Sound EFFECT Fall 2023

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Holistic Education


Music Education at the DSO Puts Students in the Driver’s Seat PEOPLE: The Jazzy Life at the DSO Fred A. Erb: A Vision for Jazz at the DSO

17 Inside the Classroom: Creative Jazz

and the Detroit Pistons Bucket Band


Music & Legacy Wu Family Legacy: Changing Lives Through Music


Editor & Writer - LaToya Cross

Graphic Designer - Jay Holladay

Photo Editor - Sarah Smarch

Welcome to the fourth issue of Sound EFFECT. In this edition, we focus on the DSO’s holistic approach to music education and ensuring that students from across metro Detroit have access to music. You’ll take a journey inside the Jacob Bernard Pincus Music Education Center and read about the progress of Detroit Harmony and its impact in the community and Detroit schools. Gain insight on how this approach unfolds across age groups and abilities, from preschoolers served by PNC Grow Up Great, to Civic Youth Ensembles, and Senza— our professional development music program that offers personalized curriculum, mentorship, cultural experiences, and community engagement for high school students.

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Through a feature on the late Fred A. Erb and his vision for robust jazz programming at the DSO, we look at the jazz scene in Detroit that created a strong lineage of educators and musicians and paved the way for the Civic Jazz cohort as part of the DSO’s Civic Youth Ensembles. Lastly, we pay homage to the Wu family with a multi-generational story that encompasses the transformational vision of the late Dr. Clyde and Helen Wu to engage children through music and develop their lifelong love of the art form. We extend our deepest gratitude to Dr. David Wu for carrying on the vital legacy of his parents and for his leadership as Chair of the Education Committee of the DSO’s Board of Directors. The DSO’s history of prioritizing music education is a long one. In fact, it stretches back 100 years. With the creation of the Educational Concert Series and the Young People’s Concert Series in 1922 and 1923 respectively, Edith Rhetts Tilton, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s first Director of Education, set a new precedent for American orchestras. Tilton’s pre-concert lectures not only provided musical context but became a primary feature of the curriculum in public schools—a move that deeply connected the DSO to the city and put the orchestra in the national spotlight as a boundary-pushing ensemble, enhancing the musical experience for thousands of children. Tilton characterized music as “the flower of everyday life,” and within these pages, you’ll see this sentiment echoed. We hope you can feel the impact music education has on youth as they develop—musically, professionally, and personally—and truly see the significance of your investment in the DSO’s educational ecosystem. With your support and belief in the value of music, we will continue to evolve and nurture the development of young people with music at the root.

Erik Rönmark President & CEO

Jader Bignamini Music Director

Phillip Wm. Fisher Board Chair Emeritus DSO Impact Campaign Co-Chair

Danny Kaufman DSO Impact Campaign Co-Chair

David T. Provost Chair DSO Board of Directors

DSO Impact Campaign:

$56,011,290(75% raised of the $75 million goal) 2

p l a c e

HOLISTIC education


oung people mimicking horn players seen in movies and video games; humming along to violin melodies when they identify a song; tapping their feet; and dancing to the rhythms of pop, jazz, and classical music­—because the flow of it all feels that good––these are lived experiences that happen through music education presented by the DSO. Whether connecting with the DSO through concerts in Orchestra Hall, watching educational webcasts, or attending events in their own neighborhood, students are encouraged to try and inspired to participate in these avenues for music-making and self-expression. The growing collaboration between the DSO and communities across Detroit—known as the Detroit Strategy—is emblematic of the organization’s vision to create musical and educational engagements that eliminate barriers. Priding ourselves as “the most accessible orchestra,” it is our mission to impact lives near and far through music.


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“We are most successful when we learn and grow alongside our students. Listening and responsiveness guide us in the pursuit of student well-being, superseding assumptions around age, race, gender identity, socioeconomic status, or place of residence. Our work at the DSO centers people as the experts in their own experience.” – Karisa Antonio, DSO Senior Director of Social Innovation and Learning

At the core of our work is ensuring that students across the city have access to instruments and programs. With this goal in mind, we launched Detroit Harmony in 2019 as a citywide collaborative effort with a mission to eliminate the struggle between student success and connection to resources. Since its launch, over 2,500 instruments have been donated to the initiative, refurbished, and prepped for use. Distribution to local schools and community partners has now begun. The ambitious program has already made a significant impact in classrooms such as Detroit Prep Academy on the city’s east side, where students in Denzel Donald’s music classroom spent a morning trying out and learning about string, wind, and percussion instruments that were donated to their school through the program. “I’m blessed to be a part of this because now my kids have instruments, and we can grow our music program. Seeing instruments in their hands is a dream come true,” Donald said during the school

visit. “Music gives kids a different perspective on education. It allows them to be able to understand things and have a sense of critical thinking; it boosts confidence and helps kids develop in areas where they may have not realized that they could. Even if they’re not planning to be a musician, my goal is to make sure that I am giving them the opportunity to explore and have a chance to see that type of future for themselves.” The Detroit Strategy works across sectors from early childhood and student education to health and service partnerships, workforce development, and an inclusive range of musical performances. “It’s about listening and responsiveness; co-design and co-implementation,” says Karisa Antonio, DSO Senior Director of Social Innovation and Learning. “Then it has the evaluation component so that we know the things we’re doing have an impact and live out our intentions. The DSO as an organization is committed to a spirit of excellence. Our education programs are no different. We are committed to a high level of care and excellence for each and every one of our constituents. Many of our students live in the city of Detroit. They deserve the very best we have to offer.” >> 4

