2005 MetLife Awardees

Charlotte Symphony

Susan Miville, director of education, outreach, and community partnership

The Mill Community Project, a component of the Charlotte Symphony’s Community Partnership Program, is an audience-development effort that has involved professional development workshops on story collecting, seminars in partnership with the Levine Museum of the New South, and an oral history event. A chief source of inspiration for this project was the orchestra’s principal tuba player, who worked in the area’s mills as a young man. He brought his own experience and the changing conditions of the area’s mills to the attention of the project team, which includes CSO education staff and musicians, a composer, and three community members.

Tehachapi Community Orchestra

Gayel Pitchford, board president

Founded six years ago with no funds and a dozen amateur players, California’s Tehachapi Community Orchestra seeks to provide quality concerts to the entire community regardless of income, with voluntary donations accepted at the door; to give community musicians opportunities to hone their skills; and to present young artists to the public. To remedy the lack of string training in the local public schools and the dearth of string players in the community, TCO founder Gayel Pitchford established a student string orchestra, which she teaches in her studio at no charge. Several of those students now play in the TCO, with each new player seated next to an adult member of the orchestra. Pitchford has expanded her teaching activity to a private school, and has further stimulated the development of local string talent by teaching old-time fiddling techniques. A Tehachapi Performing Arts Center Foundation has been formed to raise funds for construction of a proper venue for the TCO.

Oregon Symphony

Michael Kosmala, vice president for education and community engagement

The Oregon Symphony’s Community Music Partnership was created to bring cultural enrichment to rural communities in the state with populations of 30,000 or less. Partner communities are selected through a competitive application process, and the orchestra’s presence in that community over a two-year period is tailored to the community’s specific needs. Year One of the partnership consists of planning, staff development, multiple musician visits, a full-orchestra community concert, and two full-orchestra youth concerts; in Year Two the orchestra works with the community to refine sustainability plans established at the partner schools. The North Bend School District 13, in collaboration with the Oregon Coast Music Association, was selected as partner for 2004-2006.