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Mayor’s ‘Arts in Parks’ Brings Louisville Orchestra into Community Centers

Wednesday January 10, 2007

New Initiative Includes Three Free Valentine’s Concerts

A new partnership between Metro Parks and the Louisville Orchestra is bringing free chamber music concerts and music appreciation programs to several locations throughout the community this winter.  The Mayor’s Arts in Parks program began January 10 at Douglass Community Center, where 75 children from several community centers and outreach sites enjoyed performances by a soloist and a woodwind trio from the Orchestra, along with a welcome from Metro Parks Director Mike Heitz.

The educational component of the program, MetroMUSIC – which is designed for 100 children ages 10-15 – takes place over five weeks in February and March at Southwick Community Center, 3621 Southern Avenue, and Douglass Community Center, 2305 Douglass Boulevard.  Each week, musicians and educators from the Orchestra will offer free hands-on lessons designed to teach the basic elements of music, using percussion instruments, group activities and artistic movement.  At the end of the five week program, students will conduct a special performance, using music and stories to demonstrate what they’ve learned.

Students for this new program were drawn from several Metro Parks community centers, along with participants in after-school programs at Myers Middle School and participants from Metro Parks Adapted Leisure Activities, which serves citizens of all ages with mental and physical disabilities.  MetroMUSIC participants will also be able to attend the Orchestra’s Martin Luther King Celebration Concert at the Kentucky Center at no charge on January 14.

"The arts expand the horizons of our young people in so many ways, and we are creating the opportunity to bring music fundamentals to young people in a casual and informal environment," Mayor Jerry Abramson said. "We're using this new partnership between the Louisville Orchestra and Metro Parks as a pilot program, and we'll be looking to bring additional free concerts and music education programs to more children in more neighborhoods next year.”

The second component of the Mayor’s Arts in Parks initiative is a chamber music series during the week of Valentine’s Day.  Using the theme of “Love Songs Through the Ages,” chamber groups from the Louisville Orchestra will perform three free public concerts:

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Louisville Metro Parks on the new MetroMUSIC program that will bring a hands-on experience with music to community centers,” said Deborah Moore, director of education for the Louisville Orchestra.  “The Orchestra is focusing many efforts on a new community engagement plan and our goal is to be more active in the community, bringing instrumental music into the daily lives of community members.  The residency will begin with a performance by our Orchestra chamber groups and end with a performance by the residency participants.  This is the first project the Orchestra is engaging in that focuses not only on the music we make, but on having students make music themselves.  We will be integrating music with poetry and words all around the theme of ‘What We Dream.’”