Portland Youth Philharmonic Musicians Adapt to Virtual Practices and Performances

Portland Youth Philharmonic Musicians Adapt to Virtual Practices and Performances

Portland, OR. In the midst of a global pandemic, the Portland Youth Philharmonic is finding new ways to connect musicians with each other as well as the community at large. Following the cancellation of its 96th concert season, musicians and directors have replaced in-person practices, concerts and lectures with Zoom calls, YouTube videos and Facebook live streams.

As the PYP continues to adapt to COVID-related changes, the public can engage with the nonprofit via Facebook and YouTube, where PYP posts live streams and a series of video talks entitled “Conversations with the Conductor.” Young musicians interested in joining the PYP may submit virtual auditions in preparation for next year’s season. You can see an example below:

Society Page interviewed four young musicians and composers — 14-year-old violinist Francie Lenhart, 11-year-old double bassist Rowan Lenhart, 13-year-old violinist Haruka Sakiyama, and 15-year-old violinist Koharu Sakiyama — to learn their perspectives on the changes they have had to make. 

In general, these musicians find virtual practices challenging. “You don’t actually get to hear your teachers or your actual sounds,” Haruka Sakiyama, explains. The musicians also point to technical glitches as a major setback: Rowan explains that the audio sometimes takes on a metallic quality or sounds as if the teacher is underwater.

Nevertheless, the musicians offer positives to the situation, all while keeping their good humor. “We don’t have to do the long car ride to practice,” says violinist Francie Lenhart, laughing. Haruka cites increased family time as a positive, while Koharu states: “In some ways, things are less chaotic. We have more time to just concentrate on practicing.”

From the Portland Youth Philharmonic’s website: In 1924, a group of visionary citizens established the Portland Junior Symphony Association (later renamed the Portland Youth Philharmonic Association or PYP for short). Building on the pioneering work of Mary V. Dodge, whose Irvington School Orchestra was the nucleus of the first Junior Symphony, the Association engaged Russian émigré Jacques Gershkovitch as conductor. PYP is the oldest youth orchestra in the United States. The structure and standards that it established for training young musicians in the 1920s became the prototype for youth orchestras across the country.

Over the years, thousands of young musicians have played in one or more of PYP’s ensembles. Some have gone on to professional careers in orchestras across the country, including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the National Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, as well as Juilliard and American String Quartets. Others have achieved great success in teaching music or exploring non-musical fields, while continuing to be accomplished amateur musicians and active supporters of the arts in their communities. Alumni often attribute much of their success in life to the discipline and teamwork they experienced as members of the Portland Youth Philharmonic.

Oregon Symphony Offers New Kid’s Storytime Online

Oregon Symphony Offers New Kid’s Storytime Online

Portland, OR. “Kids are at home, parents are home-schooling, and we believed we could help,” explains Norman Hunyh, the Associate Conductor of the Oregon Symphony. It was because of the dearth of summer activities for kids that Symphony Storytime was born. In each episode of the new virtual series, a narrator reads a classic children’s book while members of the Oregon Symphony provide background music and sound effects. Assistant Principal Oboist Karen Wagner and host Amy Haroldson (seen in the photo above) tell the story of a “Top Cat” who doesn’t want to share his house and favorite things. (photo credit, Jacob Wade). 

A lesson on the featured background instrument makes these 15-minute episodes both entertaining and educational. On June 25,  the first episodes of Symphony Storytime were released. One was called “Mole Music,” and features the Cello. When Mole finally learns to play the violin, his music has an effect more magical than he will ever know. Written by David McPhail. Hosted by Amy Haroldson and featuring Marilyn de Oliveira, assistant principal cello.

Assistant Principal Oboist Karen Wagner and host Amy Haroldson perform for the Oregon Symphony’s new children’s program, Symphony Storytime (Jacob Wade).

Hunyh provided the artistic vision for Symphony Storytime by setting educational objectives and establishing the flow of each piece, among other responsibilities. Hunyh described this project as “new and exciting territory”. 

