Every month a bunch of us working in downtown Allentown get together after hours on "First Monday". It's an informal group and people from all over Lehigh Valley are welcomed. The location varies and last night Allentown Symphony Association hosted. In the past they have held First Monday in the 3rd floor Rodale Room which has spectacular views of the city, but last night we were actually on the stage of Symphony Hall.
Walking up the steps onto the historic stage, I thought about the many famous stars that stood there before me. I wish I could have been there to see George Burns and Gracie Allen, or maybe Bing Crosby, Benny Goodman or the Marx Brothers.
Enough of the past! ASA is all about the present...and, more importantly, the future. Sheila Evens, the Executive Director, spoke briefly about upcoming events including a Jazz Benefit on Sunday, May 22nd. Some of the best jazz artists of the area are donating their time and talent to support ASA's "El Sistema Lehigh Valley". I wasn't familiar with this program so I was eager to hear more.
El Sistema (started in Caracas, Venezuela) puts musical instruments in the hands of underprivileged children often changing their lives immeasurably. They receive lessons and learn to work together as an orchestra. I can only imagine how rewarding it must be to work with these kids.
So...if you, like me, want to see this program thrive just rummage through your attic, pull out those dusty instruments and donate them to the cause. Don't have any? Just write a check and the funds will be used to repair or purchase an instrument.
Someday, I may take a seat at Allentown Symphony Hall and hear a child I helped introduce to music perform professionally. That would be "music to my ears"!
Do you have any old instruments you can donate?