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Community-Forward Music
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Community-Forward Music

February 5, 2019

When Music Starts and Ends with Community

In recent years, we’ve been working to develop a model of music-making that I like to think of as “community-forward.”

A lot of the music industry is artist-forward. A songwriter or composer or producer has an idea, puts something together, maybe brings in some other musicians, records or performs it, and an audience receives it. There’s a kind of linear, one-sided-ness to the creative process.

But what happens when the community comes first?

LiveConnections’ audiences are 80% youth from Philadelphia public schools, 10% youth and adults with disabilities from schools and human service organizations, and 10% concert-goers.

Since our first Bridge Session 10 years ago, LiveConnections has prioritized an interactive model of performance, where learning and experimentation are mixed in with high-quality artistry.

As we’ve expanded our in-school programming, we have focused on amplifying the voices of young people. We provide a framework for them to craft their own stories and songs, with professional artists helping youth take their work to the next level.

Coming up on March 10, at our “A Song Everyone Can Sing” Community Sing, you’ll be able to experience how we have flipped the script entirely. We have asked a whole team of artists to learn from and work alongside community partners to collaboratively generate brand new music. The result is as multi-faceted and complex as the participants themselves, offering multiple ways to engage with music through sound, movement and visuals.

This kind of creative process is circular. The interests and experiences of the audience drive the final product, and the process and product keep on changing. The artists become guides, vehicles, using their expertise to provide direction for ideas that really belong to the whole community.

That’s community-forward music.

Melinda Steffy, Executive Director

A Song Everyone Can Sing: a Community Sing featuring VOCES8
Sunday, March 10, 2019 | 3:00 PM
Temple Performing Arts Center, 1837 N. Broad St., Philadelphia

We’re dreaming big about accessibility and inclusion. Our multi-media music extravaganza welcomes EVERYONE to make music together. The cornerstone is a new choral work that invites people with diverse abilities to participate through singing, movement, visuals and technology.

Collaborators include renowned a cappella ensemble VOCES8, composer Jay Fluellen, movement artist Shavon Norris, poet Daniel Simpson, Drexel University’s ExCITe Center, accessibility leader Art-Reach, and choirs from Merakey Behavioral Health, Northeast High School, Our Lady of Confidence Day School and Overbrook School for the Blind.

Just $1 to register; individuals and choirs/groups are invited to attend.

Upcoming Bridge Sessions

LiveConnections’ signature Bridge Sessions at World Cafe Live blend live performance with hands-on participation, allowing groups from schools or human service organizations to experience the joy and power of music.

Please contact to inquire about attending or observing a session.

  • February 11 – Language of Rhythm
  • February 12 – Jazz Speaks
  • February 25 – African-American Spirituals: Roots & Reverberations
  • February 26 – African-American Spirituals: Roots & Reverberations
  • March 11 – A Song Everyone Can Sing: a special session with VOCES8