11 Sep 2021

RI Philharmonic School


Every child has the right to a complete education.

But not all students, especially BIPOC students in Rhode Island, have access to a complete education, including music education. The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School is working hard to change that. “Students who have access to complete education have better success in life,” said David Beauchesne, executive director, R.I. Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School. “The others fall behind.”

The R.I. Philharmonic organization is committed to combatting the effects of historic and systemic racism and discrimination that prevent individuals, groups, and whole communities from achieving their potential.

The R.I. Philharmonic strives to close achievement gaps for K-12 BIPOC students and uplift the underrepresented community of African American and Latino artists, staff, and board members. Investing in increasing minority staff and administrators in classical music will create richer, better music that is more relevant to society.

“We seek to provide performances and education programs that are of exceptional quality, relevant and accessible to all, including members of all BIPOC communities,” said Beauchesne. “Despite our best efforts, we recognize that systemic and historic racism in our society and within symphonic music and music education prevents the organization from serving all communities equally.”

With support from the Papitto Opportunity Connection, the Rhode Island Philharmonic will be able to expand its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and continue its efforts to break barriers in music education.

The POC’s investment will allow the R.I. Philharmonic to bring music education to thousands of students in Providence, hire BIPOC music teachers, create paid internships at the Philharmonic for BIPOC music students and musicians and create greater diversity on the R.I. Philharmonic/Music School Board.

“With the Papitto Opportunity Connection as a partner, together we can establish, scale up and disseminate tools for K-12 (music education) reform to help eliminate opportunity gaps, change lives, and create a more diverse pipeline for classical music,” said Beauchesne. “If we don’t do this important work, our kids will continue to fall behind,” said Beauchesne. “If they don’t have access to music education and complete education and we don’t invest in our children, why should they dream?”

“All students deserve access to and equity in music education,” said Ting Barnard, a Papitto Opportunity Connection advisory board member. “Music education positively impacts students’ academic performance, assists in developing social skills, and provides an outlet for creativity that is crucial to development. “

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