Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation Allegro Ensemble, an in-school cohort of young violin students, will expand to three DPSCD schools and triple reach by 2020-2021 school year

Gift also supports DSO’s Civic Youth Ensembles, Educational Concert Series, and free live webcasts

Detroit, (October 1, 2019) – The Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation and Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) today announced an expansion of their collaboration that aims to increase access to music education in underserved communities throughout Southeast Michigan.

The two organizations formed a partnership in 2017 with the Foundation’s first grant benefiting the DSO and the establishment of the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation Allegro Ensemble.

The Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation Allegro Ensemble is an entry-level in-school violin training program for young musicians based at Duke Ellington Conservatory at Beckham Academy, a Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) school on Detroit’s east side. The program is tuition-free, and instruments are provided at no cost. Students who graduate the program and wish to continue studying as part of the DSO’s Civic Youth Ensembles (CYE) can keep their instruments and participate tuition-free.

The Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation’s new pledge totals $825,000 over two and a half years. The gift will:

- Continue to support the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation Allegro Ensemble and expand the program to three Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) schools by the 2020-2021 school year. The DSO and the Foundation also hope to offer additional instruments besides the violin.

- Support the Wu Family Academy of Learning and Engagement, specifically the entry-level Pizzicato and Arco training groups that are two of the DSO’s many Civic Youth Ensembles. Hundreds of students—of all ages and skill levels—participate in CYE programs annually, which include the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble, Civic Jazz Orchestra, and many more.

- Support the DSO’s Educational Concert Series (ECS) and Live from Orchestra Hall: Classroom Edition webcast series counterpart. Classroom Edition delivers free, live, high-definition webcasts of ECS performances to classrooms worldwide, reaching more than 85,000 students; the DSO also provides curriculum guides, professional development sessions, and additional learning materials to teachers to complement the webcasts.

“The DSO’s accessible, inclusive programming aligns with the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation’s commitment to providing meaningful opportunity for under-resourced communities,” said Virginia Romano, Chief Executive Officer of the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation. “That is one of many reasons why we are pleased to partner with the DSO to continue supporting the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation Allegro Ensemble as it reaches deeper into Detroit neighborhoods, providing additional opportunities for students to receive world-class music education instruction in their own school.”

“As the DSO continues to prioritize its community and engagement programs across our region, we remain exceptionally grateful for the extraordinary commitment and leadership from the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation,” said Anne Parsons, DSO President and CEO. “It has been truly inspiring to witness the launch and development of the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation Allegro Ensemble at the Duke Ellington Conservatory, and we are thrilled to be able to expand this partnership to two additional DPSCD schools by next year. We know that the study and practice of music are essential components of successful social and educational development, and thanks to partnerships like this, more Detroit students will be guaranteed to have access to experiencing creativity through music.”

The DSO’s longstanding commitment to education and the community was formalized in 2017 with the launch of the Social Progress Initiative (SPI), an ongoing assessment of its impact through programs that serve hundreds of thousands of people each year across greater Detroit. SPI helps the DSO prioritize resources, incorporate fresh thinking into existing programs, and create new programs to serve critical needs of the community.


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