Monday night, the Harmony Program took over the Pierre Ballroom for a Winter Waltz Gala to benefit their after-school music program. The event was a formal event in the style of a Vienna Opera Ball with the Park Avenue Symphony orchestra, under the David Bernard, performing the waltzes of Strauss and Tchaikovsky. For those who had never danced a waltz, the evening began with a demonstration and waltz lesson. In addition, we were also honored with a performance by the Harmony students.
Since I trained on the violin as a child, I cannot express enough the importance of music education for children. My musical training totally shaped my early years. Thus, I completely support the work of the wonderful people at the Harmony Program, a nonprofit that provides daily after-school music lessons and makes a huge difference in the lives of children from NYC’s public schools. Harmony’s unique model taps the city’s college and graduate-level music students as teachers, training them to develop the talents of young people who would not ordinarily be exposed to music education.
Through the generous support of their sponsors and partners, the Harmony students are provided with musical instruments, daily after-school instruction, and a variety of cultural experiences, all free of charge. The Harmony Program is modeled after Venezuela’s National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras known as “El Sistema.” Committed to improving society through music, El Sistema has gained international acclaim. In the spirit of El Sistema, the Harmony Program emphasizes the influence of music-making on social development, encourages learning through ensemble playing, fosters a supportive community for program participants and their families, and requires a high commitment to daily music study for all involved.
Dinner was full on with turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes at one station, steak at another, and a full pasta station, as well as, a bread and cheese spread. With the food served the entire night, I am sure no one went hungry! This was another very lovely night out with some beautiful and fun people. In that regard, it’s been a lucky and blessed week at play.[salbumphotos=121,72,7,n,n,picasa_order]