Philadelphia Youth Orchestra launches jazz ensemble
PYOMI is developing these new programs in pursuit of its goal of having 1,000 young participants in the next five years. In 82 years of existence, the organization has never had so many musicians in its programs.
“Right before the pandemic, we were hitting the 600 mark,” Scaglione said.
Scaglione said PYOMI recently completed a strategic plan with the ambition to transform its 23-year-old home, on the St. Patrick’s Church campus in Rittenhouse Square, into a “community music hub,” where a large Philadelphia’s array of musical organizations would have a presence.
“We have an opportunity to grow in our space and create a real hub for community music education,” he said. “Not only expanding organically by adding program divisions, but also by partnering with other music education organizations in the music community to use it as a central place to teach music to young people in our communities. .”
Several musical organizations in the area, largely classical, already use St. Patrick’s as a performance and rehearsal space. Scaglione said big band jazz isn’t too far off from classical.
“I’ve always had a great interest in jazz,” said Scaglione, whose grandfather was a jazz drummer in Chicago in the 1930s and 1940s.
“He was a pretty accomplished drummer and he survived the Depression that way,” he said. “I grew up listening to all the big band greats, who were all called orchestras: the Benny Goodman Orchestra, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Louis Armstrong Orchestra.”
Scaglione hopes the expansion into jazz programming will broaden the pool of students interested in performing with PYO.