The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year by expanding its outreach efforts. Begun as an amateur orchestra, the ASO has become one of the premiere arts organizations in the area.
Under the baton of Maestro Kim Allen Kluge for 26 years, the organization has become greatly community-focused. The ASO will be performing a series of educational concerts throughout the season. They have several educational partnerships with schools and more mentoring programs are in the works.
“I consider myself a mentor first, then a musician,” said Kluge. There are three themes that will usher in a new era: Community, accessibility and connection. “I have a deep-seeded need to connect with people,” he added.
The ASO has several partnership initiatives throughout the metropolitan area, including a mentorship program through Alexandria’s public schools and a hands-on Children’s Art Festival. In addition to the affordable student pricing they offer for their concerts, Kluge has announced that their season will also include a new Family Concert Series at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial; the concerts will be in a location that is metro- and shuttle-accessible as well as within walking distance to Old Town Alexandria and the neighborhood of Delray.
There are also efforts to expand the school and mentorship outreach programs. “The school programs next season are a vision for the future,” said Kluge. “They are a way of giving back to the community.”
The ASO will hold an El Sistema workshop with the John Adams Elementary School beginning March 24, a program designed to enrich the lives of disadvantaged children through systemic instruction. The workshop will culminate in a student concert on March 28. Other upcoming concerts in the season will take place on March 29 at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Hall, March 30 at Vienna Presbyterian Church, and a season finale concert on May 17 at the Schlesinger venue in partnership with the National Gallery of Art. There’s also a chance to see them in the annual Alexandria City Birthday Celebration, at Oronoco Bay Park, a free community event.
For more information on the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, call 703-548-0885 or visit www.Alexsym.org.