American orchestras: making a difference for our communities

Posted on: February 11, 2014

In its February issue, Animating Democracy, a publication of Americans for the Arts that seeks to advance understanding of the social impact of arts-based civic engagement, includes “American Orchestras: Making a Difference for Our Communities,” by Polly Kahn, vice president for learning and leadership development at the League of American Orchestras. Kahn writes, “It is the purpose of this article to paint a picture of American orchestras that have transcended the traditional role of orchestras in community life. Yes, these institutions maintain the core purpose of sharing a great body of musical literature but they are driven simultaneously by a growing sense of connectivity and responsibility to community, along with a desire to engage authentically with an ever-more-diverse populace. They contribute to civil dialogue and healthy communities; make a difference in the education of children; use music to ease suffering; and address the driving issues that confront our communities.” The article reports on numerous “fresh approaches to community involvement both in the musical offerings of orchestras as well as in their in- and after-school work,” as orchestras aim to “increase access and opportunity to all in the community, including those traditionally underserved.”

Posted February 11, 2014