A Day for 250 Young Philadelphia Musicians at the Kimmel Center

Mar 10, 2015

WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston looks at the third Philadelphia Festival of Young Musicians that took place on Feb. 16, 2015 at the Kimmel Center. Gathered together were 250 student instrumentalists and vocalists, from over 13 organizations in Philadelphia, who studied in sections during an intensive day of learning and socializing. The day ended with a grand performance on the Verizon Hall stage. Lio Kuokman, assistant conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, led the instruments. Melissa Malvar-Keylock, associate conductor of the Princeton Girlchoir, led the singers.

The highlight of the collaboration among members of the Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth is the Philadelphia Festival of Young Musicians. It's a concept modeled after one in Chicago, a template for a local consortium of music organizations for the young.

Singing at the Philadelphia Festival of Young Musicians at the Kimmel Center.
Credit Steven Krull Photography

The Alliance is comprised of established and new programs focusing on music education. The day-long festival is held on President's Day, a day that many schools in the area are closed. Helen Eaton, executive director of Settlement Music School, says that the festival brings together third through sixth graders: those who wouldn't usually get an opportunity like this until high school. 

After an initial two years at Philadelphia High School for Girls, the Festival in 2015 moved to the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts this past President’s Day, with The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Kimmel Center joining as sponsors. Older students from Alliance member organizations were mentors, experienced teaching artists led sectionals in backstage and upstairs rooms, lunch was in the Kimmel lobby, and the free performance took place on the stage in Verizon Hall. 

Lio Kuokman, assistant conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, led the instruments, and Melissa Malvar-Keylock, associate conductor of the Princeton Girlchoir, conducted the singers.  

Philadelphia Orchestra Assistant Conductor Lio Kuokman on the podium during the Philadelphia Festival of Young Musicians at the Kimmel Center.
Credit Steven Krull Photography

Instructors and students playing together at the Philadelphia Festival of Young Musicians
Credit Steven Krull Photography

2015 Philadelphia Festival of Young Musicians participating organizations:
Artistas y Musicas Latino Americanos (AMLA)
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Musicopia
Pennsylvania Girlchoir and Keystone State Boychoir
Philadelphia Boys Choir
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia Sinfonia Association
Philadelphia Youth Orchestra & Tune Up Philly
Play On, Philly!
School District of Philadelphia
Settlement Music School
Sister Cities Girlchoir
Temple University Music Preparatory Division