In Friday’s (1/11) South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Faran Fagen writes, “When Collins Elementary School in Dania Beach couldn’t afford to maintain its jazz band three years ago, students and staff were heartbroken. Luckily for Principal Lincoln Pasteur, his school connected with Myra Weaver and her Florida Youth Orchestra’s STEPS (Symphonic Training & Education Program for Students) program, which provides free after-school lessons and instruments to children in need. … ‘The Florida Youth Orchestra came to our rescue and was a lifesaver,’ Pasteur said. ‘Music helps in academics, cognitive ability and life skills. We’ve been extremely pleased with what they’ve been able to do for our students.’ The orchestra, now in its 25th season, recently received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in recognition of the 19-year-old STEPS program, which serves more than 10 Broward schools. … Weaver said the STEPS program builds students’ proficiency, music literacy and personal attributes, such as self-confidence, commitment and responsibility. Many participants develop sufficient proficiency for admission into the county’s magnet performing arts middle schools and the FYO’s orchestral divisions.”

Posted January 11, 2013