Faculty, board members, the press, the Mayor of Philadelphia and a special celebrity guest were all on hand today at the Mary Louise Curtis branch for the announcement of a major grant and the start of a new, city-wide initiative.
The Virginia-based Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has awarded $250,000 in funding for a program to enroll children ages 8 to 18 from lower-income families into a comprehensive music preparatory training program. It will also include Settlement's first-ever touring ensemble.
After an introduction by Settlement executive director Helen S. Eaton and Settlement Central Board of Trustees chair Barrie Trimingham, Mayor Michael Nutter delivered the announcement. "Settlement is really an incredible component of what we call in Philadelphia 'the creative economy'," Nutter said, noting that the program will enroll 80 students at Settlement's four Philadelphia-based branches.
Rock-and-roll legend and Settlement alumnus Chubby Checker made a special appearance after the announcement. He did "the Twist" and a few other dance moves, andd even gave a few staff members a sneak preview of a new composition -- listen up for it this summer!
The announcement received a lot of great media coverage by WHYY's Newsworks, Philebrity, and The Philadelphia Inquirer's Peter Dobrin, who covered the announcement on his ArtsWatch blog. He said, "In Philadelphia, where the need is great and resources strained, the news is doubly good when an organization wins an outside grant. The theory is, the award of local money means another local group needing it loses out, whereas money coming from a national source is a net gain into the community."
More information is available in our press room, and there will be more news here as the program gears up.
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