March 15, 2014 DPR

Dr. Mieko H. Di Sano

Together, We Are Music: Programs for Knox Music Institute

The announcement of the naming of the Knox Music Institute on February 22, 2014 brought about a new era in educational programming for Symphony Orchestra Augusta. As a fundamental part of the Symphony’s mission, education has always been a focus. So far the Miller Campaign has reflected on the physical changes it can enact for Augusta- the restoring and renovating of two downtown historic buildings. But brick and mortar means nothing to the community without something with which to fill it. One way in which we can achieve that is through the Knox Music Institute, which will be housed in 710 Broad. It will be a resource for all members of our community regardless of age, background or means. In conversation and collaboration with other arts and youth organizations as well as Georgia Regents University, SOA has begun to develop a suite of educational programs.


Here are two that will be piloted next year: Music & Wellness The Music and Wellness program will be piloted in January 2015 in collaboration with the Augusta VA Medical Center’s Music Therapy Program. SOA will conduct trainings for SOA orchestra members and other interested musicians in the community, teaching them to deliver relevant and meaningful classical music performances in therapeutic settings. Trained musicians will conduct performances at the Augusta VA Medical Center to support patients in their recovery and we look forward to eventually serving every hospital in the County.

The second program, ROAR, which stands for Responsibility, Orchestra, Achievement and Revolution is inspired by El Sistema-the renowned Venezuelan music and social development initiative now being broadly replicated worldwide-ROAR aims to transform the lives of economically disadvantaged children through participation in orchestral programs in order to end the cycle of poverty. SOA will launch ROAR in spring 2015 as a pilot program in partnership with the Jessye Norman School of the Arts. The pilot will engage 20-30 students in grades 1-2 in afterschool programming-comprising an hour of music instruction followed by supervised time for schoolwork and other structured activities-five days per week. In future years, SOA plans to establish ROAR satellite programs in schools throughout Richmond County with the mission that every child in our county will have the opportunity to be transformed by the act of learning an instrument.ROAR will also include weekly Saturday “super sessions” at the Miller that will bring all participants from around the county and their parents together for rehearsals and related music appreciation programs. These Saturday ROAR sessions may be extended to include adult amateur musicians rehearsing and performing alongside students in intergenerational ensembles. We all look forward to the Miller bustling with creativity and cultural engagement-blind to age, race and wealth-in common enjoyment.

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