Fidelity Investments® and the Boston Pops today announced the kickoff of the 2010 Fidelity FutureStage® Music Program, part of a national initiative to support and strengthen public school arts programs and to provide unique educational opportunities for student musicians to explore and develop their individual talents.
The celebration event at historic Symphony Hall was part of a four-city simulcast, connecting more than 1,500 high school students via satellite from Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Houston Symphony’s Jones Hall and Kenwood Academy in Chicago. The event brought together Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart, 2009 FutureStage music competition student winners Chris Middleton and AnJalique Perry, and special guests from every city via simulcast, including event host Dominic Monaghan and musician/actor Jamie Foxx in Los Angeles and actress Joan Cusack in Chicago.
Highlights of the event included the announcement of four Boston area public high schools selected to be part of 2010 Fidelity FutureStage program: Boston Arts Academy, Boston Latin Academy, Cambridge Rindge & Latin and the Roland Hayes School of Music; details about the 2010 Fidelity FutureStage Music Competition, culminating in a performance at a Boston Pops Concert on May 26; and the grand finale of the day: the surprise unveiling of more than $100,000 worth of new musical instruments for the four FutureStage schools – part of an overall donation by Fidelity Investments to public school programs across the country valued in total over $500,000.
Peter Cieszko, president of Fidelity Investments Institutional Services Company, opened the celebration from Symphony Hall in Boston as he welcomed the entire simulcast audience. “Fidelity FutureStage was created to support arts education programs in our public schools, and invest in the future of our students by providing opportunities to participate, experience and benefit from the arts, both in and out of the classroom,” said Mr. Cieszko. “Research shows that students participating in quality music education programs score an average of 20 percent higher on standardized tests and a combined 100 points more on the College Board SATs, and we’re happy to provide more opportunities that may help to influence these important student success measures.”
Connected to students in Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston via satellite, and visible to each other on large onstage projection screens, Boston students showed off their city and school pride, and shared musical performances with their peers in the other three cities. As part of the program, Boston’s talented 2009 FutureStage Music Competition winners, vocalist AnJalique Perry (Roland Hayes School of Music) and singer/songwriter and pianist Chris Middleton (Boston Latin School) performed with members of the Boston Pops for the entire simulcast audience. Maestro Keith Lockhart introduced the performers and special guests, and shared his own thoughts about the vital importance of music education.
"Music has had such an incredible impact on me both professionally and personally, providing indescribable enjoyment, inspiration and satisfaction in so many aspects of my life," said Mr. Lockhart. "It’s very exciting to work with Fidelity FutureStage in bringing instruments to the schools, knowing that they have such potential to have a positive impact on students, including their ability to learn on a multitude of levels. The Boston Pops is proud to partner with Fidelity FutureStage to provide the resources and experiences that help open doors and encourage young people to explore the arts."
Also announced today were details of the 2010 Fidelity FutureStage Music Competition, open to full-time students in grades 9 – 12 attending any Boston and Cambridge public high school. Instrumental musicians and/or vocalists performing as soloists or ensembles can apply starting on February 10. Winners will receive coaching from music professionals to prepare for a performance onstage with the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall on May 26. More details about the competition can be found at www.futurestage.com.
For the program’s grand finale, Keith Lockhart and Fidelity’s Peter Cieszko, along with Jamie Foxx in Los Angeles, Joan Cusack in Chicago, and Houston Pops Conductor Michael Krajewski in Houston, led the Symphony Hall audience up to the big surprise of the day: the announcement and unveiling of more than $500,000 worth of new musical instruments donated by Fidelity. Video split screens allowed the students to share their excitement with students in Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles as cameras showed dozens of new instruments being revealed simultaneously in each venue.
Fidelity’s donation in Boston is made up of approximately $25,000 worth of much-needed new instruments for each for the four FutureStage schools – Boston Arts Academy, Boston Latin Academy, Cambridge Rindge & Latin and the Roland Hayes School of Music. The thrilled students and their teachers accepted dozens of much-needed new instruments, ranging from violins, cellos keyboards and electric guitars to saxophones, trombones and shiny silver trumpets – all specifically requested by their respective school music programs.
Schools in Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles received similar donations, and an additional $100,000 worth of new instruments is being donated to other school programs in need around the country, rounding out Fidelity’s total donation.
Fidelity Investments works with The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation (MHOF) to select schools for the Fidelity FutureStage program. MHOF is a national non-profit organization dedicated to bringing musical instruments to under-funded school and community programs, and inspiring creativity and expression through music participation. The Foundation evaluates the instrumental needs of each school music program and then facilitates the purchase and delivery of the instruments on behalf of Fidelity FutureStage.