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Palm Beach Symphony Earns High Marks on 2020-21 School Year Report Card

July 13, 2021

During the 2020-21 School Year, Palm Beach Symphony delivered nearly 400 musician hours of classroom instruction and performances in education programs that impacted more than 6,900 students.

“Music programs were more important than ever during this school year in which students were coping with the challenges of virtual and hybrid lessons,” said Palm Beach Symphony Director of Education and Orchestra Operations Olga M. Vazquez. “The School District of Palm Beach County was a wonderfully supportive partner as we created new avenues to provide music instruction and virtual programming to students and offer them a creative outlet.”

The Symphony recently completed a residency at Bear Lakes Middle School in West Palm Beach, as one of two residencies offered this year at Title One schools. The majority of Bear Lakes Middle Schools’ student body of 850 students is African American, Haitian, Jamaican and Caribbean and approximately 19% are band students.

Through a hybrid model of in-person and at-home virtual learning, the Symphony provided coaching sessions for seven different instruments: flute, clarinet, saxophone, French horn, trumpet, low brass and percussion. In addition to music instruction, musicians also shared their experiences and served as positive role models at a time in the students’ lives when they are beginning to seriously consider their future careers.

The Symphony also donated instruments to the school from among the more than 65 instruments it donated this school year, which would have cost more than $96,000 if purchased by the students or music programs. The Symphony accepts donations of professional or amateur quality band and orchestral instruments and, after ensuring the instruments meet performance standards, the instruments and all appropriate accessories such as bows and reeds are donated to underserved students or school music programs in Palm Beach County.

The Symphony’s production of One Small Step, which incorporates science concepts as it takes students on Apollo 11’s trip to the moon, was seen as a virtual field trip by nearly 4,900 students.  Hundreds participated in virtual workshops that extended the concert experience by engaging  students in learning about conceptual ideas across art forms such as beat, movement, gravity, rotation, revolution, and orbit.

This school year, Palm Beach Symphony presented virtual in-school concerts to more than 1,600 students in unique lecture demonstrations that provide mentorship, guidance, and inspiration while also helping to develop and foster collaboration, communication, and creativity to better their understanding of their role in a culturally diverse global society.  

The Symphony also served as a resource for secondary music teachers in the School District of Palm Beach County. Prior to the school year, educators had access to four 20-minute professional development videos for strings, percussion, brass, woodwinds on the topic of instrumental music and blended learning. The Symphony also produced two one-hour professional development videos for clarinet and flute offering strategies and best-practices for those whose primary instrument is not flute or clarinet.

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