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There are various entry points that can be the jumpstart to a fruitful relationship with music-making, and the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center campus is filled with musical opportunities. Starting with early childhood, the DSO’s partnership with the PNC Foundation and Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) includes the PNC Grow Up Great program, which offers interactive school visits with a teaching artist and support from DSO musicians. The artists lay the groundwork, offering students at the pre-K level lessons on music concepts and genres combined with literary skills that help to build a foundational understanding of music. Serving as a curriculum prompt for teachers is the W.K. Kellogg Foundation-sponsored Music Toolbox — a creative, inspirational confidencebuilder for teachers to incorporate music into their classrooms, even if they don’t have any musical experience. “The Music Toolbox aims to affirm and support music making in early childhood at locations across the city of Detroit,” Antonio says. “Our teaching artists tapped into all these networks from homes to childcare centers and asked, ‘How do you use music in your classroom and what would be helpful to you?’ Through those conversations and collaborations, the Music Toolbox was born.” Aesthetically pleasing to the eye, the embellished box serves double duty as a drum and keeper of musical instruments from egg shakers to chimes, colorful scarves to imitate swishing of the wind, and a frog-shaped guiro ­—a percussion instrument with an open-ended hollow guard that makes a ratchet sound by rubbing a stick or tines along the notches.

Hosted on the DSO’s YouTube page is the Music Toolbox series—an interactive series led by the teaching artists. Children and caregivers explore themes like breath and movement; rhythm and sound; and exploration of instruments. A tutorial on creating toolboxes with materials found in your own home is also provided. “Music works,” says Antonio. “The goal is to support early childhood educators across Detroit and have this beautiful tool that they can use in imaginative ways to bring music into their environments. People naturally make music when they’re with children: they’re singing, chanting, drumming. We want to affirm the inherent musicality in these educators and their students. Additionally, through the Music Toolbox, we bring these educators together in supportive networks and affirm the importance of their work.” In spring 2023, the DSO welcomed all 33 Grow Up Great classrooms and over 700 pre-K students to The Max for an educational concert experience. Students heard a live string quartet and a narrator bring an illustrated story alive and participated by singing and moving along to the interactive program and engaging with activity stations, which were spread throughout the music center. The event marked the first time PNC Grow Up Great educators took students outside their classrooms to hear and see the DSO in Orchestra Hall. “I love seeing how all the little ones get to be hands-on, learning how to move their bodies, move their hands, and learning about the different instruments in a way that makes sense to them,” expressed Charnae Hunter, PNC volunteer and graduate student. When students have physical access to instruments and can begin an exploratory journey in music-making, worlds open; palettes of possibilities begin to form and there’s belief that something remarkable can happen—something life-changing.

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Education at the DSO is strongly rooted in listening, collaborating, and creating environments where everyone feels heard, supported, and appreciated. There is active belief in a model that puts students in the driver’s seat of their developmental pursuit—musically and personally. It is a holistic, integrated approach that shifts from exclusively focusing on music training to supporting the cognitive, social, emotional, and overall well-being of youth—with music as the foundation. This is a conceptual evolution from how youth orchestras have historically been structured. >> 6

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“In the past, it was always about getting the ‘cream of the crop,’ privileged and the most talented kids in the door,” says Debora Kang, DSO’s Director of Learning. “We can’t expect all of our students to become orchestral musicians, but what we can do is try to help students and ensure they become good human beings and find their own path. The whole child approach really respects the students as human first, and if they’re interested in pursuing music or anything else, we’ll support them along their journey.” This shift bridges the accessibility, acceptance, and opportunity gap formed by past industrywide practices that felt exclusive, rigid, and out of reach for many; and the existing partnership with Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) ensures Detroit proper receives the same exposure and opportunity as Metro Detroit and Southeastern Michigan. Through the Fisher Foundation’s partnership and their “Whole Child Program,” the educational evolution at the DSO is strengthened. Students in the Detroit Public School Community District are bused to The Max throughout the week for private lessons and have access to a student support coach to help with mental and emotional well-being. “We’re able to provide group and private lessons so that students with less resources, or who are not used to taking private lessons, have access and are able to progress in our other programs,” says Kang. Programs like Senza, a professional development framework for teens established in 2020, give students a sense of community and a platform to explore their curiosities. Senza focuses on mentorship, community engagement, and cultural and practical experiences, and ensures that students thrive in DSO’s education programs. “With the Senza program, it’s bigger than music itself because they care about other things that the children care about,” expresses Timothy Abrams Sr., parent of Senza student and trumpeter Timothy Abrams II. “This has broken his shell; his confidence level is up. He’s also grown in the trumpet, but when the team learned he did his own animation, they connected him to someone who could teach him how to animate better; now he has classes every Friday for animation.” For violist Madeline Hooper, who comes from a musical family, Senza cemented her interest in music, while also creating a stronger bond with her older siblings who each play an instrument. “It’s wonderful because she talks to them about it all the time,” expressed Tisa Johnson-Hooper, mother of Madeline. “Now she comes [to The Max] >>





