OrchKids is a year-round, during and after school, music program designed to create social change and nurture promising futures for youth in Baltimore City neighborhoods. Under Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director/OrchKids Founding Director, Marin Alsop’s artistic leadership and direction, OrchKids is the cornerstone of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s community engagement efforts across the city. Founded in 2008 with 30 students at one elementary school – with seed funding from Marin Alsop and Founding Donors Rheda Becker and Robert E. Meyerhoff.
OrchKids now works with six public schools in Baltimore City, serving over 1,200 children from Pre-K through 11th grade.
In collaboration with several community partners, including Baltimore City Public Schools, OrchKids provides music education, instruments, academic instruction, meals, as well as performance and mentorship opportunities at no cost to students and families. OrchKids is an acknowledged leader in the El Sistema and social-change through music movement throughout the world and serves as a replicable model for other cities.
Believing that music and mentorship open doors and that every child should have the opportunity to experience making music, the BSO’s OrchKids has the following mission and goals:
– Use music as a vehicle to provide Baltimore City children with mentoring, encouragement and vision for a promising future.
– Create an after-school program devoted to music appreciation, academics, citizenship, community awareness, family and health (emotional, social and physical).
– Continue to develop the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as an accessible community resource.
– Provide children with valuable tools to expand opportunities for creativity, self-expression, cooperative learning, teamwork, academic success and self
– Engage students at an early age and support their musical training by offering them quality instruction, instruments and a full range of personal and family enrichment experiences.
– Better serve and deepen the BSO’s reach into the community; broaden partnerships with other community organizations.
– Develop a neighborhood program that will create a sense of community pride through heightened participation.
– Increase parental involvement in all aspects of students’ lives to improve students’ chances for lifelong success.
– Become a model for similar programs in other cities.