Young Philadelphia musicians set to debut in free summer academy’s public concert

Posted on: July 22, 2019

“Twelve-year-old Sonya Dobi has been practicing playing the violin vigilantly since she was in elementary school,” reports Beccah Hendrickson on Friday (7/19) at Philadelphia TV station WPVI. “She now gets to play alongside her heroes from the Philadelphia Orchestra [through] the ‘All-City Orchestra Summer Academy,’ … a new program at the Mann Center that invites kids from the Philadelphia School District to train with professional musicians…. The organizers … decided to make this program free. ‘It costs money to be a musician and not all families that cross that resource barrier,’ said [Naomi Gonzalez, director of education for the Mann Center]. It took a partnership between the Mann Center, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia School District, and the non-profit Project 440 to get all the funding, but because of that, 54 aspiring musicians are taking advantage of the inaugural season. At the end of the two weeks, the kids are going to have a final concert on Sunday, July 28…. They’re hoping at 4,500 seats will be filled.” Says program participant Sonya Dobi, “The fact that they’re teaching us, and they were just like us, gives me hope that I can be in the Philadelphia Orchestra, too.”

Posted July 22, 2019   

In photo: Joseph Conyers conducts a rehearsal of Philadelphia’s new All-City Orchestra Summer Academy. Conyers is assistant principal bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra and executive director and founder of the nonprofit education organization Project 440. The All-City Orchestra Summer Academy is a partnership among the Mann Center, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia School District, and Project 440.