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“We’re trying to change the way youth orchestras are and exist. At the core of everything we do is Detroit Strategy. We always make sure that we incorporate the city, or the people of the city, before we think about anything else. We are here to really support the youth that will eventually become adult citizens of Detroit.” – Debora Kang DSO Director of Learning








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with a sense of joy, purpose, and excitement, and it is evident that it’s from Senza because she’s had opportunities to meet other students who really have an interest in music; and particularly when other students look like you, it really does light that spark. They may not know what they want to do in 10 years, but programs like Senza are transformative. It’s a seed and they see purpose and excellence, and it motivates them.” The creation of Senza came out of responsibility felt by the learning, community, and engagement teams across the DSO. A realization came to the forefront that investment in students is critical on a holistic scale—especially coming out of a pandemic that saw human connection at a standstill. “We identified that there are many factors that play a role in musical excellence beyond being enrolled in a program,” Antonio says. “We know that students, no matter where they’re from, have barriers that impact their ability to have musical excellence. There are all these pieces to a student’s life that if we just ignore, they aren’t going to have the best experience with us, and we don’t want that.” Comprehensive programming lends itself to the well-rounded development of each individual and better fosters progress and confidence as students choose to transition into Civic Youth Ensembles or apply their music training to levels of their desire.

And students are thriving. Civic Youth Ensemble and Senza student Troy Perkins is an example. A bass player with talents that range from visual arts to business, Troy’s commitment to music came after teachers and mentors expressed the talent and potential they saw in him. His love for playing bass grew, and after seeing the DSO perform during his junior year at Renaissance High School, his audition and acceptance into the Civic Youth Ensemble soon followed. “We met at Renaissance, and since, he’s performed all over the city,” exclaims Kang. “He plays with The Slatkin String Quartet—a top group of all the principals in a chamber ensemble, and when he wanted to apply to the University of Michigan, the deadline was approaching fast, so we worked with him to prepare his audition tape, submitting it right at midnight.” 9

“As a result, he got into early admission at the U of M. In June, he played side-by-side with the DSO bass section at the Heroes Gala and later that month, he attended Interlochen on a full scholarship. So, when we talk about full circle, Troy is a prime example of how one thing can lead to another.” A bonus in Troy’s music trajectory is when he took his senior year graduation photos on the Orchestra Hall stage. His mom, Denise Perkins, sees it as a manifestation of what’s to come. “It meant a lot to us when he was able to take his photos on the stage. He said when he steps foot on the DSO stage, it’s like a glimpse into his future. We had shots of him on the stage performing and told him that he will be back performing with the DSO. I’m claiming that!” Through our educational programs and vast musical experiences, the DSO hopes to create a continuity of connection that begins at the pre-k level and expands to the teenage years and adulthood; one that reaches students early on in their curiosity around music and the students who dream of playing on the historic Orchestra Hall stage as professional musicians. “Our whole team is committed to making the music center a welcoming environment, one where students are celebrated; their successes are seen and acknowledged; and where they can really excel musically if that’s what they choose to do,” says Antonio. With continued support and intentional actions, there’s hope to supply access and education, create unique experiences, inspire personal growth, and instill a deep love of music in students for years to come. MADELINE HOOPER, VIOLA


“Children that grow in a musical community can understand the importance of respecting and listening to others without judgment. I always learn something new making music with young musicians.” —Jader Bignamini DSO Music Director



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JAZZY LIat the Fdso E


efore the days of streaming music online and having instant access to the artists you wanted to hear, John Erb remembers his father, Fred, going to “pretty extraordinary lengths” to have more jazz in his life. “I remember as a child, him installing an extra antenna at home so that he could catch his favorite WEMU radio broadcast programs every evening after dinner,” John shares. “My dad’s interest in jazz started early in his life. (When he attended) Cranbrook School, he was known to play his favorite records in the dorm, and later helped bring pianist Ralph Sutton to campus to perform.”



“Fred Erb understood that Detroit played a special role in the development of jazz traditions in the U.S. He believed the DSO would be a leader in continuing that legacy and helping to share it with the next generation of jazz musicians and audiences.” – JOHN ERB, PRESIDENT & CHAIR,FRED A. AND BARBARA M. ERB FAMILY FOUNDATION

While stationed in Maryland after joining the Army during World War II, Fred took weekend getaways to New York City. With leisure time in the big city, he was able to elevate his enjoyment of jazz music by experiencing some of the greatest performers—Billie Holiday, Art Tatum, and, among his favorites, saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer Sidney Bechet. With growing passion and appreciation for the art form, he felt inspired to nurture and preserve a vibrant jazz scene reminiscent of his days enjoying the vocal stylings and instrumentation of legendary musicians. In Detroit, this excitement could be felt during a night out at the Paradise Theatre (currently the home of your Detroit Symphony Orchestra), where attractions featured national talent ranging from Dinah Washington and Duke Ellington to Cab Calloway and Sammy Davis Jr. Fred’s support of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra started in the early 2000s with a $1.5 million investment and the establishment of the Fred A. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair in 2002. The chair was created to recognize the importance of jazz as part of the past, present, and future of the DSO and Orchestra Hall. “He saw the Jazz Creative Chair as not only an opportunity to bring the best jazz talent—in Detroit and around the world—to Orchestra Hall’s stage, but also to connect them to the region’s young rising stars through masterclasses and mentoring,” John says. The position was first held by late jazz legend and hometown mentor, trumpeter Marcus Belgrave. Belgrave’s ambition and intent to teach the next wave of jazz musicians and fortify Detroit’s jazz legacy aligned with then-DSO arts and education administrator Daisy Newman’s passionate advocacy for music education. Their partnership resulted in the formation of the DSO’s Civic Jazz Ensemble, to which they welcomed an inaugural class of jazz students, who are currently making their mark in music, locally and worldwide. Jazz training and education at the DSO has since evolved into three ensembles: Orchestra, Band, and Creative Jazz. With training from DSO musicians and educational

