Carl B. & Florence E. King Supports “Take the Extra Step” in Music Education for “at-risk” Dallas Youth

The Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation has awarded a grant to the Dallas Chamber Symphony (DCS) to “Take the Extra Step” and engage the homeless and at-risk youth through music outreach concerts this fall.

In 2016-2017 Dallas Chamber Symphony designed pilot programs for audiences at the Bridge Homeless Recovery Center and Dallas County Juvenile Department’s Medlock Youth Village (DCJD) to engage underserved audiences with classical music and support the community partner’s specific extra-musical

goals, including social and leisure skill acquisition, character development, and relaxation.  Evaluations of these programs indicated objectives were well met, and both facilities requested additional programming.  The private philanthropy of the Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation will allow Dallas Chamber Symphony’s professional musicians to deepen their work individually and through established outreach ensembles at The Bridge and DCJD, facilitating concert production and the required volunteer training (up to 3 hours) to engage and continue work with these audiences.  The award allows the DCS to use future funding to more efficiently schedule additional educational, uplifting, outreach concerts.

According to DCJD Principal Aubrey C. Hooper, the Dallas Chamber Symphony “has opened our students to a whole new world.  For them to be able to see the instruments and to enjoy the professionals play some of the music that they are familiar with, allows them to appreciate music that they hear every day, however, from a different perspective. Music in the movies, commercials, radio, etc., are enjoyed and heard differently now that they have seen and heard music made. They have a better and more comprehensive appreciation for music now.”

“Take the Extra Step” concerts will feature selections of classical, folk, and world music and run from September-November 2017. Audience response at each facility has been resoundingly positive.  Bridge staff noted “I love the outside interaction during our dinner time – thank you!” and “It lets them interact and be positive, there are positive changes after concerts…guests are quieter afterwards, the music calms them down”.

“Take the Extra Step” dovetails with the Dallas Chamber Symphony’s National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program, “Taking it to the Streets.” Earned in partnership with the City of Dallas, “Streets” is engaging Dallas citizens through live music in underused public spaces, making music accessible to all persons regardless of their income, age, or background.  The project also precedes the DCS’ January 20th “Sounds Between” concert and premiere of new work written for the Dallas Chamber Symphony by Dr. Douglas Buchanan to feature the Dallas Street Choir (a commission supported in part by TACA, designed to be easily reprogrammed in similar partnerships with homeless choirs nationwide).  Through these projects and its innovative subscription concerts in the Dallas Arts District, the DCS expects to double its community audience impact in the coming season.

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