February 2016

February 2016
Super Bowl 50: orchestras in the public eye
Those exuberant kids sporting huge smiles, bright clothes, and even brighter instruments at the Super Bowl half-time show were from Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA). Along with Coldplay, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars, orchestras were front and center at this year’s Super Bowl, as Gustavo Dudamel and YOLA musicians performed for nearly 112 million viewers. Read more and see a video of the performance in this piece by Jeffrey Fleishman in the Los Angeles Times. Then check out this NFL video about YOLA posted in advance of the show.
Kansas City Symphony performs for prison inmates

The audience was rapt, and the music was beautiful, but the stage was unexpected: musicians from the Kansas City Symphony were performing at the Lansing Correctional Facility in Lansing, Kansas. A piece on Kansas City’s KSHB covered the unusual concert. “When you have programs like the symphony or Shakespeare come in here, it kind of reconnects us to the outside world and to something within us. It means everything, it really does,” commented one of the inmates interviewed on camera. Watch the full piece here.
Spotlight on orchestra diversity
Orchestra diversity is in the news: from Fox News Latino’s recent piece on the challenges facing young musicians of color trying to break into the field, to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s look at the teaching and mentoring efforts of an African-American musician in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the media has been examining this issue closely. In the latest issue of Symphony, the League of American Orchestras’ award-winning magazine, five African-American orchestra professionals – musicians, conductor, and administrator – get to the root of diversity in a candid and compelling roundtable discussion with League President and CEO Jesse Rosen.  Read more here about a convening to discuss strategies for increasing musicians from underrepresented communities in orchestras. These strategies will also be explored at the League's 2016 National Conference, The Richness of Difference.
#ESSA and equal access to arts education
Orchestras, in partnership with arts advocates nationwide, have made an impact in Washington: the Every Student Succeeds Act firmly establishes that every child deserves access to a "well-rounded" education – including music and the arts alongside reading and math. Now comes the challenge of ensuring that all children – including those in high-poverty communities -- receive access to arts education. League of American President and CEO Jesse Rosen writes about these developments, and our field's next steps, in "Next Steps in Closing the Gaps in Arts Education in Our Schools," his recent Huffington Post column.  
Changing the world through music
Programs like Yakima Symphony Orchestra’s Yakima Music en Acción (YAMA) meet critical needs in America’s communities. This after-school, music-based social action program in a high-poverty area helps kids achieve. YAMA is one of twenty-two orchestra programs from across the United States to receive Getty Education and Community Investment Grants. Watch a video about YAMA and the people it serves here. Click here for information on the other grant recipients, and the League's $2 million re-granting program, made possible by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.
ARTS Act introduced in the Senate
Orchestras engage artists from across the globe to partner with U.S. musicians in concerts, education programs, and the development of new artistic works. The League is a leading advocate on policies to support international cultural activity, including the February 8th re-introduction of legislation to make the artist visa process more reliable and affordable. The Arts Require Timely Service (ARTS) Act, S. 2510, is sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and would improve opportunities for international cultural activity by ensuring that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processes artist visas on time. Find more here, including how you can ask your Senator to co-sponsor the ARTS Act, and click here for an interview with the League’s Vice President for Advocacy, Heather Noonan, on Chicago’s WBEZ.
Did You Know?
Register now and get the early-bird rate for the League of American Orchestras’ Conference in Baltimore, June 9-11, 2016. This year’s Conference theme is The Richness of Difference. Come gather with orchestra professionals and volunteers to acquire skills, solve problems, and develop your professional network. Visit here to see a listing of sessions, seminars, and events.
Now accepting applications: Essentials of Orchestra Management, the League’s professional development seminar, will be held at the University of Southern California from July 12 to 21. Presented by the League in association with USC's Arts Leadership Program, Essentials is an intensive ten-day boot camp in which top leaders of the orchestra field teach aspiring and early-career orchestra administrators all aspects of orchestra management. Apply here.
Over the past seven years the League's Orchestras Feeding America food drive has seen over 450 orchestras from across the country collect and donate nearly 475,000 pounds of food to people struggling with hunger. The efforts of these orchestras have helped spread the word about how and why orchestras are so necessary to their communities, beyond providing amazing music. The League is now conducting the 2016 Orchestras Feeding America national food drive. And we are asking for your help by participating in this year's effort. Sign up here for the 2016 food drive taking place this March.
Announcing our blueprint for the future: Creativity, Engagement, Impact: The League of American Orchestras' Strategic Plan, 2016-2020. The five-year plan comes at a moment of great possibility in the orchestral field, as orchestras are embracing the opportunities presented by the current environment with vigor and ingenuity. Synthesizing feedback from member orchestras and other stakeholders, including musicians, funders, external partners, and League board and staff, the effort was facilitated by AEA Consulting and led by a strategic planning task force of the League's Board of Directors, chaired by Steven C. Parrish.
Photo Credit
#ESSA and equal access to arts education
Photo Credit: Chris Lee