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sessions with local and international jazz artists, students engage in a curriculum focused on music theory and performance; improvisation, arrangement, and section playing; solos and collaboration; and a variety of jazz stylings that range from big band and classic jazz standards to modern and experimental styles that incorporate R&B, hip-hop, soul, and more. Continuing Erb’s vision of an abundance of jazz in Detroit, and keeping true to the role’s intention, the Creative Jazz Chair has been held by a range of artists including both Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and now Terence Blanchard, who has served in the position since 2012. Blanchard, an award-winning trumpeter/ composer and 2024 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, is a direct link for students to get a glimpse into the jazz life on a worldwide scale–from stage to movie screens; composing and improvising, his skill and knowledge also continues the legacy of great mentors in the DSO’s lineage. In addition to curating the Paradise Jazz Series presented on the Orchestra Hall stage, he teaches masterclasses and hosts workshops with CYE (Civic Youth Ensembles).



“One of the cool things about working at the DSO is working with the Civic Youth Ensembles. It’s been amazing to watch a lot of those young musicians grow up to be professionals. To see them in their youth, to see them wide-eyed and excited to learn about music, gets me excited because I remember those days,” Blanchard says. “With the Paradise Jazz Series, I’m most proud of our commitment to education and our connection to the community.” That connection and growth is evident in trumpeter and frequent DSO collaborator and educator Kris Johnson’s Paradise Theatre Big Band. During the 2022–2023 season, Blanchard joined the ensemble as they debuted in Orchestra Hall. Blanchard recognizes it as a proud moment and testament to the quality of education that takes place in the DSO’s CYE training programs, under the Wu Family Academy of Learning and Engagement banner. “When I first met Kris, he was in high school and part of the educational system at the DSO. He’s risen throughout the ranks and now he has become an international star—great arranger and composer. I’m very proud of all the work that we’ve put in to foster this talent. Most of the

people in the Big Band are local musicians that came through the education system here.” Kris—who studied under Belgrave as part of the initial jazz cohort, and then went on to direct Belgrave’s son, Kasan during their Big Band debut—is just one example of the mentee to mentor pipeline at the DSO. A brief list includes saxophonist and DSO Civic Jazz Ensemble Director Marcus Elliot, and bassist and DSO Civic Creative Jazz Ensemble Director Darell ‘Red’ Campbell Jr. The jazz form is one that welcomes musicians to fully engage with thoughts and emotions. It’s a conversation piece with a free-flowing approach that encourages you to expand outside of your comfort zone. Creating spaces where education is met with fun, community, and mentorship allows music-making to happen instinctively, which elevates the experience and provides space for collaboration to take shape organically. “When you take these kids and give them all the knowledge that you have, it’s amazing what they’ll do with it, and it’s amazing how they’ll grow and become musicians that inspire us,” Blanchard expresses. “It’s back and forth; it’s not about hoarding information or hiding it or holding on to anything. It’s about being in this community together, helping each other grow and become better people and musicians.” This is the synergy of evolution that John says his father would have loved to see. “The DSO’s jazz ensembles and bands— with mentorship from each of the Jazz Creative Director Chairs over the past 20 years—have developed some amazing young jazz musicians. My father would have been thrilled to see how things have played out.” The Erb Family Foundation’s dedication to sustaining Fred Erb’s vision is a guiding presence in the DSO’s commitment to keeping Detroit’s jazz ecosystem thriving and innovative. Through their endowment support of the DSO’s jazz-centered programming, the Foundation helps feed our passion for music and jazz education.

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inside the classroom: creative jazz with


n ease and sway of cool fills the space when Darell ‘Red’ Campbell Jr. enters a room or graces any stage. His smile greets you before words are exchanged and instantly it’s like you made a new friend. It could be accredited to the smoothness that comes with being a jazz musician, but in Red’s case, it’s also part of his approachability when working with young people as a music educator and being a product of Detroit’s robust music scene—a journey that expanded under Marcus Belgrave’s mentorship and music training.


