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 ...
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.
PHOTO BY BILL DENNISON