Assistant Principal Second Violinist Inés Voglar Belgique (Jacob Wade)

Assistant Principal Cellist Marilyn de Oliveira (Jacob Wade)

Each story was chosen because it meant something special to the musicians.  

“I really like [Mole Music] because it talks about how music changes Mole’s life, and it also shows us how music can change the world around us,” says cellist Marilyn de Oliveira in the first episode. 

Guitarist and vocalist Edna Vazquez and percussionist and host Sergio Carreno maintain social distance on set. Hunyh’s top priority was the health and safety of musicians and staff. (Jacob Wade)

Many participants in the project are native Spanish speakers, such as guitarist and vocalist Edna Vázquez who performs in the Symphony Storytime episode “Necesito un Abrazo”, which helped inspire the creation of unique Spanish episodes. The Spanish episodes are not translations of the English episodes, rather their own stories, intended to support and engage the Latinx community. 

Symphony Storytime’s first release included “Mole Music”, “Top Cat”, and “Goodnight Bob” in English featuring cello, oboe, and percussion, respectively. Necesito un Abrazo” and Ve, Perro. ¡Ve!” were released in Spanish, featuring guitar and violinMore episodes will be released on July 2 and July 9. 

From the Oregon Symphony:

The power of music to unite and inspire is boundless. Music lifts us higher on our most joyful days, and draws us together in challenging times. As soon as it’s safe, we’ll be back – performing for you in our concert hall and reaching out to children and adults across our region.


Northwest Academy Students Perform Original Musical and Raise $295,000

Northwest Academy Students Perform Original Musical and Raise $295,000

Portland, OR. The Northwest Academy hosted Club Cabaret, “The Mad Hatter’s Cocktail Party” at The Nines Hotel in downtown Portland. The event raised $295,000 for academic programs and student scholarships. Supporters at the February 29th benefit included Amy Hillman, Nicholas & Megan O’Toole, Todd McCoy & Tawnya Fox. (Photo credit, Andie Petkus) More than 200 guests came for the silent auction, cocktail party, an original musical performed by Northwest Academy students, and a live auction.

Students perform an original production called, “The Mad Hatter’s Cocktail Party.”

Educators say the Northwest Academy in downtown Portland strives to provide students with an enriching education consisting of developing their fine and performing arts skills, rather than implementing the arts only as a bonus to students education. Northwest Academy emphasizes the importance of the balance of academics and art fostering curiosity and creative thinking.

Mary Vinton Folberg, Chris Schuck, McKenzie Kerman, and Lauren Partington

Serena Schulz-Rodriguez, Sarah Santangelo, Chiharu Olsson, Lori & Peter Buss, James Olsson, Terence Barr, in back row: Marilyn Beach, Bronson & Marisa James

Zach Levow, Joe & Linda Rosinski, and Holly Levow

The Quest Foundation, along with a challenge match from Arlene Schnitzer and Jordan Schnitzer, contributed to programs and scholarships for the students.

From Northwest Academy:

Mission: Northwest Academy is committed to inspiring students to discover their intellectual and artistic voices in a creative and supportive atmosphere fueled by curiosity and constructive challenge. Vision: Northwest Academy will be recognized as a center of excellence in proficiency-based education, artfully blending academic instruction and experience.  Graduates of the school will be innovative thinkers who chart their own futures and excel in a diverse global society. Core Values: Education in both academics and arts, results in a more complete and balanced individual who, while being productive, also leads an inspired and meaningful life, talented faculty, passionate about their subject areas, and the support of free and open inquiry motivates students’ interest in learning and creative thinking, student engagement, curiosity, and creative thinking expand when nurtured by accomplished and energetic faculty who promote participation and welcome debate, students thrive in an environment where both individuality and collaboration are encouraged and fostered, proficiency-based placement enhances students’ motivation and initiative while allowing a student to work through education at relatively accelerated or a more leisurely personal pace.

