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Using Music and the Arts to Make a Lasting Difference

Released 3 March 2014

Using Music and the Arts to Make a Lasting Difference

Offering music and the performing arts as a way to inspire education and passion among youth has been a huge part of The Salvation Army's work in the community throughout its history.

The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia continues to provide a diverse array of music and performing arts programs for local children. The Salvation Army has provided thousands of inner city youth with opportunities to learn about to the arts and mentorship since its music and arts program was first founded.

Pioneer brassFrom choir lessons to learning a new instrument or joining a band, The Salvation Army's eight corps community centers across the greater Philadelphia region are equipped to offer musical opportunity for children and teens as a creative outlet and a safe alternative to negative influences.

"A lot of these children come from difficult situations," said Major Alma Riley, commanding officer at The Salvation Army Philadelphia Pioneer Corps Community Center. "These music programs provide a safe haven for them. A place to help them get out and do something positive."

Music and performing arts offerings include brass instruction, piano lessons, percussion lessons, guitar, dance, drama, and group choirs. Within each discipline, The Salvation Army also offers private lessons and music theory classes. In addition to these programs, The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in conjunction with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra - Tune Up Philly hosts Lets Play!, a daily, after-school orchestral music training program.

With the music and arts programs gaining so much popularity in the past year, The Salvation Army has divided offerings into, beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Each division enjoys their own unique curriculum and special events, as well as the opportunity to learn and grow with other students of the same age.

"The kids in the band grow together and become very close," said Riley. "They don't like missing lessons."

The Salvation Army has seen many children turn their lives around thanks to the music and arts. Several students have come back to the program as educators and mentors for younger students. Riley attributes the effectiveness of the program to the work of dedicated individuals and volunteers, such as The Salvation Army Divisional Music and Arts Director Dr. Harold Burgmayer, and private lesson teachers and volunteers who mentor the children and try to make a lasting difference in their lives.

"I can't say enough about our dedicated staff members," said Riley. "They make sure the kids know that they are really loved here."

As the music and performing arts program expands, The Salvation Army continues to look for talented individuals willing to help children explore the performing arts. The program is also always in need of more instruments and other resources to help children in their pursuit of education in music and the arts. To donate time or resources to The Salvation Army's music programs call 215-717-1196.

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