Portland Symphony Orchestra receives Getty Education and Community Investment Grant from League of American Orchestras to help fund its Music and Wellness program

Three-year, $1.5-million Getty Education and Community Investment Grants program now in its second year

PORTLAND — The Portland Symphony Orchestra is one of just 23 American orchestras recently selected by the League of American Orchestras to receive a 2013-14 Getty Education and Community Investment Grant. The grant was awarded to help fund the orchestra’s Music and Wellness program, and is in recognition of the Portland Symphony’s innovation and dedication to increasing its relevance to the community. This is the second year the PSO has received this grant.

Grateful for the support, PSO Executive Director Lisa Dixon said, “With continued support from Getty, the Portland, Maine community can look forward to a second year of this terrifically successful program, seeking to improve the healing process and reduce stress levels of hospital patients, employees, and patients’ visiting families.”

The PSO’s mission, to serve its community by enriching lives through music, and one of its primary core values to “develop and nurture community relationships that are mutually beneficial,” led the organization to develop a pilot Music and Wellness program last season in partnership with the New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland. This program was piloted last year thanks to the Getty Education and Community Investment Grants program.

The PSO/NERHP program seeks to accomplish its goals through a bilateral approach that includes two major program components:

• Music for Life. Live, therapeutic musical performances by PSO musician ensembles brought directly to NERHP for the benefit of hospital patients, their families and hospital employees.

Individual musicians, trios, and quartets from the PSO perform live classical music that has been proven to reduce stress, increase health and recovery, and increase relaxation and happiness. During weekday offerings Music for Life is incorporated into patient programs that already exist at the hospital (movement classes, mindfulness group, art classes) as directed by the hospital’s and patients’ needs. On the weekends the PSO ensembles perform for larger groups of patients, visitors and staff during hospital “down time.”

• Music and Stress: A Sensory-Based Wellness Program. A copyrighted, scientifically-based stress reduction program for hospital employees that combines live classical music with resistive muscle movement and deep breathing exercises. The program, which includes live music by PSO musicians, helps individuals develop skills and take personal responsibility for maintaining healthy levels of stress in their lives.

“The long term health of orchestras will require creating more value for more members of orchestras’ communities. These important programs are addressing critical needs, often in underserved communities,” said League President and CEO Jesse Rosen. “The Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation’s support has enabled orchestras to offer their communities greater access to the extraordinary experience of orchestral music and musicians.”

The orchestras, encompassing a full range of budget sizes, will receive individual grants ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 for a variety of community-based programs taking place during the 2013-14 season. The Portland Symphony Orchestra received a grant in the amount of $15,000. A total of $443,000 was awarded for the grants this year. A prerequisite for qualifying orchestras was the existence of partnerships with local community or social service organizations.

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