April 14, 2020
Good afternoon, my dear friends. I hope you and your family are all well.
Since my last correspondence to the organization sent on March 31, 2020, the intervening weeks have been very busy for all the faculty and staff in the PYO organization. We continue to work on creating programming and set up platforms to connect with our students. We are managing the challenges that technology presents when applying to large ensemble rehearsals and group engagement. We are working diligently to adopt the technology and continue to research the best practices others are using to better connect with our ensemble programs.
All Directors are in communication with their respective ensemble division. We have launched web-based sectional coachings and instruction in PRYSM and will launch similar classes this coming weekend in PYMO and PYAO. Bravo Brass and PYO will launch sectional master classes in the next two weeks. The goal for all the ensemble program divisions is to prepare, record, assemble, and present a virtual performance, respectively. In addition, Tune Up Philly continues to provide web-based programming to its students and our dedicated teaching artist staff continue to find creative ways to engage TUP students. TUP is also working on a year-end project bringing together our students and showcasing all of the good work they’ve completed throughout the year. More information will be forthcoming as we finalize all these plans.
While we are unsure what the summer months will bring, we continue to explore opportunities for summer programming. I have had discussions with our friends at the Mann Music Center, School District of Philadelphia, and Settlement Music School. I intend to reach out to other community partners to ascertain what is possible and work to bring together the resources of many of our region’s most distinguished community music and education providers. We have sent a survey to all students to ascertain their availability and desire to engage in summer activity. If you’ve not completed the survey, please do so today. https://forms.gle/eCXTbboSjpNayJNw5
Auditions for PYO’s 81st Anniversary Season, 2020 – 2021, will most likely be done online. We are developing the web-based platform through which students will submit their pre-recorded auditions. We expect to make a final decision about this by the end of this week and more information will be forthcoming. Audition requirements will not change (scales, solo piece, orchestral excerpts). It is recommended that students begin working on the orchestral excerpts immediately and pay attention to their work on scales. Excerpts and other general information about auditions can be found here.
We continue to want to hear from you and what you are doing during this time of social distancing. We want to connect those in the PYO family with one another, as well as connect with our community. Please consider sharing your stories and there are three ways to share your graphics, photos, and videos with us: 1. Tag @PYOMusic in your own social media posts. 2. Send the files to us in a direct message. 3. Write us an email at email@example.com. We will share our favorite content across our social media accounts. If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Eric Oatts, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week, I sent a Passover and Easter holiday message to the entire PYO family and all our friends. I’d like to reiterate a section here. I shared that many years ago my mother gave to me a small framed placard that to this day I reference often in her memory. It reads: Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything. It is the essence of order and lends to all that is good, just, and beautiful. These words were written by Plato. Music is and will always be the universal language with which we can use to unite ourselves to lift the spirit, quell sadness, and encourage the mind and imagination to continue to take flight and find all that is good, just, and beautiful. As you continue to engage in social distancing, how are you encouraging your mind and imagination to take flight through your music studies?
The next update I will send to the PYO organization will be April 28, 2020. By then, we should have more information about potential summer programming as our country and our communities look to get back on track. As you continue to receive correspondence from the PYO office asking for information, please reply timely. So much of what we are developing is dependent and contingent on your ongoing participation and communication. I continue to believe that if we all work together, we will emerge stronger as individuals and as a society.
In the interim, stay safe and healthy, keep in touch and share your stories, stay motivated, continue to develop your mind and imagination, and keep practicing!
With all best regards,
President & Music Director
Philadelphia Youth Orchestra
March 31, 2020
Good morning, my dear friends. I hope you and your family are all well. I and the program directors and faculty miss you all and we miss our respective time together. We all look forward to the day we can reassemble and make music together.
While we have suspended our in-person ensemble rehearsals and concerts for the near-term, we will continue to explore, develop, and implement programming for our students. Since my last correspondence to the organization sent on March 13, 2020, the intervening weeks have been very busy for all the faculty and staff in the PYO organization. We are working to create programming and set up platforms to connect with all our families while we are on this imposed recess. While there is the technology that connects us even as we are sequestered in our homes, this technology is not entirely conducive to large ensemble rehearsals and group engagement. We are working diligently to adopt the technology and research the best practices others are using to better connect with our ensemble programs. We did launch a pilot program last Friday evening with PRYSM, and it seemed to work well. We are continuing to develop the means to connect with all our students and to continue your work in each of your respective ensembles.
I’ll be sharing more information with you in the coming weeks about plans we are developing for each program division. The program directors will be communicating with their respective ensembles with information and direction about what they would like for you to do. We are working on programming that would allow us to bring our efforts together virtually. We are developing our ideas and investing in the technology needed. If you have ideas, please share them with me, your ensemble director, and Mr. Oatts. Every idea is worth consideration! I know there are many of your who are very tech savvy. If you have any ideas or can assist with coordinating the technology, please let me and Mr. Oatts know. Your respective directors will let you know about the repertoire they would like for you to focus and work on.
