It's a coincidence that Philadelphia Orchestra performances of Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story In Concert are scheduled for this week, while the world is watching millions of people suffering in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
These concerts were planned many months ago as part of a year-long celebration leading to Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday, with four performances (October 12–15), led by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and featuring a cast of opera and Broadway stars, including Isabel Leonard as Maria.
But now they'll serve as a powerful reminder of the ongoing relevancy of Bernstein’s work and the continued need for unity, embracing Puerto Rico as a U.S. territory, and awareness of economic conditions in the area. And there will be a special gesture during the performance of “America” in tribute to Puerto Rico.
In light of the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria and the closely linked subject matter of the performance, The Philadelphia Orchestra—in partnership with The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and local community-based cultural organization Taller Puertorriqueño working as part of Unidos PA'PR—will be raising funds to assist with hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.
Cash donations or checks made out to “Concilio/UNIDOS PA'PR" will be accepted in the lobby of the Kimmel Center before and after the performances, and during intermission. All contributions will be distributed through Unidos PA’PR, a coalition of community organizations formed to raise funds for Puerto Rico.
Those not attending but interested in contributing can donate online here.