Artists Repertory Theatre Explores High Stakes Artistic Expression With “Indecent”

Artists Repertory Theatre Explores High Stakes Artistic Expression With “Indecent”

Portland, OR. Music, dance, artistic freedom, censorship, and a 1920’s lesbian love story, collide with the looming threat of the Holocaust in an award-winning play now being staged by Artists Repertory Theatre. Indecent by Paula Vogel, is part of Artists Repertory Theatre on Tour (ART) season, which is taking place as the company’s theater is undergoing renovation. The play features Michael Mendelson (picture above) and is being produced with Profile Theatre; the production takes place at Portland State University. Indecent is described as a backstage drama filled with music and the history of Jewish theatre. (Photo credit, Kathleen Kelly)

Miriam Schwartz and Jamie M Rea

“Our need to tell our own stories is one of the most ancient needs we have,” says Artistic Director of Profile Theatre and director of the play, Josh Hecht. “It’s not just the telling that is important. It’s the witnessing. It’s the confirmation that comes from speaking our truths and having someone else say, “Yes, that’s me, too. Yes, I recognize that. We may be different, but in this way we are the same.”

“This original production of Vogel’s acclaimed, moving, and ultimately joyous play is a collaboration between Profile Theatre, Artists Repertory Theatre (ART), and Portland State University (PSU),” says Dámaso Rodríguez, Artistic Director of Artists Repertory Theatre. “This ambitiousness and scale of this project, which affords opportunities for PSU students to interact with and learn from some of our city’s most accomplished theatre artists, might have been out of reach for all of our companies had we not combined our resources to make it possible.”

Here’s a video about the production:

Indecent runs through March 8th, at Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, 1620 SW Park Ave. ART descriptions include the following: A boldly touching portrayal of the original theatrical company that presented Sholem Asch’s The God of Vengeance. The creator, Pulitzer-prize winning playwright Paula Vogel based scenes off of Asch’s play portraying the risk-taking group that brought the script to the stage.

Tickets are $60 regular price; $30 preview/student/under 35; $15 PSU student with ID. Special Discounts include Sliding Scale Sunday (tickets start at $10): applies to Sunday evening performances, 20for20: 20 tickets available at every performance for $20, Artists Rep participates in Arts for All and the Multnomah County Library’s Discovery Pass Program. Tickets at 503.241.1278 or www.artistsrep.org

Here’s a video about Artist Repertory Theatre:

More about Artists Repertory Theatre:

ARTISTS REPERTORY THEATRE’S mission is to produce intimate, provocative theatre and provide a home for a diverse community artists and audiences to take creative risks. Artists Rep gratefully acknowledges our theatre rests on the traditional lands of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla and many other tribes who made their homes along the Columbia River. Artists Rep is Portland’s premiere mid-size regional theatre company and is led by Artistic Director Dámaso Rodríguez and Managing Director J.S. May. Founded in 1982, Artists Repertory Theatre is the longest-running professional theatre company in Portland. ART became the 72nd member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) in 2016 and is an Associate Member of the National New Play Network (NNPN). Artists Rep’s 2019/20 season can be found here.

Artists Rep has become a significant presence in American regional theatre with a legacy of world, national, and regional premieres of provocative new work with the highest standards of stagecraft. The organization is committed to local artists and features a company of Resident Artists and professionals of varied theatre disciplines, who are a driving force behind Artists Rep’s creative output and identity. 

Portland Art Museum Commemorates 40th Anniversary of Mount St. Helen’s Eruption

Portland Art Museum Commemorates 40th Anniversary of Mount St. Helen’s Eruption

Portland, Or. To mark the 40th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, the Portland Art Museum is presenting an exhibition that portrays artists’ responses to the beauty and power of the volcano. The exhibition will run through May 17th at the Portland Art Museum. Pictured above is Lucinda Parker’s painting called “The Seething Saint.” (Courtesy of the artist and Russo Lee Gallery.) The exhibit features Native American objects to contemporary paintings, drawings, and photographs. Interestingly, paintings of Mount St. Helens were historically rare compared with the numerous images of Mount Hood.

