A new film debuting at the 2014 Philadelphia Film Festival documents the activities of two after-school intensive music programs for children in underserved communities - one in New York, the other in Philadelphia. WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports.
Crescendo, The Power of Music, is a documentary by Jamie Bernstein and Elizabeth Kling that focuses on two El Sistema-inspired orchestral programs - Harlem's Harmony Program, and Play on Philly. These programs are based on a highly successful model developed in Venezuela during the 1970s that show greater social and educational benefits when under-privileged children are immersed in daily classical music lessons.
The film follows three children — two in West Philadelphia, and one in New York City’s Harlem — as they struggle to master their instruments, and confront multiple challenges as they grow and mature as individuals and musicians.
Play on Philly Founder and Artistic Director Stanford Thomson says the film shows how it's not just the students who are seeing the benefits of these programs, but also their parents.
Showings of Crescendo, The Power of Music are on Monday, October 20th at 3 pm at the Ritz at the Bourse, and Saturday October 25th at 3:15 pm at the Prince Music Theater.