A Symphony of Community Engagement

A Symphony of Community Engagement

Last week we spotlighted the Church Health Center.  This week let us explore the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

Memphis may be known as the home of the blues and the birthplace of rock n’ roll, but our city also has a distinguished legacy with symphonic music that dates back to 1952 and the formation of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra (MSO).  Today, MSO is nationally recognized not only for its dynamic performances and charismatic leading lady, Music Director Mei-Ann Chen, but for its innovation, collaboration, and leadership in providing community services and music education across the Mid-South.  Each year MSO’s 400-member family of musicians, vocalists, and volunteers brings symphonic music to more than half a million people and generates over $10 million for our local economy.

Something that makes the cultural arts community here in the Mid-South unique is the spirit of collaboration.  MSO works hand-in-hand with other organizations, like Stax Music Academy, Rhodes College, Opera Memphis, Ballet Memphis, and the Dixon Gallery and Gardens to push limits, reach new audiences, and provide unique experiences.  In addition to presenting tons of concerts and events, including free performances at local schools, assisted living homes, the airport, and libraries, MSO musicians reach thousands of young music students by teaching courses and giving private lessons.  As citizens, they also donate their time to many local causes.   

Taking it further, MSO recently formed a Department of Community Engagement.  They are creating an original commission and elementary school educational curriculum inspired by the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, called Rebirth of the Dream.  They are also ramping up programs, like Drum Circles, which uses therapeutic drumming to help special needs and at-risk groups, and Family Tunes and Tales, which are free events for kids to experience the magic of musical storytelling.  For teams, they have a day-long workshop, Leading from Every Chair®, that refines communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills through the lens of performing in an orchestra.

This is just a glimpse at the many ways MSO is touching our community.  Learn more at www.memphissymphony.org and do yourself a favor by experiencing their masterful music and heartfelt efforts firsthand.   

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