Philadelphia, PA Competition
Aetna Voices of Health Competition




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Celebrating our 10th anniversary, LiveConnections is a nonprofit organization specializing in music education, arts accessibility and collaborative concerts. We believe live music is an essential part of the human experience: it fosters joy and is one of the most powerful ways to build bridges between people.

Since our founding in 2008, we have reached more than 38,000 participants through our educational Bridge Sessions and in-school residencies, and have presented more than 45 concerts through our critically acclaimed LiveConnections Presents concert series.

We create opportunities for audiences with limited arts access - such as youth from Philadelphia public schools and people with disabilities - to be active participants in music-making. The music we create intersects with significant social issues, amplifying marginalized voices and encouraging creative responses to our world.

Across all of our programs, LiveConnections is committed to artistry of the highest caliber, collaboration, community-building and accessibility/inclusion.

"Our students leave here empowered, they leave here having experienced joy."

-Ezechial Thurman, teacher

LiveConnections' educational programs use music to spark passion, boost learning, and connect participants to their own communities and the broader world. Our free programs serve 5,000 participants each year - primarily students from Philadelphia public schools and youth and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities.

BRIDGE SESSIONS: Our signature Bridge Sessions at World Cafe Live blend live performance with hands-on participation, allowing participants to experience the joy and power of music.

Artists from diverse music traditions - blues, classical, gospel, jazz, pop, rock, Latin American, Middle Eastern and West African - present sessions such as "World of Percussion," "Cybersounds" and "Voices & Bodies in Social Action." The artists provide multiple ways for participants to engage in music-making themselves, through call and response, movement, playing percussion instruments, creating poetry and more.

Bridge Sessions also connect with classroom subjects such as language arts and social studies. Culturally relevant topics engage participants in thinking about teamwork, creativity, diversity and identity. LiveConnections' innovative approach means participants leave feeling inspired, connected to each other and the wider world.

SCHOOL RESIDENCIES & SUMMER CAMPS: Our residencies, developed in collaboration with Philadelphia public schools, provide ongoing opportunities for youth to participate in percussion, storytelling, songwriting and music production. Notable projects include three albums of student songwriting created with schools (A DAY IN MY LIFE, FIRST VERSE and WHAT'S GOING ON), our "Immigrant Songs" after-school program for refugee teenagers, and "A Song Everyone Can Sing" looking at accessibility and inclusion through choral singing.

Our summer camp, The Percussion Studio, focuses on building skills in creativity and collaboration. Students make their own drums and create original rhythm compositions and record and perform their own spoken word poems.

When we bring together kids to make music, we know that more than a great sound emerges. In our annual Percussion Studio summer camp, featured in our video, students have opportunities to process significant life events, such as the loss of a loved one or challenges at school, through poetry writing and group percussion activities. Students learn about teamwork, about listening to others and about how to collaborate. They gain a constructive outlet for processing complex emotions. They discover that there's no rhythm without support, and no success without doing it together. That's the real power in percussion.

We asked our participants, "What can music do?"

Jordan said "Music is like a voice when I don't have a voice."

Nahsir said our programs "opened up my eyes to a new world."

Trévon said, "We learned about communication. Everybody's different. We gotta learn how to cope with those differences, learn to work with those differences."

We're honored to walk with young people as they discover the power of their voice. Like Eiyreana, we "believe music could change the world one day."

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