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October 24, 2011

Baltimore Symphony's OrchKids program expands to third school

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's nationally recognized educational outreach project, OrchKids, is expanding to a third location, Mary Winterling Elementary School.

The pre-K through 5th-grade public school is in the Lexington neighborhood, close to the largest OrchKids operation at Lockerman Bundy Elementary School.

"We're trying to create a linked neighborhood and create an OrchKids campus in West Baltimore," said Dan Trahey, OrchKids director of artistic program development.

"Mary Winterling and Lockerman Bundy are very near to each other. There are some things that Mary Winterling has that are going to be great for the program, like a 500-seat theater and a place where it would be easier to hold outdoor concerts.

"My dream is ...

to create a musical yellow brick road, maybe painted with musical notes, that connects the two schools," Trahey added. "For people in the neighborhood to see kids with their instruments walking between the schools would be so great."

With Winterling joining Lockerman Bundy and New Song Academy (about a half mile from the other two), there will be more than 350 children taking part in OrchKids programs during the 2011-2012 school year. OrchKids is scheduled to expand to an East Baltimore school in the Highlandtown neighborhood in January.

OrchKids, launched three years ago with seed money by BSO music director Marin Alsop, provides music education programs during and after the regular school day at no charge to the participants. Instruction on a variety of instruments is included, along with group lessons and tutoring. Meals are served during the after-school sessions.

Based on a much-heralded national education program in Venezuela called El sistema, OrchKids aims to provide enhanced opportunities, musical and otherwise, for disadvantaged children.

In a statement released Monday, Winterling Elementary School principal Nikia Carter said: "I anticipate the positive impact that OrchKids will have on the students and families ... Music is an invaluable tool for teaching skills that extend beyond the classroom, such as discipline, confidence and cooperation with peers. I eagerly look forward to watching my students grow both as musicians and as thriving individuals." "

Trahey said that 100 pre-K and kindergarten students at the Winterling school will be taking part in OrchKids this first year. "We like to start with younger kids and build up," he said. "Starting next year, the kids will be moving back and forth between Mary Winterling and Lockerman Bundy for classes."

The Frederick-based company Music & Arts, which sells, rents an repairs musical instruments, has committed $90,000 in instruments and other supplies for OrchKids over the next three years. Music & Arts is also providing an instrument repair credit of $5,000.


Posted by Tim Smith at 12:22 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: BSO, Clef Notes, Marin Alsop


I truly support the Arts because it creates intelligent children. Before my daughter was the Sun Athlete of the Year she dabbled in music playing an instrument and attend the Baltimore School for the Arts TWIGS program. Funny none of her friends went to BSA (wanted to play sports or pursue math/science careers) but all these young ladies make B more proud being 2011 college grads!!!!


Love the yellow brick road idea, that would be so awesome! Glad to see musical developments in the schools when so many are cutting the budgets.

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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