Play On Philly

Play On, Philly! founder and director Stanford Thompson stopped by WRTI on Monday with three of his charges to talk with WRTI's Kile Smith. Pledge now to WRTI, and every pledge will be matched by an anonymous donor to support Play On, Philly! You can help us reach our $30,000 goal for Giving Tuesday. Thanks so much!

When Stanford Thompson left Philadelphia with a degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, the talented trumpeter had a myriad of career options that could have landed him in any city in the world. Lucky for us, after a few detours, he's back here in the City of Brotherly Love.

Play On Philly! On Film And Beyond...

Oct 13, 2014
Cinematographer Claudia Raschke

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.

Play On, Philly is an innovative music program modeled after Venezuela’s network of youth orchestras known as "El Sistema." Curtis Institute of Music graduate Stanford Thompson first brought the program to 4th through 8th graders attending St. Francis de Sales School in West Philadelphia in 2010. Two years later, it expanded to include students at Freire Charter Middle School in Center City.

Simon Rattle, the British-born conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, is one of the best-known classical musicians alive. His influence shows up in all sorts of places: at the Metropolitan Opera, where musicians still speak of his presence there in reverent tones, and in West Philadelphia where his advocacy of Venezuela’s El Sistema helped inspire trumpeter Stanford Thompson to create Play On Philly, a music education program that touches hundreds of lives.