Albert Bierstadt (American, born Germany, 1830-1902), Mount St. Helens, Columbia River, Oregon, ca. 1889. Oil on canvas.

Henk Pander (American, born The Netherlands, 1937), Eruption of Saint Helens from Cable Street, 1981. Oil on linen.

The show will also trace the mountain’s changing image and significance for local peoples. Native Americans used the substance of the volcano—mainly basalt and obsidian—to create objects of great beauty and utility. While Mount St. Helens was featured in their creation stories, no depictions of the volcano in visual arts are known before the mid-1840s. Explorers Henry James Warre and Paul Kane traveled through the area and their visits ended up coinciding with the volcano’s last eruptive period and they recorded the venting of steam and ash on the north side, presaging its destruction on May 18, 1980. Volcanic eruptions have long been depicted by artists because they are the most visually spectacular manifestations of nature’s awesome power.

As the region commemorates the 40th anniversary of the volcano’s eruption, the Portland Art Museum is partnering with the Mount St. Helens Institute on a series of programs, tours, and in-gallery experiences throughout the run of the exhibition. For those who remember the eruption of 1980 and for those who know its legacy, the exhibition will bring to life one of the most momentous days in the history of the Pacific Northwest, and artists’ responses to one short period in the cycles of volcanic destruction and regeneration at Mount St. Helens.

Emmet Gowin (American, born 1941), Debris Flow at the Northern Base of Mount St. Helens, Looking South, 1983, gelatin silver print, © Emmet Gowin, Courtesy of Pace/MacGill, New York.

Mathias Van Hesemans (American, born 1946), Eruption, 1983, Mount Saint Helens, 1983. Gelatin silver print.

Below is a video of what the Portland Art Museum has in store for 2020:

More from the Portland Art Museum:

The mission of the Portland Art Museum is to engage diverse communities through art and film of enduring quality, and to collect, preserve, and educate for the enrichment of present and future generations. The Portland Art Museum strives to be an inclusive institution that facilitates respectful dialogue, debate, and the free exchange of ideas.  With a deep commitment to artists – past and present – and freedom of expression, the Museum and Northwest Film Center’s collections, programs and staff aspire to reveal the beauty and complexities of the world and create a deeper understanding of our shared humanity.  We are a Museum for all, inviting everyone to connect with art through their own experiences, voices, and personal journeys.  The following core values guide the Portland Art Museum: creativity, connection, learning, accessibility, accountability.

Artists Repertory Theatre Invites Audience Participation at “The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart”

Artists Repertory Theatre Invites Audience Participation at “The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart”

Portland, OR. The Artists Repertory Theatre (ART) cast of The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart performs scenes in and around the audience seated at pub-style tables. Directors Luan Schooler & Dámaso Rodríguez created the unique production of David Greig’s play which is presented, with an optional dinner of pub fare, at the Tiffany Center at 14th and Morrison. (ART has temporarily moved out of its Southwest Portland home during a site redevelopment, so the company is ‘on tour.’) About the play: Prudencia (played by Amy Newman), a scholar specializing in traditional Scottish folklore, has no time for modern pop culture, and even less for her colleague Colin Syme (Eric Little). After a long night out at the pub, Prudencia becomes lost in the snowy forest, only to be rescued by the mysterious Nick (Darius Pierce). But, are Nick’s intentions as altruistic as they seem, or does he have something more nefarious in store?

Amy Newman, Eric Little, Luisa Sermol, Susannah Mars, Alicia Hueni, and Darius Pierce

Luisa Sermol

Darius Pierce as Nick

Amy Newman as Prudencia Hart

Alicia Hueni & Rachel Bentzen

The show will run from Dec 6th through January 5th 2020 in the Tiffany Center, at 1410 SW Morrison Street. Tickets begin at $60, with discounts available for students and those under 35. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 503.241.1278 or visit online at www.artistsrep.org.