Red’s connection with the DSO started in the early 2000s as a student in Civic Youth Orchestra taking private lessons with bassist Robert (Bob) Gladstone. During down time in a rehearsal, Belgrave heard him improvising notes on his bass over The Nutcracker and asked if he had ever played jazz. “I said ‘no,’ and he said ‘well, meet me here on Wednesday and we’re going to start a jazz band. That was the beginning of DSO jazz. So, I’ve been here since day one when Marcus and Daisy (Newman) started the jazz program for CYE. My whole jazz career began in Orchestra Hall.” The multi-instrumentalist (who played piano and violin as a youth, before making bass his main instrument) is now in his seventh season as director of the CYE’s Creative Jazz Ensemble. He’s also the first director of the DSO’s Detroit Pistons Bucket Band, established in 2019 in partnership with Pistons owner Tom Gores, vice chairperson Arn Tellem, and Detroit Public Schools Community District, with a mission to widen musical opportunities to young students in Detroit. Both the Creative Jazz Ensemble and the Bucket Band tap into unique sound artistry and self-expression, exposing young people (both new and familiar to music-making) to the range of styles and opportunities music can bring to one’s life. “There are students who learn by note and there are students who learn by ear, and there’s a vibe thing. It’s important to teach the whole kid and be inclusive,” Red says. “Music keeps evolving and my approach is being able to mix up styles; so, I’ll take hip-hop and put it with classical music, and same with jazz; electronic versus acoustic. Inclusivity and teamwork are important.” Creative Jazz Ensemble takes a non-traditional approach to jazz instrumentation and theory, giving intermediate to advanced students the

opportunity to collaborate and arrange their own charts. It’s also a space where improvisation is encouraged, and students have freedom to talk out their feelings, musically. “I get the student who can play, but they’ve never done improv,” he shares. “So, the first thing is to find a common ground and build a friendship with each other. We spend time talking and discovering ways that we relate outside of music; every day is about expressing and elaborating on what you feel, and I teach the technical tools behind playing it. If you feel rage, let me show you how to play rage on your instrument. Music education needs to cover all bases and be all things music.” With jazz, there is a destination, but how you get there is your personal voyage. It’s about dialogue and feeling; ideation and working together; pairing this note with an abstract idea then collaborating with other musicians to execute the composition. There’s technical aspects and theory, but instinct also shines. Students from Spain Elementary who take part in the Detroit Pistons Bucket Band experience this on a multitude of levels. From classroom instruction with Red, where young people gain an introduction to music theory and some of the rudiments, to taking their musicianship to the Pistons court where they can flex their percussion skills during a 60-second timeout, dreams never imagined come true. “My goal for the Bucket Band is to play together, listen to the person next to you, support them, and look cool doing it,” he says. “I’m big on kids and people just trying stuff, and here, you get a cool space to figure it all out and just try.” Red recalls his days as part of Civic Jazz and the connections made due to time spent in and outside of music. “Marcus didn’t just show up on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, he was involved in our lives; whatever we needed. We all had dinners together, he provided a ride, music, instruments; he would be at our schools making sure we stayed focused.

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He was that guy, and his approach was whatever you don’t have, I’m going to help you figure it out and navigate it. He showed up for us. That’s what I became. I know all my students and their families. That level of care is crucial.” As with any of the educational programs at the DSO, the goal is to nurture each student holistically and assist them in becoming well-rounded members of society with a lasting appreciation for music. Adapting and implementing those traits in the work Red does today creates a solid foundation of support. “Being able to connect people to something so big is what keeps me here and invested. With all the creative programming, working with the Urban Art Orchestra (a unique Detroitbased 22-piece ensemble under the direction of saxophonist De’Sean Jones), and still sticking to the classics – the Stravinskys, Bachs, etc. The DSO is working hard to be the soundtrack to the community in different ways and we have donors behind it that help to make it happen. I love it.” There is a jazz history flowing throughout Detroit that connects the city and its musicians in a way that inspires collaboration and continues to evolve. From Fred Erb’s vision to the indelible leadership and support Marcus Belgrave imprinted on jazz education, onto the richness and support Terence Blanchard provides at the DSO and throughout the Detroit community, the fabric of the DSO’s jazz programming is legacy, lineage, distinct vision, and mentorship.

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“ What Marcus Belgrave passed down was more than just a job and a legacy thing, but a lifelong treasure. What he passed down literally helped me become the adult and hands-on teacher I am today.” – Darell ‘Red’ Campbell Jr. CYE Alum; Director of Creative Jazz Ensemble & Detroit Pistons Bucket Band 20

WU FAMILY LEGACY: p u r p o s e

Changing Lives Through Music 21

to engage with instruments, creates enthusiasm for music-making and incorporating music and the arts into daily life.

This is the Wu’s gift and legacy.

The foundation of Clyde and Helen’s relationship was rooted in music: Clyde’s deep knowledge and appreciation for classical music, matched with Helen’s training as a gifted classical pianist. That passion is threaded throughout their family culture—across generations. Their niece, June Wu, a generous supporter of the DSO’s Wu Family Academy, is a pediatric plastic surgeon in New York and an accomplished pianist who still gets together with friends from medical school to play chamber music. Music didn’t start off as a love, but after attending Interlochen Arts Camp for one summer—an experience encouraged by her uncle Clyde—she understood how transformative music can be. “I got there and saw how good everybody was, and I really got exposed to people who loved it, and I thought, ‘this is actually really cool.’ It was good to be in an environment where people have similar interest, love classical music, and want to do things with classical music. The greatest thing with this is that you train people to be lifelong lovers of music.” For her aunt and uncle, June says, it was about wanting to do something that supported music education and helped to train the next generation––even if music was not the primary professional choice––they wanted to encourage people to keep music in their lives. “Music was always something that my grandparents wanted to foster in all of us and teach us,” says Nicholas Wu, grandson of Clyde and Helen. “I remember going to the young people’s concert at the DSO on a Saturday morning, and it being a great way to learn about music and the symphony as a kid. Walking backstage with our grandparents and seeing how they interacted with everyone, learning about the musicians and their craft, to even being at home and having the unique experience of playing piano with my grandmother; it was very special and valuable.” You may recognize Nicholas from your radio or TV screen discussing news stories he has worked on as a congressional reporter for Politico. >>

