association and Verdigris Ensemble.
In addition, DSO will work with social services organizations Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star Texas and CASA to engage the children and their families along with mentors and advocates with music and musical opportunities.Engaging with the entire community is key to the success of this program. The DSO has performed Parks Concerts in the City of Dallas for decades, but now the organization is committing to two Parks Concerts taking place in Southern Dallas in strategic locations that will help build enthusiasm for the program in totality.
Annual Concert Returns To Paul Quinn College
The annual concert at Paul Quinn College will continue, and subsets of the orchestra will perform at various additional locations in the area each year. As part of the performances, local musicians and organizations will join the DSO to create a community festival surrounding each event. As part of the DSO on the GO Series, the organization will work with local artists to create a themed concert with input from the community.
“Orchestras have participated in outreach to their communities, but real change comes from a multi-year, deep engagement on a number of levels,” said Noltemy. “This approach uses music as a way to open the doors to communication and conversation.”
Community concerts presented as part of this initiative will facilitate large-scale collaborations with local musicians and artists. These can be mixed-genre concerts, concerts that feature visual arts and dance, new commissions, side-by-side concerts with student musicians participating with professional musicians, a neighborhood-wide choral event and more. Local artists will become partners in this program and help the DSO create meaningful and authentic concerts and experiences to connect residents in Southern Dallas with DSO musicians and staff.