Pawtucket RI students will have more opportunities for music education

PAWTUCKET — The Papitto Opportunity Connection donated $3 million to the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and School of Music to expand music education for students of color.

The funds, part of a four-year partnership with the Philharmonie, support two key goals: to improve access to high-quality music education for children of color and to ensure that the Philharmonie represents and is connected to various communities it serves.

The announcement was made Tuesday at Agnes E. Little Elementary School in Pawtucket, where the “Victoria’s Dream Project” will be extended to Henry Winter Elementary School later this year.

The Victoria’s Dream Project is a performance-based string education program for grades three through five by Agnes Little that provides students with a free string instrument, after-school tutoring, and lessons music after school three days a week.

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The Philharmonic Orchestra also conducts research into the effects of providing enhanced music education to Pawtucket students through Papitto-funded projects.

Brown University’s Urban Education Policy Program Director Kenneth Wong will track the musical, academic, and social-emotional growth of participating students and determine whether the program is helping to close achievement gaps for children of color.

The philharmonic will program more works by composers of color, increasing diversity on its stages and making its performances accessible to more individuals and communities through live-streamed events, neighborhood concerts and other initiatives, according to a press release from the non-profit organization Papitto.

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Papitto Opportunity Connection, founded by Barbara Papitto, is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to closing achievement gaps in education

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Linda Borg covers education for the Journal.

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