Honda Partnership with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) - Fact Sheet

Growing Need
Deep cuts in music education programs at Michigan public schools are having a tremendous impact on music education. Detroit public schools have lost nearly 50% of their music programs over the past decade, resulting in a drop in the enrollment of students in regional orchestra programs as well as in the number of students from the Detroit School of Arts (98% African-American) and the surrounding community able to participate in the DSO's Civic Youth Ensembles program.

Commitment to Innovation and Diversity at DSO
In addition to offering comprehensive music education programs, that are unique among American orchestras, the DSO has recently embarked on an ambitious plan to diversify its programming and audiences. In addition to innovative classical, Pops and jazz presentations, the DSO offers a World Music series, a jazz club series, poetry slams and the critically acclaimed 8 Days in June festival, a diverse collection of music and other mediums created around a central concept rooted in contemporary world issues. The DSO serves a community rich in racial diversity and its programs are attended by children from many minority groups that are under-represented (African-Americans 1.88%) in the field of classical music. DSO programs provide opportunities for children of all backgrounds to be introduced to the beauty and discipline of this art form.

Honda Partnership
With school districts such as the Detroit Public Schools drastically reducing or eliminating music programs for financial reasons, students are denied the opportunity to learn to play instruments, read music, and participate in bands or orchestras. Honda has developed a unique multi-faceted partnership plan to promote and support music education programs with the DSO. Over the next five years, Honda will contribute more than $1.2 million to create and fund the following initiatives:

  • Creation of "The Power of Dreams Music Education Fund": to encourage and support the involvement of metro-Detroit children in music education and diversity in classical music.
  • Launch of The Power of Dreams String Project to provide introductory music education/string training to children in metro-Detroit where opportunities are non-existent or unaffordable.
  • Support of the DSO Civic Youth Ensemble performances; the DSO's educational partnership activities with the Detroit School of Arts (DSA); and the DSO's spring Educational Concert Series for school children, April 10, 2008 in Orchestra Hall.
  • Establishment of The Power of Dreams Music Scholar program: to provide private lessons to aspiring students with financial need in the String Project, DSO Civic Ensembles and/or Detroit Schools of Arts, enabling them to fully develop their musical capabilities.
  • Support of the 2008 Classical Roots Gala which raises funds for programs such as the DSO's African-American Fellowship Program.
  • Sponsorship of renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma's performance with the DSO, May 13, 2008, and a special daytime educational event for students which is being planned.
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