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he impact of Dr. Clyde and Helen Wu shines like a beacon in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s story. Visionaries with a heart for exposing youth to musical experiences, their passion aligned perfectly with the DSO’s mission. Today, their vision remains a constant presence as we continue to build accessible, quality music education and training programs, welcoming students of all abilities and backgrounds to connect and build in impactful and transformative ways. Under the Wu Family Academy for Learning and Engagement (WFA) banner, DSO facilities are a second home to hundreds of students who gather to connect, learn, and make music in the Jacob Bernard Pincus Music Education Center classrooms, and experience the magic of Orchestra Hall—performing live from a stage that echoes with a history of greatness. What started with 50 kids and one ensemble in 1970 has blossomed into what we know today as the Civic Youth Ensembles (CYE)—an enriching training program encompassing 14 classical and jazz ensembles including: two full orchestras, four string ensembles, three wind ensembles, three jazz ensembles, the Dresner Foundation Allegro Ensemble (an introductory string program endowed by the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation); and the Detroit Pistons Bucket Band, a percussion ensemble that teaches entry-level techniques in a unique and creative way. “When we started with the DSO in the late 1990s, we established certain principles: reach young people and teach them about discipline, teach them teamwork, and a hope to engage them so that they will love art and music for the rest of their lives,” Dr. Clyde Wu expressed in a 2013 interview with TV producer/host Liz Aiken. “Discipline is important because you can’t accomplish anything in life without it; teamwork, because if you goof, the whole orchestra will hear you, so you really have to learn to play with each other; and the love, when you are heavily investing your time and energy in the training, you will develop a love for it.” Exposure to spaces like DSO’s Pincus Music Education Center and the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, combined with opportunities


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Before establishing his journalism career, Nicholas’s youth was spent as a clarinetist in DSO’s Civic Youth Ensembles and attending Interlochen with his younger sister, Maddie. The exposure to a variety of musical styles, techniques, and playing alongside “highly skilled, and world-class musicians” are fond memories for him, specifically his experience with the |wind ensemble. “My wind instructor, Ken Thompson (CYE Director), who I keep in touch with, was very big on modern music and we played all sorts of interesting tone poems and modern pieces that I would have never had exposure to before,” he shares. “The appreciation for different kinds of beauty is something I think classical music—and genres beyond classical music—teaches you very well.” The camaraderie is a special aspect as well. Nicholas recalls fond memories of rehearsing and discussing the craft of music with fellow students on weekend mornings, and at Interlochen. “I was an intermediate camper with a group of very like-minded people who were all interested in music and eager to learn.” Though he no longer plays the clarinet, he acknowledges the significance that his music education and training continue to play in his professional development. “In my world as a reporter, I have to write things and then go out on radio or TV to talk about it to everyone. It’s so important to learn how to handle yourself in front of an audience, have stage presence, and put yourself out there; I’m a better person through all of it because of the music education I received. So much of it is discipline, critical thinking, camaraderie, and an appreciation of the arts, as my grandparents always talked about. It makes you a wellrounded person.” Understanding the grounding qualities and the worlds that can be created through this art form is where beauty begins to blossom. Maddie Wu, Nicholas’s sister, embodies her grandparents’ vision and belief in music as transformative and something all should engage with. She remembers the days of attending the young people’s concerts at the DSO, hearing

classical music fill her grandparents’ house, and as her brother mentioned, fun piano lessons and duets alongside her grandmother. She credits her father, David, and grandparents for her love and passion for the arts. “It was a lot of great exposure. They had so many records and CDs constantly playing, and my grandfather always talked about the combination of music and medicine in his life and what music education meant to him,” she shares. “I knew I wasn’t going to be a professional pianist, but something my grandparents were adamant about was how important art was going to be for my life and finding my own path to it; finding purpose in it, in my own way. I’m thankful for that.” Music showed up for the current medical student throughout her undergraduate studies at Princeton University, where she declared music theater as her minor. The journey led her to various artistic paths, where she served as a music director, pianist, and producer with additional experience in arranging, orchestrating, and arts administration. It was a time of exploration that turned into a fruitful dance with the arts, and imparted creative ways to engage with music, collaborate, and connect with people all over the world. “I’m pursuing medicine now, but I feel, as my grandparents did, that you have to put instruments in students’ hands to have that holistic learning. There’s power to music and the arts and the way they connect people through diverse ways and mediums.” Leading a creativity-driven life with music at its core is an eye-opening experience that can teach you more about yourself, others, and the world around you.


