1889 Foundation today announced a $50,000 grant to the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra (JSO) in support of education and outreach programs for all ages.

“As a small city, Johnstown is truly fortunate to have such an excellent orchestra,” said Susan Mann, president of 1889 Foundation. “The JSO has shown tremendous creativity in the past few years in finding new ways to engage the community – by holding concerts in non-traditional spaces, for example – and in the virtual programming they’ve presented during the pandemic, when in-person concerts were not possible. 1889 Foundation is pleased to support their continuing efforts to bring this music to the community.”

The funded programs are:

Radiating Outward: JSO in Your Neighborhood: Throughout 2021, the JSO will forge partnerships with educators and local arts organizations to present intimate, community-focused programming in Cambria, Somerset, and Bedford counties.  Partnerships and plans for service through music in Cambria City, Bedford, and Somerset are already moving forward, as we look toward the return to in-person concerts.

Music Heals: Access for Residential Facilities and Aging Populations: Building on an initiative that began in 2020, the JSO is committed to offering programming to those who are unable to attend concerts in a traditional setting. Plans for this include digital access to live concerts, specially-created recorded musical experiences, and in-person visits. Studies have shown that engaging deeply with music is a protective factor against dementia and cognitive impairment in aging populations.

Youth and Continuing Education: The JSO’s Young People’s Concerts, Share the Music Program, Inclined to Sing Children’s Chorus, and Johnstown Symphony Youth Orchestra serve thousands of students each year and provide support for area school music programs.  With both one-on-one training and large group engagement, the JSO offers music experiences for every stage of a child’s musical development. The Community Strings and Johnstown Symphony Chorus provide an outlet for continued learning and socialization for adults of all ages and skill levels.

“The JSO is thrilled to embark on a partnership with 1889 Foundation which will position us to serve this community through music in new and deeper ways. The pandemic environment made our traditional programming impossible and forced us to reflect on how we serve and why,” said William J. Locher, president of the JSO board of trustees. “Our recommitment to a community-focused response to the needs around us makes this partnership especially meaningful.  The funding we receive will seed an innovative approach to programming throughout our region, in neighborhood spaces, in the concert hall, in classrooms and hospital rooms.  It empowers us to continue to provide meaningful outlets for connection, expression, and education in service of a healthy and vibrant community.”

Maestro James Blachly recorded a video about the grant, below!