THE MANN’S FALL SEASON OF EDUCATION & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT KICKS OFF NEW COMMUNITY ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCY PROGRAM WITH PHILADELPHIA’S CHILL MOODY
PHILADELPHIA (Nov. 1, 2022) – The Mann Center for the Performing Arts’ summer season has come to a close, and attendance at the venue broke records this year with more than 300,000 people enjoying concerts, the highest number ever. Now, the Mann is readying an all-new fall season of free education and community engagement initiatives for thousands of Philadelphia’s young people that will reach beyond the Mann’s campus and into classrooms and communities in its Parkside neighborhood and beyond.
While many of the Mann’s well-established community programs will return, a new source of inspiration for students will be an exciting new Community Artist-in-Residency partnership with prominent local hip-hop artist and entrepreneur Chill Moody. Moody, a graduate of Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, will be a guest and contributor to many of the Mann’s education programs this upcoming season, sharing his style, creative spirit, and industry experiences directly with Philadelphia’s youth.
“The Mann is ecstatic to launch our first-ever, year-round Community Artist-in-Residency program with a nationally recognized artist such as Chill Moody, who shares roots in our West Philadelphia community,” said Catherine Cahill, president and CEO of the Mann. “Over the last couple of years, Chill Moody has been an overwhelmingly positive force for the youth we have served through programming in our online Mann Music Room and through the Music Industry Training Program. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with Chill to continue making lasting impressions on the sharp individuals of our future.”
“Chill Moody is the embodiment of Philadelphia artistry, and we are thrilled to be partnering with him as our first Community Artist-in-Residence to bring a wealth of knowledge and experiences to our deserving young people who are so eager to learn and create,” said Naomi Gonzalez, chief education and community engagement officer for the Mann. “This season, we want our students to see themselves and their own potential through the individuals – past and present – who have shaped the performing arts scene to be what is today.”
Spearheaded by Gonzalez, the Mann’s fall programming will introduce young people to the many facets of the performing arts – from arts enrichment such as drumline, dance, and choir to career pathways in the recording industry to community-building, cultural celebrations, and more. Favorites like the after-school Motion and Music Academy program and the in-school Music Industry Training Program will return, along with the integration of new programs and initiatives. All of the Mann’s education and community engagement programs, held in partnership with local arts and education organizations, work to address three critical areas of need in Philadelphia that were researched in a 2019 Mann study – workforce development, out-of-school time, and creative placemaking.
New this year, the Mann and Opera Philadelphia will host two writing workshops called “Sounds of America: Price and Bonds.” The workshops, through reading and writing activities, will explore the roles that Black American artists Florence Price and Margaret Bonds played in the development of classical music in the 20th century, as well as their impact on other prominent artists of the same time period. Seventh and 8th grade students from Global Leadership Academy (GLA) in Parkside, a Mann neighbor, will participate in the workshops.
This season marks the third of Motion and Music Academy, a year-long program for GLA students which teaches them all about drumline, ballet, and choir. Presented in partnership with Mad Beatz Philly, Sister Cities Girlchoir, and Philadelphia Ballet, this after-school program is now being offered entirely in person for the first time. Addressing the need for out-of-school time initiatives, the program offers students increased opportunities to explore and develop skills that are otherwise more difficult to access, thus improving in-school engagement and retention of materials.
Another program now in its third season is the Music Industry Training Program, which connects Overbrook High School students to the music industry workforce and seeks to close the opportunity gap in West Philadelphia. The hands-on program teaches students different facets of the music industry – including music production, sound engineering, music business, stage lighting, video makeup, and more. This year marks the first with a senior class cohort, which will have access to apprenticeship opportunities with companies in the field.
“This is the beauty of our programming – being able to set our students up for long-term success in the arts,” said Gonzalez. “It’s not just about exposing those to the arts through education – it’s also about giving them a chance to feel like they’re a part of the community, imagine a future career for themselves that they might not have otherwise thought about, and also inspire the artists of the future.”
The Mann’s Rockstar of the Classroom program has also returned this fall, powered by The Fresh Grocer. The program recognizes and rewards exceptional students of the School District of Philadelphia who participate enthusiastically in the Mann’s educational offerings and contribute to the program's success, all while bolstering their leadership skills and helping foster a positive and collaborative learning environment in the classroom. Each month, The Fresh Grocer and the Mann Center for the Performing Arts will select students as “Rockstars of the Classroom” and will reward them with gift cards from The Fresh Grocer. A handful of students will also be announced and recognized at the end of the academic year as overall winners of the program.
Students and the general community will also be able to continue engaging in the Mann’s educational programs from the comfort of their homes. The Mann Music Room, powered by PNC Arts Alive and supported by USLI, will stay updated with high-quality, accessible digital experiences which will allow the community to explore global cultures with the help of teaching artists, learn about Philadelphia’s rich music history through historical blogs and videos, and more. Guests confirmed for the series this year include Thunderbird American Indian Dancers and Daniel Suun (formerly Solo Woods).
Kicking off the Mann’s education programming in 2023 is the return of the Mann’s annual celebration of Black excellence, “Voices of Hope,” presented by TD Bank Ready Commitment. Beginning in February and continuing through June, the celebration will include videos and online performances in the Mann Music Room and will lead to a culminating, in-person ceremony and concert on Juneteenth that will honor trailblazing Black artists from Philadelphia. On May 20, HBCU Festival at the Mann will launch for its inaugural season, which is an all-day festival-style community event that will leverage the 22-acre campus to create a cultural and celebratory experience. In addition to food and live music, activities Include live drumline/pep band performances, step dance shows, and choir groups. The campus will hold an interactive college fair, in which students of all ages will be provided specialized clinics where young drummers and dancers get to learn from the best HBCU college performers, gathering skills to qualify for college scholarships.
To learn more, visit www.manncenter.org/education.
About the Mann Center for the Performing Arts
As one of the foremost outdoor music centers in the country, the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, a leading non-profit organization, has a historical legacy of artistic excellence as a world-class entertainment destination presenting premier artists, now in association with Live Nation Entertainment. Each summer season, renowned symphony orchestras, iconic rock stars, and the latest touring artists in indie rock, hip hop, R&B, and pop take the stage here. The Mann is the summer home of The Philadelphia Orchestra and has presented critically acclaimed performers every decade since the 1930s. Located in the heart of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, the Mann hosts more than 300,000 visitors annually. Signature concert experiences are surrounded by Philadelphia’s stunning skyline and include seats beneath the Mann’s acoustically acclaimed TD Pavilion; picnics, blankets, and music under the stars on its Great Lawn or at the top of the hill at the Skyline Stage; and dining in Crescendo, the venue’s spectacular tented restaurant. In addition, the Mann’s Education & Community Engagement Program reaches tens of thousands of young people annually through free programming and educational initiatives as well as its virtual Mann Music Room. For more information, visit www.manncenter.org.