The Wu Impact

Dr. Clyde and Helen Wu married their passion for instilling discipline, teamwork, and the lifelong love of music in students with the DSO’s desire to grow and expand their music training program, and birthed a partnership that advocates for a deep understanding and appreciation of the arts for Detroit youth. With support, a sound vision, and intentionality, youth are empowered to have confidence in their creative decisions. The Wu’s impact is seen in the lives led by their children, grandchildren, and nieces and nephews; it’s felt throughout the DSO’s Jacob Bernard Pincus Music Center, housed inside of the Wu Family Academy of Learning & Engagement, where you can see students in practice rooms learning technique and compositions; or taking a breather from rehearsals to hang out with friends and grab snacks while discussing music and other interests. And it’s witnessed in the array of careers and accomplishments past CYE students have established and achieved for themselves. It is evident that when you provide access and deliver a memorable experience that inspires engagement, a palpable energy and transformational moment forms that speaks to the influence music has in shaping lives and character.

That’s the beauty of music. That’s the beauty of the Wu Family legacy.

Memories and Duets with Clyde and Helen from Maddie, Nicholas, and June Maddie + Helen: Saint-Saens Carnival of the Animals “One of our favorite pieces is Carnival of the Animals. She would go into her repertoire in her house and pull stuff for me or pull her original music that had all the markings from when she studied it in college. It was just so precious to me. When they passed away, I was able to keep all that music.” Nicholas + Helen: Mozart Concerto for Clarinet and Piano “The Mozart Clarinet Concerto that we did together a few times, there’s a piano accompaniment that you can do with it, and it’s one of the most famous pieces you can learn on clarinet. And it was fun doing that with my grandmother, playing and just spending time together. It was valuable.” June, Civic Youth Ensembles, and Clyde: Mozart Concerto for Piano and Orchestra During the celebration of Dr. Clyde and Helen Wu’s 50th wedding anniversary, the DSO put on a special concert in Orchestra Hall featuring students from the Civic Youth Ensembles. At the Wu’s request, playing alongside the young musicians was their niece, pianist June Wu. “They wanted me to do it not because I was so good, but, they said, because you’re now a surgeon. You’re in a world that’s completely different from music and we want you to go there and let the kids see who you are, like a role model and show them you don’t have to be a musician to enjoy music at a high level. It was scary; these high school kids are very good. They even had Clyde conduct some sort of Pops piece that everyone knew. There was so much joy, and that smile on his face was amazing.”



Education & Scholarship Funders The following funders have invested in the vision of the Wu Family Academy for Learning and Engagement (WFA) through the support of education initiatives at the DSO. Without these funds, we would not be able to change lives by expanding the understanding of the arts, empowering students to have confidence in their creative decisions, and sparking a passion for music that will last a lifetime.

At the DSO, we envision a city where every K-12 student can choose their musical destiny, a city where instruments are available to each and every child, accompanied by excellent and supportive musical education. Every child deserves this choice. That’s why, together with investors like you, we offer more than 100 annual and endowed scholarships at the Wu Family Academy for Learning & Engagement every season. We have more to do.

Join us today.

Paul M. Angell Family Foundation Aptiv Foundation Mandell & Madeleine Berman Foundation Penny & Harold Blumenstein Future Audiences Fund Ms. Debra Bonde Robert & Lucinda Clement Fund for Music Education Jack, Evelyn, and Richard Cole Family Foundation Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan Detroit Pistons Vera & Joseph Dresner Foundation The Fred A. & Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation Ford Foundation Ford Motor Company Fund Stanley & Judith Frankel Family Foundation Charles T. Harris & Laurie Lindemulder Harris Dr. Karen Hrapkiewicz David & Sheri Jaffa The Kellman Scholars Mary Lambert Liebler Family Foundation Macys

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Deborah Miesel Scholarship Endowment Craig & Shari Morgan David R. & Sylvia J. Nelson Foundation for Arts & Letters Sheila Paton PNC Bank Dr. Glenda D. Price Mr. & Mrs. David Provost Renaissance (MI) Chapter of the Links The Bea & Harry Shapiro Fund for Keyboard Education Bill & Chris Shell Susan Shevrin Stone Foundation of Michigan Sun Communities Inc. Peter & Carol Walters Warner Norcross + Judd LLP Elaine Weingarden Wells Fargo Advisors Ilene Wenner & Shari Morgan Scholarship Paul Wingert Scholarship Drs. David & Bernadine Wu Young Woman’s Home Association Burton A. Zipser & Sandra D. Zipser Foundation Dr. George & Joyce Blum Michael Thain Cameron & Martha Cavanagh Cameron

Transformational Support DSO Impact Campaign Cabinet Phillip Wm. Fisher, Co-Chair Danny Kaufman, Co-Chair David Assemany Joanne Danto Mark Davidoff Ric Huttenlocher Renato Jamett Alan J. Kaufman Sandy Morrison David T. Provost

Erik Rönmark Ralph Skiano David Wu, MD DSO IMPACT CAMPAIGN ADVISORS: Chacona Baugh Penny & Harold Blumenstein Peter D. Cummings James B. Nicholson Nancy Schlichting Joel D. Tauber

Thanks The DSO is grateful to the donors who have made extraordinary endowment investments through the DSO Impact Campaign or multi-year, comprehensive gifts to support general operations, capital improvements, or special programs.