From Artists Rep:
Artists Rep is Portland’s premiere mid-size regional theatre company and is led by Artistic Director Dámaso Rodríguez and Managing Director J.S. May. Founded in 1982, Artists Repertory Theatre is the longest-running professional theatre company in Portland. ART became the 72nd member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) in 2016 and is an Associate Member of the National New Play Network (NNPN). Artists Rep’s 2019/20 season can be found here.

History-Making Dougy Center Benefit & Porsche Boxster Raffle Raises Over $900,000

History-Making Dougy Center Benefit & Porsche Boxster Raffle Raises Over $900,000

Portland, OR. Over 550 community members gathered at the Portland Art Museum to support The Dougy Center at the 2018 Reflection Benefit & Auction presented by KinderCare Education. This year’s Reflection Benefit on May 11th raised over $900,000, which is more than any other event in The Dougy Center’s history. This night included a silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind art created by Dougy Center participating children and teens, an elegant dinner, a live auction, and a heartfelt testimonial from Alissa, Robbie, Madeline and Samantha Parker, a family who participates in The Dougy Center’s program which supports grieving children and families. (Photo credit, Ilona LaRue)

Kevin and Jessica Sailor

Daphne and Destiny, Dougy Center Participants, displaying their art in the silent auction

Jeff Gianola, Emcee and Johnna Wells, Auctioneer

The inspiring evening culminated with the announcement of the 21st Annual Porsche Boxster Raffle winner, which nearly sold out of all 2,000 tickets.

The Dougy Center 2018 Reflection Benefit and Raffle was Co-Chaired by Tim & Jennifer O’Brien and Michael & Brandy Horwitz, and raised over $900,000 for our program to support children, teens, young adults and their families grieving the death of a loved one, or those living with a family member with an advanced serious illness.

Albertina Kerr Luncheon Highlights New Energy

Albertina Kerr Luncheon Highlights New Energy

Portland, OR. The annual Albertina Kerr  luncheon introduced community members to the work of the local nonprofit, which provides programs and services to children and adults with developmental disabilities and mental health challenges, empowering them to live richer lives. The event on November 3rd at the Downtown Portland Hilton drew approximately 350 people. Bernie Wilson, Dir. of DDS and Sandra Cisneros, Family Support Specialist posed for a photo. (Photo credit, Andie Petkus)

Anne Adler – CDO, Jeff Carr = CEO, Kristie Nelson and son Nathan – client of Kerr, Jennifer Harmon – Marketing and Communications Mgr.

Discover Kerr was a free luncheon with a presentation from CEO, Jeff Carr. Carr also identified the long-term goals of the organization: build affordable on-site housing for employees, revitalize the brand, cultivate strategic community partnerships and invest in the services they provide.

Chris Krenke and Jeff Carr – Past and Present CEOs of Albertina Kerr

Connie West – Joyce Manougian Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Jeff Carr – CEO, Miki Herman – Chair, Foundation Trustees

From Albertina Kerr:

Our Mission

Albertina Kerr empowers people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health challenges and other social barriers to lead self-determined lives and reach their full potential.

​Our Vision

​​​All people thrive in nurturing and inclusive communities.

Our Values

Guiding beliefs that shape the culture of Albertina Kerr Centers, the behavior of all individuals directly associated with the organization, and the delivery of services include:


Every individual has equal value and we treat each person served with dignity and respect. Our belief in kindness, understanding, humanity, and the value of diversity and culturally appropriate services guides our daily work.


We are committed to high ethical standards. Honesty, accountability and responsible stewardship of financial resources are expected from all employees and volunteers.


We are committed in providing the best care possible for everyone we serve. We believe in evidence-based practices, continuous learning and improvement to ensure positive service outcomes and responsible financial management. We are forward-thinking in our work and seek out innovative and creative approaches to fulfilling community needs.


We partner with the people we serve and their families to achieve our vision and mission. Partnerships with employees, community volunteers and donors, government agencies and other like-minded organizations are also essential.


