Pensacola Opera chosen for Yale Symposium

Pensacola Opera announced today that it has been selected by the Yale School of Music as a participant in the fifth Yale Symposium on Music in Schools, which will take place June 4–7 on the Yale campus. This year’s Symposium will focus on partnerships between professional music organizations and public school music programs. Pensacola Opera’s Education Director, Amanda Cook, and Escambia County School District Music Teacher, Mary Holway, will each receive the Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award for the partnership program From Words to Music, and will attend the Symposium to participate in three days of strategic sessions.

From Words to Music is an in school program offering students in grades K through 8 a unique experience that introduces them to the world of opera, the arts and creative thinking. Through a collaborative process between Pensacola Opera and school teachers, students write, produce and perform an original opera based on a grade level book of their choosing.

From Words to Music was one of just 38 winning partnership programs from across the country. The majority represent urban school districts, but many are from suburban and rural districts. The music organizations include orchestras, jazz, opera, community music schools, and concert presenters. Among the participants are such major organizations as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Jazz Aspen Snowmass, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Cliburn Competition, Astral Artists, and the National Symphony Orchestra.

The biennial event facilitates high-level discussion about the importance of music in young people’s lives. “Our hope for this Symposium,” said Michael Yaffe, Associate Dean of YSM and the director of the event, “is to highlight the numerous ways that school districts and professional musicians leverage their strengths to create sustainable partnerships, and to create an ongoing network for these partnerships to communicate.”

This year’s Symposium participants will spend three days in strategic sessions exploring their role in creating quality music activities for school children, and how and why their partnership is such an important way to accomplish these aims. It will also explore the political, philosophical, and practical reasons why partnerships must have clear missions, sustainable models, research capabilities, and connections to the public school curriculum.