7 days, 6 rehearsals, 10 concerts – Jessica Schmidt

Wow- what a week!  It seems that everywhere one turns here at the PSO,
there is a concert of some form taking place. This week is a wild one-
we "split" the full orchestra into several different orchestras to
allow different types of concerts to take place.  In the space of 7
days, we have several Pittsburgh Symphony Pops concerts with Doc
Severinsen, a Tiny Tots education concert here at the hall, a
Pittsburgh Symphony Chamber Orchestra concert at the Jewish Community
Center, a concert in Oakmont as one of several "thank you" concerts to
the community and PA State Representatives for their support of a 2.5
million dollar state grant to the PSO. …and then, especially close to
my heart are this week’s Community Engagement concerts with the PSCO.

Tomorrow, the PSCO will perform at Allegheny Valley School (AVS).
Allegheny Valley School operates residential and therapeutic programs
throughout Pennsylvania for children and adults with mental
retardation. We perform two concerts at AVS each season thanks to the
funding of the The Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust.  It is a very
special relationship we have with AVS- the staff and residents know our
musicians well and we look forward to seeing season.  I am personally
extremely excited to witness my first PSCO Community Engagement concert
at AVS.  On Friday evening, the PSCO will perform at a place called the
"Union Project" on Negley Avenue as a part of their Grand Opening
Celebration. The Union Project is a nonprofit located in a restored
Baptist Church which is being refurbished to provide gathering and
working space for artists, community builders and people of faith. The
project has been under construction for more than four years, and the
restored church acts as a common gathering location for the East
Liberty area of Pittsburgh, directly helping to revitalize and unite
the a diverse community.  All proceeds raised as a result of ticket
sales for this concert will go directly to the Union Project.  We often
do the same in other Community Engagement locations- offering ticket
proceeds (above basic concert costs) from the concert back to a
community foundation that allocates music scholarships, a public school
music program, or a nonprofit like the Union Project.

It would take a seminar for me to begin to explain from my position
all of the many components of the words "Community Engagement"- but
these two concerts begin to sum up in action what those words might
mean.  They also reflect the desire of the PSO to be relevant in our
Pittsburgh community.  I am always honored to travel out to various
locations with the PSO for our Community Engagement concerts.  To me,
they represent the great understanding that our organization- both
musicians and management- has in realizing how essential it is to play
a part in the daily lives of Pittsburgh community residents.  We hope
that by visiting the home turf of our friends in nearby locations, we
can offer an inviting concert experience to people who might not
otherwise hear the PSO, and we can then also invite concert attendees
to visit us on our "turf" here at Heinz Hall.  In the process, we also
work directly with committees in our Community Engagement communities
to determine the needs of each community, and find ways for the PSO to
help to meet those specific needs.

One of my
particular charges as a representative of the PSO’s Education and
Community Engagement Department has to do with building the
relationship between the PSO and specific communities in an ongoing and
mutually beneficial way.  It is a joy to have this be a part of what I
wake up to do each day at work, and it is a joy to work with places
like AVS and the Union Project.  So…as wild as this week is, it’s
also a whole lot of fun…

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