Contributed by the Abilene Philharmonic
Helping every demographic and generation of the community have access to music has been a pillar of the Abilene Philharmonic Association since its inception. That effort was taken to a new level this past summer with the launch of the Academy of Music.
The announcement of the Academy of Music comes in partnership with another announcement over the summer from the Philharmonic, a relocation of offices to the first floor of The Wooten in downtown Abilene. This move was the last step needed to make the Academy of Music possible. The extra space will allow the organization to offer a number of different programs related to the Philharmonic’s work in the community.
This type of program doesn’t occur overnight but is a product of numerous volunteers, board members with a clear vision, and the help of an anonymous gift of $180,000. All of these factors have cultivated the idea of the academy into reality. The Academy of Music will focus on giving children and families musical education they might not otherwise have access to. State Rep. Stan Lambert spoke highly of the new academy.
“By launching into such a grand program, the APA will provide positive economic growth, better equip our youth for the workforce and enrich our community,” he said. “Special kudos to those whose generous gifts are making this a reality.”
The Abilene Philharmonic is looking forward to bridging these gaps that will allow children the experience of music and creativity. Professional musicians of the APA and guest artists will be working with the youth to empower them to find their creative passion in music and the arts. With the use of technology, the Philharmonic will offer live-streamed performances of world class concerts, video conferenced masterclasses and free community concerts.
Programs offered within the Academy of Music:
*New Program* The Abilene Youth Orchestra
The AYO is a new educational program that will allow young musicians an opportunity to perform with a full symphonic orchestra including strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion.
Instrument Petting Zoo
The second weekend each June, the Philharmonic collaborates with the Children’s Art & Literacy Festival to provide musicians to assist more than 1,000 children in experiencing various string and brass instruments. Children touch, play, and listen to all kinds of instruments, and hopefully spark their interest for further discovery!
Discover Music Concert Series
This series has been an integral part of the APA since 1955. This year, more than 5,500 students in third through fifth grades took a pre- and post-concert test to gauge effectiveness and found an increase in average test score by 22 percent. This series is essential for musical education for the children in our area.
Nelda Hodges Young Artist Competition
This competition awards music education scholarships to the most talented and driven music students in our region.
The Philharmonic wants every guest artist to be known and loved by our community. Masterclasses allow the artist to work with local aspiring musicians, and to demonstrate more of their skill. During these masterclasses, students are able to hear guest artists demonstrate their instrument, ask questions, and also perform in front of them for critique.
Local students have the opportunity to sit beside artists in a professional symphony orchestra and receive a brief glimpse into the atmosphere of a professional musician.
Philharmonic musicians lead sectionals with students that cover technique, intonation, ensemble balance, and overall musical themes. These coaching sectionals are very beneficial to students as it provides individual attention to each student’s needs and also sometimes presents a different perspective.
Philharmonic musicians use their time to benefit the community with free performances throughout the year.
Every year the Philharmonic makes it a priority to reach a broad section of the community to experience inspiring entertainment by providing free tickets to those who might not be able to attend otherwise. This past year, 355 tickets were provided to people throughout the community.