FOUNDING FAMILIES Julie & Peter Cummings APLF The Davidson-Gerson Family and the William Davidson Foundation The Richard C. Devereaux Foundation Erb Family and the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation The Fisher Family and the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation Stanley & Judy Frankel and the Samuel & Jean Frankel Foundation Danialle & Peter Karmanos, Jr. Mort & Brigitte Harris Foundation APLF Linda Dresner & Ed Levy, Jr. APLF Shari & Craig Morgan APLF, MM James B. & Ann V. Nicholson and PVS Chemicals, Inc. APLF Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Clyde & Helen Wu◊ VISIONARIES Mr. & Mrs. Richard L. Alonzo APLF Penny & Harold Blumenstein APLF Mr. & Mrs. Phillip Wm. Fisher APLF, MM Alan J. & Sue Kaufman and Family MM Shari & Craig Morgan APLF, MM Paul & Terese Zlotoff Mrs. Richard C. Van Dusen Christine & David Provost MM Paul & Terese Zlotoff

CHAMPIONS Mandell & Madeleine Berman Foundation APLF Mr. and Mrs. Raymond M. Cracchiolo Joanne Danto & Arnold Weingarden Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation DTE Energy Foundation Ford Motor Company Fund Mr. and Mrs. Morton E. Harris ◊ William & Story John John S. & James L. Knight Foundation The Kresge Foundation Mrs. Bonnie Larson APLF Brian Meer & Lisa Meer The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Ms. Deborah Miesel Dr. William F. Pickard The Polk Family Bernard & Eleanor Robertson Stephen M. Ross Family of Clyde and Helen Wu APLF LEADERS Applebaum Family Philanthropy Charlotte Arkin Estate Mr. & Mrs. Lee Barthel Marvin & Betty Danto Family Foundation APLF Adel & Walter Dissett MM Herman & Sharon Frankel Ruth & Al◊ Glancy Mary Ann & Robert Gorlin APLF Mary L. Gwizdala Ronald M. & Carol◊ Horwitz Richard H. & Carola Huttenlocher MM John C. Leyhan Estate Bud & Nancy Liebler Richard & Jane Manoogian Foundation David & Valerie McCammon Mr. & Mrs. Eugene A. Miller Pat & Hank◊ Nickol Jack & Aviva Robinson◊ Martie & Bob Sachs Mr. & Mrs.◊ Alan E. Schwartz Drs. Doris Tong & Teck Soo Paul & Terese Zlotof

BENEFACTORS Mr.◊ & Mrs. Robert A. Allesee Mr. David Assemany & Mr. Jeffery Zook APLF MM

W. Harold & Chacona W. Baugh APLF Gwen & Richard Bowlby MM Robert & Lucinda Clement Lois & Avern Cohn MM Mary Rita Cuddohy Estate Margie Dunn & Mark Davidoff APLF, MM DSO Musicians MM Bette Dyer Estate Michael & Sally Feder MM Marjorie S. Fisher Fund MM Dr. Marjorie M. Fisher & Mr. Roy Furman Mr. & Mrs. Aaron Frankel MM Barbara Frankel & Ronald Michalak MM Victor◊ & Gale Girolami Fund The Glancy Foundation, Inc. APLF Herbert & Dorothy Graebner◊ Richard Sonenklar & Gregory Haynes MM Mr. & Mrs. David Jaffa Renato & Elizabeth Jamett MM Max Lepler & Rex Dotson MM Allan & Joy Nachman MM Mariam C. Noland & James A. Kelly APLF Ann & Norman◊ Katz Dr. Melvin A. Lester◊ Florine Mark Michigan Arts & Culture Council Geoffrey S. Nathan & Margaret E. Winters APLF, MM Roger & Kathy Penske APLF Dr. Glenda D. Price Ruth Rattner Mr. & Mrs.◊ Lloyd E. Reuss Mr. & Mrs. Fred Secrest◊ Jane & Larry Sherman Cindy McTee & Leonard Slatkin Marilyn Snodgrass Estate Mr. and Mrs. Arn Tellem APLF Nancy Schlichting & Pamela Theisen APLF Mr. James G. Vella MM Eva von Voss and Family MM Key: MM DSO Musicians Fund for Artistic Excellence APLF Anne Parsons Leadership Fund ◊ Deceased

What Visionary


Welcome to the DSO Impact Campaign. With a goal of inspiring $75 million in new endowment, this campaign is fueled by transformative leadership and aims to impact the DSO and Detroit for generations. The story of the DSO has always been one of courageous decisions, big bets, and no compromises on what matters most: supremely gifted musicians performing music that connects to the heart and brings audiences to their feet. Generations of donors have made the DSO what it is today. What happens tomorrow will be whatever we can imagine – but it depends on forward-thinking investors like you who know the rewards of smart risk-taking. We will never hold back, because it’s not enough to be at the cutting edge. With you, the DSO will continually define the edge.

TO JOIN US AND LEARN MORE about impacting your community through an investment with the DSO, please contact: ALEX KAPORDELIS Senior Director of Advancement (313) 576-5198

CASSIDY SCHMID Director of Individual Giving (313) 576-5115

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