Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra
West Seattle string students perform Side-by-Side with members of the Seattle Youth Symphony. Students in the get extra instruction through an outreach program offered by the SYSO. Their next performance is set for January 26 on Super String Saturday.

'Super String Saturday' coming up for Seattle Youth Symphony Jan. 26

Partnership with Seattle Public Schools enhances musical education

Music will fill the air provided by the Seattle Youth Symphony on Saturday Jan. 26 in a midday concert experience ( 10 a.m.- 1 p.m.) as young violin, viola, cello and bass players from Southwest Seattle schools play on "Super String Saturday at Chief Sealth International High School.

The third annual even will showcase elementary and middle school string players who have been working with professional musicians in a program meant to enhance their musical knowledge. These musician "coaches" lead small group and individualized instruction to deepen the quality of the students' musical skills.

In a press release the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras (SYSO) filled in the details

"SYSO provides the coaches free to the Concord, Roxhill, Sanislo, Arbor Heights, Gatewood, West Seattle and Highland Park elementary schools and Denny International Middle School in the Southwest region of the school district -- an area which historically has had lower participation rates in instrumental music due to economic barriers.

For more than 20 years SYSO has been enhancing public school music education through its SYSO in the Schools Endangered Instruments program. More recently, the organization deepened its partnership with public schools by focusing on schools in Southwest Seattle. The Southwest Seattle String project was initiated in 2008 to provide music coaches to collaboratively teach with Seattle Public Schools' instrumental music teachers during the school day. In the elementary schools, SYSO coaches also offer a free before school lesson each week as well as coaching through the West Seattle Community Orchestra, essentially tripling the lesson time available to students and supplying private lessons completely free of charge. Several foundations and individual donors recognize the value of this program and have generously supported this program. Carla Lewis, President of Washington Women's Foundation - one of the SYSO in the School's major donors -- expresses how the SYSO's efforts fit the foundations mission:

"Washington Women's Foundation is proud to support Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras' SYSO in the Schools program, which provides opportunities for students to receive high quality music instruction regardless of family finances. The program was so appealing to our Grant Committee because it allows many more young people to discover music and build important life skills - like focus, collaboration, self-discipline and confidence."

Additional significant support is provided by The Clowes Fund, Inc., Real Networks Foundation, the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, ArtsWA, Target, Fales Foundation Trust, Eulalie Bloedel Schneider Foundation, D'Addario Music Foundation and Harvest Foundation.

The music that will be heard at Southwest Seattle Super String Saturday is evidence that this partnership with Seattle Public Schools has increased quality of and access to music education, as well as the development of other important life skills. As Carmela Dellino, former Roxhill Elementary principal and current SPS Executive Director for West Seattle Schools explains:

"We are so pleased to have SYSO's continued support of the young string musicians in our Southwest Seattle schools. The free coaching provided by SYSO gives these students access to high quality, individualized music lessons that families in this area might not otherwise be able to afford. When I was principal at Roxhill Elementary, I saw students who, because the SYSO coaches were there to nurture their musical skills, not only persevered in their instrument playing, but brought that same focus to other areas of study. These skills prepare students, even at the elementary level, for college and career."

Southwest Seattle Super String Saturday is also an opportunity for these young musicians to engage in peer-to-peer learning as they play alongside the top-level Youth Symphony, SYSO's flagship orchestra and one of the premier youth orchestras in the United States. Musicians as young as 9 or 10 will sit alongside an accomplished high school student, potentially on his or her way to a professional music career. The excitement generated by these side-by-side concerts is palpable, causing the younger students to aspire to the level of performance and dedication demonstrated by their older peers.

As the musicians play on the stage in the Chief Sealth High School auditorium they will discover that they are part of the historic redevelopment of a robust orchestra program at what - in a few years - will be their high school. Since the program began, orchestra enrollment at Denny International Middle School has increased 300%, necessitating three levels of orchestra classes. The time and resources that SYSO can offer in the early years of music education aligns with Seattle Public Schools' goal of equitable access to arts education K-12, as well as nurtures the future artists and arts audiences of our city.

In addition to the side-by-side concerts, activities will include a parent information session, scholarship information, chamber ensembles, string master classes, an "instrument petting zoo" sponsored by West Seattle Community Orchestras, plus resources and refreshments. For more information about Southwest Seattle Super String Saturday or the SYSO in the Schools program, please contact Kathleen Allen at 206.362.2300.

Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras (SYSO) has a tradition of life-changing excellence and innovation. Founded in 1942, SYSO is the largest youth orchestra organization in the nation, providing direct instruction to over 1,500 students annually through four full orchestras, two summer programs (Marrowstone Music Festival and Marrowstone-in-the-City), and partnerships with local public schools. SYSO's flagship orchestra, the Seattle Youth Symphony, is one of the premiere youth orchestras in the U.S. Made up of the finest young classical musicians in the region, the Seattle Youth Symphony regularly delivers professional-caliber performances filled with the unrivaled energy and passion of youthful artistry. Internationally recognized guest conductors and soloists frequently perform with the orchestra, and members receive regular coaching lessons with distinguished artists from the Seattle Symphony and other regional orchestras and ensembles.

Washington Women's Foundation's mission is to educate and expand the number of women engaged in philanthropy, and to build and strengthen community through individual and large impact grants. The Foundation's members, now more than 500 strong, have invested $12.3 million of their own resources in nonprofit organizations in the last 17 years ($6.3 million in pooled grants; $6.0 million in individual grants). Membership is open to all women interested in philanthropy.

The Clowes Fund, Inc. is a family foundation established in 1952, in Indianapolis, Indiana; which makes grants in Indianapolis; Seattle, Washington; and northern New England to support human services, education and the arts.

Who: Young string musicians of Concord, Roxhill, Sanislo, Arbor Heights, Gatewood, West Seattle and Highland Park elementary schools and Denny International Middle School and SYSO's Youth Symphony Orchestra.
What: Performances by the Seattle Youth Symphony, SYSO Scholarship Chamber Ensembles, Southwest Seattle string students, and resources and activities for families and the community.
When: Saturday, January 26 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Where: Chief Sealth International High School Auditorium 2600 Thistle Street, Seattle WA.
Price: Free Ticket Purchasing: No tickets necessary, free community event

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