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Buffalo Philharmonic and Buffalo schools win music award for West Side Connection Program

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Buffalo Public Schools are being honored by earning a Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award for their six-year-old partnership West Side Connection.

The award will be presented in June at the Yale School of Music Symposium on Music in Schools in New Haven, Conn.

The West Side Connection program is one of 38 endeavors throughout the country that are being recognized. BPO Education Director Robin Parkinson and Buffalo Public School music teacher James Schwanz will attend the symposium together. Both are the driving forces behind West Side Connection.

The West Side Connection program was developed in response to the increasing number of people moving to Buffalo’s West Side through the UN Refugee Resettlement Program, and a desire to make an authentic connection with this international community through music. It involves students at 12 schools in the Kleinhans Music Hall neighborhood, including a Native American magnet school, three bilingual Spanish schools and three international schools.