STEP BOLDLY: Building Confidence with a Reliable Performance Stage
Grant Year: 2023 | Focus Area: Arts, Culture & History| Amount: $108,364| Grant Status: In progress
The Pensacola Children's Chorus started in 1990 and was operated by the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra. In 1994, Pensacola Children's Chorus obtained their own nonprofit status. Over the years, interest to participate grew quickly, and one choir has now expanded to 14 choirs, reaching Downtown Pensacola, Northwest Florida and Southern Alabama. The mission of the Pensacola Children's Chorus is to foster the personal and social growth of its members and engage the community through inspirational musical experiences. Their annual scheduled events are supplemented by 25+ community performances at assisted living facilities, churches, and other community spaces. A robust tuition assistance initiative provides access to all programs for singers with significant financial need. Last season, Pensacola Children's Chorus awarded over $60K in financial aid directly benefitting over 100 singers. Through their various programs, the Pensacola Children's Chorus serves approximately 300 students annually and ensures they prioritize programs, maintain a sustainable infrastructure, and further a culture of inclusivity where young people benefit from, thrive through, and value music.
OVERVIEW OF THE PROPOSED PROJECT
The performance stage utilized by the Pensacola Children's Chorus is derelict, with creaking boards and shaky stairs which divert focus away from personal growth, and instead, toward one's personal safety. Audiences rarely focus on the stage itself, but for singers, a stage is a literal foundation—not just for their feet, but also as the platform upon which they build confidence and pride. IMPACT 100 funds will be used to create a reliable performance stage to craft an entirely new performance experience with a newly constructed set; craft an orchestra pit cover to extend the usable floor closer to the audience; and acquire stage curtains to direct audience focus to the singers. The new performance stage and pit cover will be crafted with a steel infrastructure that is highly durable and structurally stable. These frames will be topped with platforms built from multilayered wood decking that is designed to dampen sound. Two sets of stage curtains would remove bulky lights, stage equipment, and props from audience view. With a dependable stage, singers can shift focus from safety to showcasing their hard work, thereby solidifying life skills by performing. With more confident singers, audiences can take greater pride in the wealth of Northwest Florida's youthful talent.
EXPECTED IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY
The population that will most directly benefit from this project are the members of the Pensacola Children's Chorus. Of the 300 singers each season, over 90% reside in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. Performance, not personal safety, should be the focus during concerts, and the aged performance stage is soon nearing the end of its repairable state. Built in 2004, the performance stage is in a constant state of triage and repair. A replacement performance stage is critical and will benefit the 300 young performers as well as local and regional audiences who will experience a more immersive performance. Nearly 15,000 individuals viewed a performance during the 2022-2023 season, and 98% of them reside in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. Combined, this project is expected to impact at least 15,300 individuals per year. Singers and the audiences attending the performances are diverse in race, age and gender with 40% of the singers receiving tuition assistance. This project will impact the overall quality of Pensacola Children's Chorus performances and will provide opportunities to create better performers, resulting in more memorable, and impactful experiences for 15,000+ Northwest Floridians.