Plans are also being considered for summer opportunities as well. We will be issuing a survey asking for you to share with us your current summer plans. I suspect that many families will remain local. If we have enough students in each ensemble division who remain home over the summer, then we could consider holding rehearsals with a culminating event during the summer months. The directors and I have had preliminary conversations about this. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks!
We also want to hear from you and what you are doing during this time of social distancing. You all lead very interesting lives and have a great many talents. We want to connect those in the PYO family with one another, as well as connect with our community. Your stories provide inspiration as you continue your journey to become tomorrow’s leaders. Here is what you can do.
- How has music helped you through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as a #PYOMusic member? We want to hear from you! There are three ways to share your graphics, photos, and videos with us: 1. Tag @PYOMusic in your own social media posts. 2. Send the files to us in a direct message. 3. Write us an email at email@example.com. We will share our favorite content across our social media accounts. If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Eric Oatts, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also want to hear from your teachers. Please share the following information with them.
- Music teachers, we want to know: How have you been able to connect with your music students despite the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? We are challenging music educators to find creative ways to keep music students engaged remotely. There are three ways you can share your graphics, photos, and videos with us: 1. Tag @PYOMusic in your own social media posts. 2. Send the files to us in a direct message. 3. Write us an email at email@example.com. We will share our favorite posts on social media with our #PYOMusic community! If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Eric Oatts, Administrative Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, please nominate your music teachers for PYO’s Ovation Award. Please share this information with your music friends. The stories shared through the nominating process are always so heartwarming and inspiring. We will extend the deadline for submission to April 7th for our PYO family students.
This past Saturday, I wrote to my students in PYO the following message that I would like to share with all of you. I encourage you all to continue to motivate yourself and motivate others through your work in music. The disciplines and skill sets learned through music will help you manage the next several weeks and help you provide leadership to your family, your friends, and your community as we all manage under difficult circumstances. True leadership emerges in times of hardship and crisis. This is when leadership is put to the test. What are you doing to provide leadership to your family and to your community? Please do not forget that we all have a responsibility and obligation to one another to get through this crisis together. What you do and how you do it will make an indelible impact on so many and in many ways you will never know. I encourage you to do your part to help all those around you and affected by you. Together we will emerge stronger as a family, community, and nation.
The next update I will send to the PYO organization will be April 14, 2020. By then, we should have a better idea of what we may be able to do over the summer months to make up in some way the time lost during our implementing social distancing. If you receive correspondence from the PYO office asking for information, please reply timely. So much of what we are developing is dependent and contingent on your ongoing participation and communication. We are all in this together. I firmly believe that if we all work together we will emerge stronger as individuals and as a society.
In the interim, stay safe and healthy, keep in touch and share your stories, stay motivated, continue to develop your leadership skills, and keep practicing!
With all best regards,
President & Music Director
Philadelphia Youth Orchestra
March 12, 2020
To the entire PYO family and all our friends:
I hope you and your families are all well and taking good care of yourself during the health crisis our nation is facing. I am grateful to report that as of today I have not received any reports of Coronavirus Disease affecting any of our students, families, friends, or patrons.
The Board of Trustees and I have taken several steps to insure the health and safety of the PYO family and our community. The following action steps were implemented on Friday, March 13, 2020.
1. All rehearsals and concerts will be suspended through April 2, 2020. We hope to resume our regular rehearsal schedule on Friday, April 3, 2020 (PRYSM), Saturday, April 4, 2020 (PYO/PYMO/TUP connect), Sunday, April 5, 2020 (PYAO), and Monday, April 6, 2020 (Bravo Brass). We will we reassess this plan by Tuesday, March 31, 2020 and determine if we need to further suspend rehearsals and if so for what additional period of time.
2. Tune Up Philly classes will be monitored directly with each TUP school partner, respectively. As of March 13, all TUP classes are canceled and will resume once our school partners are back in operation.
4. The PYO Gala on Friday, March 27, 2020 will be postponed. We are working to reschedule the Gala for Sunday, June 7, 2020 at The Union League of Philadelphia following PYO’s concert in Verizon Hall that afternoon. More details will be forthcoming.
5. The PYO Tour 2020 to Greece has been canceled. We are working to reschedule the tour for next season, June 2021.
I would like to reiterate that we all here at PYO take the health and well-being of all our students and families seriously. We would like all our PYO families and friends to continue to review all recommended action steps by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health as it relates to disease prevention and management. The more you are able to educate yourself about this disease the more you will be able you to fully protect yourself and your family.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and our entire staff, we would like to thank you for your support of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra organization’s mission and programming. It is because of our students, families, friends, benefactors, and patrons we are able to fulfill our important community mission and continue to train the leaders of tomorrow.
All of us here at PYO look forward to getting back to work providing enriching and rewarding music educational experiences for all our students once this crisis has passed. In the interim, we truly hope you and your family are well and that you all remain in good health.
With all best regards and great appreciation,
President & Music Director
Philadelphia Youth Orchestra