Symphony orchestras and opera companies engage with communities in ways that are meaningful and unexpected. On June 10, 2018, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association hosted a “Concert for Peace,” a collaboration between the extraordinary congregation of St. Sabina Church led by the charismatic Father Michael Pfleger and the CSOA’s Negaunee Music Institute. The concert featured a selection of new songs created with members of “Purpose Over Pain,” a support group at St. Sabina for families affected by gun violence. Working with composer Josh Fink and artists from the Irene Taylor Trust in the United Kingdom, families wrote songs celebrating and memorializing their loved ones that were then performed by musicians from the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, CSO, Yo-Yo Ma, and vocal soloists Sarah Ponder and Takesha Mishé Kizart at the event. CSO Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprentice Erina Yashima conducted the ensemble.
Henry Hall (1896–1979) was an engineer, world traveler, teacher, aquarist, inventor and philanthropist. An African American, he served as a mentor to Baltimore’s black engineers when there were few opportunities for them in the profession. His community involvement and belief in learning helped shape the Aquarium and its relationship to the city and its students. Hall traveled around the world, observing and collecting aquatic animals. He devoted his entire Mosher Street basement to the care of rare freshwater tropical fish, an alligator, an electric eel and a shark. In 1977, he donated his animals to the future National Aquarium, which opened in 1981. To carry on the late Hall’s dream, the Aquarium established the Henry Hall Endowment Fund in August 1982 to provide free educational opportunities for students who attend Baltimore City Public Schools. Since then, more than $1 million in awards have been provided to these students through Henry Hall Summer Camps. Every summer, more than 200 Baltimore City students are given the opportunity to explore the aquatic natural world through hands-on experiences, making memories that will last a lifetime. This video follows one fund recipient and his group as they explore the seas around Baltimore and shows the extent to which he has been inspired to change the world through the program.
Pacific Northwest Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet offers a Student Scholarship Program for students who want to pursue their passion for ballet. This program is incredibly influential and meaningful to the recipients who, as illustrated in this video, find community, develop their talents, and get to engage with professional ballet dancers that they aspire to be one day. The gift of studying dance and ballet is empowering to PNB’s students, and we are so proud of its initiative to create beautiful moments for aspiring young dancers.