LSM Newswire

Monday, March 9, 2009

PSO Joins Orchestras Feeding America to Benefit Preble Street, April 4 & 5

Portland Symphony Orchestra to join Orchestras Feeding America to Benefit Preble Street, April 4 and 5
National food drive inspired by the upcoming film The Soloist

PORTLAND, Maine The Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO) will participate in Orchestras Feeding America, the first national food drive by America's symphony orchestras. Volunteers will collect non-perishable food at the PSO's "Dance! Dance! Dance!" concerts featuring Music Director Robert Moody conducting with Fred Strickler, tap dancer, and Neos Dance Theater on April 4 and 5 in the lobby of Merrill Auditorium. All food collected will be donated to Preble Street. For hours and collection details visit portlandsymphony.com.

To date, almost 200 orchestras have come together to combat hunger in their communities through Orchestras Feeding America, and the number of participants is growing daily. The project will take place in March and April, and is organized by the League of American Orchestras (representing the nation's professional, volunteer and youth orchestras) and Feeding America's network of over 200 food banks and 63,000 agencies. The drive was inspired by the true story characterized in the upcoming film The Soloist starring Jamie Fox and Robert Downey Jr.

Ari Solotoff, PSO's Executive Director, stated, "We all are feeling the effects of this economic crisis, but we cannot let that stop us from helping our neighbors in greater need. Our orchestra's music uplifts people, but with this project we can do more to support the community that has supported us for so long."

One in eight Americans is at risk of hunger. According to the USDA, there are 36 million people at risk of hunger in the U.S.; 12 million of them are children. Maine is one of the two most food-insecure states in the nation, and at Preble Street, the demand for emergency food assistance has increased 30%. The food pantry and soup kitchen have served a record number of meals in the past four months.

The Soloist, directed by Joe Wright, will be released by Paramount Pictures to theaters nationwide on April 24. A Dreamworks Pictures/Universal Pictures presentation in association with Studio Canal and Participant Media, the film is based on the true story of the relationship between Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez and Nathaniel Ayers, a gifted Juilliard-trained string player whose mental illness landed him among the homeless on the streets of Los Angeles. Their relationship expanded to include staff and musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The Soloist, which also features the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is a testament to the redemptive power of music and a reminder of our connections to the most vulnerable among us.

Ticket prices for the "Dance! Dance! Dance!" concerts range from $17 to $62, with special pricing available for students, seniors and groups. All Portland Symphony Orchestra tickets are sold through PortTix at (207) 842-0800 or www.porttix.com. (Phone and internet orders subject to $5 per ticket handling fee.) Tickets may also be purchased in person at the box office at 20 Myrtle St., Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.

Serving the city of Portland, the State of Maine, and Northern New England, the PSO is the largest performing arts organization in Maine. With critically acclaimed performances and broad community engagement, the PSO is widely regarded as one of the top symphony orchestras of its size in the country. For more information visit portlandsymphony.com.

Preble Street works to make sure that youth, adults, and families who have no home will not go hungry, will not have to be on the street when they are tired or sick or cold, will not have to live in fear and danger, and will have a chance to move beyond homelessness. For more information visit preblestreet.org.

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