Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra

Programming Funded: 2022 Young People’s Concert

Year Funded: 2022

How PSF helped achieve the programming goal:

The Pabst Steinmetz Foundation generous investment in the Young People’s Concerts have supported unforgettable music experiences and invaluable learning opportunities for more than 63,000 third, fourth, and fifth graders. After pivoting to a virtual model in 2021 and 2022 to support music education in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Young People’s Concert (YPC) returned to more than 40 in-person concerts around Central Florida in 2022. For the 2023 YPC, all concerts for Orange and Seminole Counties will be held in the Walt Disney Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Thousands of children will be able to see classical art performances for the first time in state-of-the-art performing venues including Dr. Phillips Center serving Orange and Seminole Counties, School for the Arts in Osceola County, and Peabody Auditorium in Volusia County and two public performances in Steinmetz Hall.

The Pabst Steinmetz Foundation grant allowed the OPO to produce the 2022 OPO’s Young People’s Concerts titled “Game Overture.” Focusing on a video game theme to engage students, the concert introduced an exciting musical story that incorporated history, science, and languages. It was extremely well-received by students and educators alike with many reporting that this was their favorite year yet.

The YPC was able to continue expansion of the program and serve even more students in-person this year in Osceola County thanks to funding from the Pabst Steinmetz Foundation. This year, thanks to your funding, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra was able to add 4th grade students from Seminole County. After seeing the joy and success of the program with their 4th grade students, Seminole County school board has increased their funding for the 2023 YPC and committed to two full days of performances for their students in Steinmetz Hall.

“For several reasons many of my students will never experience a live orchestra concert without this opportunity provided by the district. Events like this could really shape a student’s life, and interests. After seeing the show, they may want to sing more, dance more, or learn to play instrument.”

“My school receives Title I funding – many of our families would not be able to provide this experience for their children due to financial or time constraints. This gives them the experience of seeing professional musicians live in a beautiful performance hall, which they are still talking about months later. Many students have expressed interest in learning wind or string instruments after seeing this performance, and may not have otherwise had exposure to live orchestral music.”

“My students LOVE classical music as a result of the concert, along with the lessons to prepare and the anticipation of the special event. They have an appreciation and respect for musicians and conductors who work hard to prepare a live performance.”

“They loved the experience of being in the Dr. Phillips Center to see and hear the performance live. The information taught about composers stuck with them better when they could match it with parts of the program and how it went with the story the performers created.”

“Every year the quality of the Young People’s Concert gets higher. They are able to make the theme/story line really interesting for the students. My kids always love the music as well because of the classroom activities we do ahead of time to connect them with the music.”

“The lessons are a great tool to strengthen student skills and give them a fun and engaging music experience. I use the YPC to reference instrument families, composers, and songs.”

“The concert was beautifully executed. The students loved hearing and watching the musicians perform and this will be an experience they remember throughout their lives.”

Comment from volunteer Craig Luongo:

I have personally volunteered at OPO’s Young People’s Concerts (YPC) for the last eight years. The YPC is a 45 minute full orchestra concert with music selected for a particular theme, and featuring a narrator, singers from Opera Orlando and dancers from Orlando Ballet. Each year more than 60,000 children attend these entertaining and educational concerts. This includes 3rd, 4th and 5th graders in Orange and 5th graders in Osceola, Volusia, and Seminole counties. During the pandemic, virtual performances for two years were recorded and provided to the schools for use in the classroom.

Each year teachers create about ten separate lessons plans to allow detailed instruction that occurs in classrooms prior to attendance. These focus on the music to be heard and expand on the concepts that will be introduced in the YPC. When the children and their teachers arrive at the concert hall, they are prepared for a musical experience. What most do not expect is the fast-paced, exciting and entertaining way the music is presented. Often the narrator, conductor and children in the audience participate in a three-way interchange between pieces.

Personally, I enjoy the reaction of awe and anticipation in the faces of the children leaving their buses and walking into the lobby of their concert hall. Many have never been in such a place before. When they are seated and the lights are dimmed, they find that a YPC is 45 minutes of entertainment, education, and excitement. As the students leave, they are energized and talk about wanting to hear more of this music. The YPC is one of those unique experiences that provides focused education in a highly entertaining manner.