Recent stories in the media have made the public aware of the value of music education for children, and about local volunteer organizations filling the gap at grade schools that no longer offer music classes.
While we applaud the wonderful work of organizations like the Alum Rock Jazz Program in East San Jose and Music in the Schools in Menlo Park, none of the coverage has mentioned one of the longest-running music outreach programs in the Bay Area – the San Francisco Symphony’s Concerts for Kids.
This annual program brings more than 30,000 schoolchildren from kindergarten through ninth grade to Davies Symphony Hall for special orchestral concerts planned just for children.
The Silicon Valley League of the San Francisco Symphony has been on a mission to bring the San Francisco Symphony closer to home. Its members, all of whom live on the Peninsula, have adopted the Concerts for Kids program as their signature outreach project. For the past 13 years, since the League’s inception, its volunteers have taken more than 3,500 children from underserved areas in Mountain View (where music education just isn’t in the books) to the Symphony’s child-friendly concerts. A cadre of trained League members spend many hours exposing students to the music they will hear. They also raise the funds needed to pay for tickets and bus transportation to the city. On concert day, May 9, League volunteers accompanied them to Davies Symphony Hall.
Not resting on its laurels, the Silicon Valley League introduced a second enrichment program for Mountain View students. More than 80 aspiring young instrumentalists who study with Community School of Music and Arts teachers were selected for a trip to see the San Francisco Symphony’s Youth Orchestra May 18. They were chosen based on their musical growth and participation in the Summer Honor Band and Summer Strings programs. The League purchased concert tickets and provided the transportation to Davies Hall. Volunteers from the League and parents chaperoned the talented youngsters.
As the Silicon Valley League grows, so does its commitment to the Concerts for Kids program and the goal of bringing more children from our communities to see our world-class San Francisco Symphony.
Carol Kaganov serves on the board of the Silicon Valley League of the San Francisco Symphony.