New West Symphony Gets $35,000 in Grants for Harmony Project

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The New West Symphony has received three local grants totaling more than $35,000 to support the Harmony Project of Ventura County.

The grants come from the Barbara Barnard Smith Fund for World Musics, Montecito Bank & Trust and the city of Ventura.

Affiliated with Harmony Project Los Angeles and adopted by the New West Symphony in 2012, the Harmony Project of Ventura County promotes the healthy growth and development of children through music, aiming to bridge the social and academic gaps existing in the county. The project provides tuition-free music instruction, including the loaning of instruments, to 155 children from low-income families. Program instruction begins in third grade and follows students through high school.

The grant of $18,525 from the Barbara Barnard Smith Fund for World Musics (operated by the Ventura County Community Foundation) is for the purpose of including Latin American music in the Harmony Project’s curriculum. By providing the opportunity to study, practice, rehearse and perform various forms of Latin American music, students will diversity their musical knowledge and build pride in their cultural identity, according to New West.

Grants of $14,000 from the Ventura Parks, Recreation and Community Partnerships Department and $2,500 from Montecito Bank and Trust will go toward supporting the Harmony Project of Ventura County’s overriding mission of developing lifelong social and academic skills for some of Ventura’s neediest students.

Founded in 1995, the New West Symphony is a professional orchestra that draws its players from the rich talent pool of professional Los Angeles-area musicians. It is the resident company of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and the Oxnard Performing Arts Center.

A percussion ensemble from the New West Symphony Harmony Project of Ventura County play Walking on the Moon for Stewart Copeland, former drummer of The Police, at Sheridan Way Elementary School in Ventura.

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