We strongly advocate for the needs of the people we serve, educating the community and political decision makers about the challenges they face. We employ those we serve to successfully advocate for their own needs and rights.

Portland Children’s Museum Proud to Present Hannah Viano as Artist in Residence

Portland Children’s Museum Proud to Present Hannah Viano as Artist in Residence

Portland, April 4th, 2015. The Portland Children’s Museum is presenting Hannah Viano, Author of S is for Salmon: A Northwest Alphabet, and the upcoming book Arrow to Alaska: A Northwest Adventure, as Artist in Residence for its 2015 Artist in Residence Season.

Hannah Viano, Author of S is for Salmon: A Northwest Alphabet,

Hannah Viano, Author of S is for Salmon: A Northwest Alphabet.

S is for Salmon: A Northwest Alphabet book.

S is for Salmon: A Northwest Alphabet book.

Visitors to Portland Children’s Museum can now create artwork with talented professional artists through the museum’s Artist in Residence Program, an ongoing artist series. Funded through Summer 2017 by generous donations from Arlene Schnitzer and The Collins Foundation—with additional funding this year from Regional Arts & Culture Council and Juliet Ashby Hillman Foundation—the program provides museum guests opportunities to explore high quality art materials and the artistic process at the Museum.

As part of the 2015 Artist in Residence season, Hannah Viano will be onsite for a number of days through April 30th, 2015. She will be working with children and families to complete an illustrated guide of the plants and animals found in Outdoor Adventure, the Museum’s outdoor play space which opened on Earth Day of 2014. Hannah’s process involves observation of nature through painting, drawing, paper cutting, and screen printing.

Join the Portland Children’s Museum and Hannah Viano for some creative play and learning on various week and weekend days, including Earth Day, April 22nd; and for a Gallery Showing of completed final works in the Portland Children’s Museum’s Art Gallery from May 1st through July 25th. For more information about specific dates and times the artist will be in studio please visit www.portlandcm.org/hannah-viano. To view images of Hannah Viano’s work visit hannahviano.com/.

For more information about Artist in Residence Programs or to apply for residency please contact [email protected]


We’re a museum that doesn’t act like a museum because our audience—children and the adults who care for them—is more important to us than anything we collect. Instead of investing in precious objects, we create priceless opportunities for our visitors to learn through play.

LOCATION In Washington Park across from Oregon Zoo; 4015 SW Canyon Road, Portland, 97221

HOURS Open Daily, 9am-5pmTarget Free First Friday (first Friday every month) 4-8pm

ADMISSION Members: FreeUnder age 1: Free; Ages 1-54: $10Over 55 & military: $9

CONTACT Phone 503-223-6500Online portlandcm.org Like facebook.com/portlandcm

Albertina Kerr’s 80s Prom themed Gala Raises $146,000

Albertina Kerr’s 80s Prom themed Gala Raises $146,000

Portland, February 28th, 2014. More than 280 attendees danced the night away at Albertina Kerr’s 80’s Prom-themed Spotlight on Kerr Gala at Montgomery Park. Guests heard from grateful parent Amy Logue  and were moved to donate more than $146,000 in support of mental health and developmental disability services for children, adults and families at Albertina Kerr. Kim Borton, Mary Beth Butkovic, Kirsten Chambers, Kathryn Hile, and Anton Oehlert served on the committee that organized the event. (photo credits, PDX PhotoLounge and Andie Petkus Photography)

Denise and Rich Smith

Denise and Rich Smith

Randi and John Thoma

Randi and John Thoma

From Albertina Kerr

Since 1907, Albertina Kerr has strengthened Oregon families and communities. Today, we provide programs and services to children and adults with developmental disabilities and mental health challenges – empowering them to live richer lives.

We’re building an army of angels. A community that stands together. Where we challenge the norm to create a society that has no barriers. Where people who face developmental disabilities and mental health challenges are included and empowered. Where families are supported and children have reason to smile. Where everyday people reach out to the most vulnerable and give back to their community.

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