Today is #GivingTuesday

December 3rd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

The days after Thanksgiving have become synonymous with the pursuit of bargains. From “Black Friday” to “Cyber Monday,” retailers try to pull us away from the intended purpose of the holiday season. This year, the HSO is joining a group of charitable and socially conscious organizations that would live to encourage you to give thanks and give back this Thanksgiving.

Today is “Giving Tuesday.”

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In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we hope you will show your thanks by giving back to the charitable organizations that make this community thrive. Please consider making a gift to the Hartford Symphony Orchestra today.

Your gift makes it possible for us to bring the highest level of artistry to Connecticut.

From the concert hall to the classroom, the HSO enhances the lives of young people from throughout Connecticut through our educational and communityengagement programs.

The HSO has been bringing the joy of music to the region for 70 years. We invite you to help us keep the momentum going and create harmony in Hartford for years to come.

Our music would not be possible without your generous support. Please give generously and join us in celebrating 70 seasons of artistry, community, harmony and symphony.

Make your gift by December 31 to take advantage of potential tax savings!

Three easy ways to give:
Donate Now online
• Call 860-246-8742, ext. 326, Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm
• Mail to: 100 Pearl Street, 2nd Floor, East Tower. Hartford, CT 06103

A contribution to the HSO’s Annual Fund is an investment in our community and the music you love.

“I want to play all the instruments you have…”

December 29th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

With the end of 2012, we wanted to share a few of our favorite thank you notes from students in our community. Our Education & Community Outreach programs reach tens of thousands of students in the Hartford region, and like everything we do at the HSO, it would not be possible without support from our friends like you.

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So, our thanks to YOU, our subscribers, concert attendees, donors and advocates.

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If you’d like to make an end-of-year gift to the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, you can do so securely online. Your gift will give us the resources to continue bringing music to everyone in our community, including our friend who writes below, “When I grow up, I want to play all the instruments you have.” That’s the kind of enthusiasm we like to see!

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Happy New Year!

An Orchestra’s Role in Arts Education

September 12th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

In the summer of 2010, Congress passed a resolution designating the second week of September as National Arts in Education Week.  So, to all of us, happy National Arts in Education Week!  I hope that you might reflect a bit this week on how you have benefited from arts education as well as how you might support it in your community.

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One of the questions I hear often, and one with which orchestras throughout the world are wrestling, is, “Why us?”  More completely, what role does an orchestra play in providing music education for America’s children?  Many answers abound, ranging from the interest in preserving the great orchestral tradition to the seemingly fear-inspired idea of “If we don’t do it, who will?”  Answers like these have their place, but I would like pose another thought.

In May of 2011, the Arts Education Partnership released a brief document entitled “What School Leaders Can Do to Increase Arts Education.”  The three-prong approach suggests the following:

  1. Establish a School-Wide Commitment to Arts Learning
  2. Create an Arts-Rich Learning Environment
  3. Rethink the Use of Time and Resources

I applaud the AEP for outlining these steps, and I strongly encourage teachers and other educational leaders to transform their schools by increasing arts education.  There is no shortage of evidence to suggest that arts education can impart worthwhile academic, social, and personal benefits to students who experience the arts.

School leaders, from superintendents to classroom teachers and legislators to building principals, can make an impact on the arts education of our children.  Their role is clear.  But what then is the role of the professional orchestra (or theater company, dance troupe, art museum, etc.)?  As suggested earlier, some approach the answer to this question with an almost desperate and martyr-like urgency:

The failure to acknowledge the significant impact orchestras have on young people, and the work they are continuing to do to develop and expand music provision, is disappointing. Engaging with professional orchestras and other arts organisations is a key part of effective music education – one that should be recognised and celebrated.

            — Mark Pemberton, Director, British Association of Orchestras

While Mr. Pemberton’s remarks are true and highlight the importance of orchestras, I propose we think of our role in education as a privilege more than a responsibility.  As professional orchestras, we believe wholeheartedly in the art we create and feel strongly about keeping orchestral music alive.  We have a gift, and it is a privilege to share it with others!  Professional arts organizations, including orchestras, should engage with schools not so much out of a sense of obligation or responsibility, but rather because we have something great to offer that will improve the lives of young people.  And I believe this has implications beyond the arts as well: professional sports teams, professional chefs, successful entrepreneurs, and so on should be engaging with our schools because they have something valuable to offer.  If we look at our interactions with schools as privileges rather than requirements, the answer to the “why” question becomes clear.  As a professional orchestra, we play a role in education because we bring to the table something that strengthens and enlivens the student experience.

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The Hartford Symphony Orchestra is committed to playing an important role in the schools of Greater Hartford.  We do so because we believe we can help to strengthen our schools and enrich the lives of our students.  The HSO wants to be the first to wish all students, teachers, and principals of Greater Hartford a very happy National Arts in Education Week.  It is our privilege to share great music with you.

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