A few weeks ago Carson Middle School in the North Allegheny School District canceled its spring orchestra concert because of an outbreak of swine flu there. Many of the kids were crushed because they worked all spring on the program and couldn't perform it. That was, until the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra stepped in to help.
Asked by a PSOer whose child is in the middle school, the PSO offered the students a great opportunity to perform in the Heinz Hall lobby. Anne Funk, the orchestra director, jumped at the idea. Though the entire orchestra couldn't fit, the Carson Chamber Orchestra (the honors string orchestra taken from the orchestra) will play in the Grand Lobby at 7:15 p.m. Friday, June 19, before the Pops concert.
"We are pleased to have the Carson Middle School Chamber Orchestra give a pre-concert performance," said PSO spokesman Jim Barthen. "We are always happy to assist students by allowing them to perform at Heinz Hall and get the experience of playing in front of our patrons."
This is a great example of what the PSO can do and does for the community beyond playing great concerts. Its upcoming Community Partners concert that dispurses ticket money to local non-profits, is another great example. It is something I wrote about when we named the orchestra musicians the No. 1 in our Top 50 arts power groups a few years ago.
BTW, some of these students might someday be on stages like the main Heinz Hall auditorium's, based on what they are doing there. Funk received a 2009 Citation of Excellence from the Pennsylvania Music Educator's Association and the North Allegheny school district was just designated as one of 2009's best communities for music education by the NAMM Foundation