Feeding the mind with free tickets to the symphony

Published: Feb. 27, 2019 at 8:21 AM CST
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More than 300 people can go to each Springfield Symphony concert for free. It's thanks to a big grant. The Symphony Community Balcony Program hopes to feed minds and the soul.

KY3's Paul Adler reports on the program and the people helping those attending for the first time learn the etiquette rules.

Nobody expects a choir to make a grand entrance without practice or to know the songs without rehearsing.

Outreach Minister Christine Peoples says, "We're going to be all together with our chaperone... "

Peoples is teaching etiquette for the audience. It's for kids who've never been to a concert or the symphony.

"People have priorities that override going to the symphony when you're trying to put food on the table and you're a single mom," explains Peoples.

Like your school or workplace or a library, the symphony has a culture, rules and etiquette. One of the rules, don't leave or sit down in the middle of a performance.

"Just knowing how to respect what's happening on stage is very important," says Reed Academy Choir Director Robert Gibson.

The Symphony Balcony Program hopes to nourish the mind like a food bank feeds the body.

"This is not something that their parents would take them to," parent Emandie Williams says. "When we got there, their eyes were just like oh wow..., that was so awesome.., they really enjoyed it."

"It makes you think, you could be something like that someday," Briasia Williams adds.

Before the "Big Questions performance in March, the girls get their practice at this Black History Celebration Concert. And, there's no doubt they all passed.

"The whole idea is to think beyond," said Peoples.

"It is exposing them to something that could change their life," Gibson observes.

The Springfield Symphony's next concert is March 23rd. The Box Office number is (417) 864-6683.

Here's the official description of the program from the symphony:

The Community Balcony program was established as part of a vision to engage,enhance, and respond to areas of need in the community through our unique capacities. The goal of this program is to increase accessibility to the arts, particularly for youth and families who are disadvantaged by socio-economic, health-related and environmental factors. Each experience provided by this free ticket program is intended to evoke inspiration, healing, hope and learning. *Who/How: o Tickets will be given by referral from partnering nonprofit agencies and schools. o Agency partners must RSVP to the SSO office with a head count one week prior to the concert (unless stated otherwise) and be responsible for disseminating to recipients. o Tickets must be picked up/delivered to the agency prior to the concert date. Tickets will not be available at will call. *What: There are 337 seats available at each concert; recipients are eligible for one concert per season in an effort to reach as many people as possible *When: The Symphony plays once a month, September – May. ( *Where: Juanita K. Hammons Hall, 525 S John Q Hammons Pkwy, Springfield, MO 65806 The SSO will ask partners for feedback as well as any material or correspondence the agency/recipient is willing to give about recipients’ experiences through the program. We wish to share the impact of this program with the community, board and donors, however, we will not require personal information about recipients in order to maintain privacy and safety.