“OrchKids, the program that puts musical instruments into the hands of Baltimore schoolchildren, announced Friday that it is receiving a $1 million gift that will allow it to double the number of students it serves,” writes Mary Carole McCauley in Saturday’s (1/18) Baltimore Sun. “The donation from Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker, announced during a news conference at Baltimore City Hall, will expand participating public schools from five to eight by 2019 and increase enrollment from 750 students to 1,600.… Meyerhoff and Becker made their first donation in 2008 when OrchKids, which is run by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, was just getting off the ground. Their contribution also is the lead gift in a $10 million, five-year fundraising campaign…. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said that at the end of the 2012-2013 school year, 84 percent of the children who had participated in OrchKids for at least three years scored either proficient or advanced on the math portion of a state assessment test, compared with 76 percent of pupils citywide…. BSO music director Marin Alsop … used $100,000 of her own money to found OrchKids” in 2008. Separately, an article in Wednesday’s (1/22) Herald (Glasgow, Scotland) reports that that country’s Sistema Scotland program, which operates several El Sistema-inspired orchestras, has received an additional £100,000 in funding.

Posted January 23, 2014

Pictured: Conductor Marin Alsop leads a rehearsal of Orchkids, practicing with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Photo by Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun