Supporters

Project 440 Receives Support from Marple Newtown High School Tri-M Music Honor Society

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On May 7th, 2019, the Marple Newtown High School held their induction ceremony for the newest chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. During this celebration, they announced that they donated $1,100 to Project 440 in support of our programs and the work we do for the communities in Philadelphia. The support of a group of hard-working and generous young people is one of our greatest motivators, and we are excited to continue working for the young people of Philadelphia.

The Tri-M Music Honor Society students recently completed a service project in which they raised $1,100 to donate to an organization they believed in. During one of their meetings, Jake Olimpi (Advisor of Tri-M) mentioned Project 440 and explained our mission and programs. Olimpi said this about the students’ reactions, “Their eyes lit up. Applying skills learned through music to the real world is something we strive to teach here at Marple Newtown so it only made sense to contribute to a program that helped students so close to our school.”

As our programs begin to wrap-up and we congratulate our graduating seniors, we want to also thank and congratulate the students of Marple Newtown’s Tri-M Society on a successful service project and a generous donation. We hope to continue to inspire these students and can’t wait to see what they accomplish in their futures!

 

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Project 440 Donor Spotlight: Peter "Tad" LeVan

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Meet Tad LeVan, Donor and Project 440 Board President! Tad is the man behind the scenes, ensuring that our Board is running like a smooth oiled machine. Our interview highlights what drives Tad to give so much to our organization and the important role music has and continues to play in his life.

Q: How did you get to know Project 440?
Back in 2014, my daughter Elena was being inducted in the Tri-M Music Honor Society at Washington Township High School in New Jersey. Joseph Conyers, Project 440’s Executive Director, gave the keynote address at the ceremony.  I was blown away by Joseph’s passion, motivation and vision for using music as a tool to teach important career and life-skills to high school students.  I walked right up to him after the ceremony ended and offered to help any way I could!

Q: What inspired you give to Project 440 as a donor and as a working Board member in your current capacity?
Music has always been an important part of my life.  I was completely taken with the idea of using music to develop educational, entrepreneurial and community-engaging programs to provide direction, assistance and professional advancement to young people.  And, of course, you cannot speak of inspiration without recognizing Joseph himself: His joy, passion and excitement for Project 440 is contagious. It’s impossible to hear Joseph speak and not want to be part of his vision to change the world for the better.  So right from the start I was excited to support Project 440, both financially and by serving on the Board.

Q: Why do you think our work is important?
Our country’s public secondary education system primarily focuses on providing students with substantive knowledge in particular subject-matter areas.  Even in well-administered and fiscally solvent districts, secondary schools rarely provide opportunities for students to develop the entrepreneurial and community-engaging skill sets that are so necessary to thrive in today’s world.  Project 440 fills that gap and provides important service and support in those critical skill areas. As our mission aptly states: “Project 440 engages, educates and inspires young musicians, providing them with the career and life skills they need to develop into tomorrow's civic-minded, entrepreneurial leaders.”

Q: What is your personal connection to music?
I have happily been involved with music my entire life.  When I was younger, I played piano and trombone, and also performed in several professional musical theater productions.  Even after becoming a trial attorney, music has remained a critically important part of my life. Over the years, I have sung with numerous choral groups, including the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, Choral Arts of Philadelphia, and most recently Choral Arts of Southern New Jersey.  In addition, within the past few years I have returned to the stage in musical theater productions after a 30-year hiatus. I have always loved performing in front of an audience but I now have the added benefit of causing great embarrassment to my children! I consider that a win-win.  

Q: How did the skills you developed through your musical involvement/activities help in your career or inform your work approach?
Needless to say, there are numerous similarities between performing onstage and being a trial attorney.   Skills in public speaking, story-telling, and relating to an audience – to name just a few – easily transferred to my professional life and provided a solid foundation upon which to build.  But just as importantly, my early involvement in music taught me how to work within an ensemble, showed me the importance of consistently practicing your craft, and helped me develop the necessary grit to persevere through challenging situations that inevitably arise in any professional setting.  

Music is magical:  It has been a constant pillar in my life and will undoubtedly continue to play a central role in my years to come.  I am immensely grateful to have the opportunity to work with Project 440 and share the power of music with the next generation.

Photo from Tad performing.

Photo from Tad performing.

 

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Joseph Conyers, Project 440 Founder and Executive Director, honored by Sphinx Organization

The Sphinx Organization, the social justice organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts, has announced the 2019 recipients of the Sphinx Medals of Excellence. Project 440 Founder and Executive Director Joseph H. Conyers is among the recipients of this prestigious award. The other recpients are Raquel González and Will Liverman.

Click here  to download the full press release.

Click here to download the full press release.

Sphinx annually honors three emerging Black or Latinx classical musicians with the Sphinx Medal of Excellence. Through a national nomination process, Sphinx identifies musicians early in their professional career who demonstrate the following qualities: artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination and ongoing commitment to leadership. The recipients each receive a $50,000 career grant, bestowed in Washington D.C. at a private luncheon hosted by The Kennedy Center and the Aspen Institute, and celebrated at a black-tie gala. The eighth annual Sphinx Medals of Excellence celebration will take place on March 20, 2019.

Sphinx President Afa S. Dworkin shared, “It is an honor and privilege to celebrate three outstanding artists of color in our nation’s capital. In the midst of a divisive climate, music truly unites us all. The incredible recipients of theSphinx Medal of Excellence are sources of light and inspiration in the classical music field and in our communities at large, and I cannot wait to see what each of them will accomplish.”

About Joseph H. Conyers: Double bassist Joseph H. Conyers was appointed assistant principal bassist of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 2010 after tenures with the Atlanta Symphony, Santa Fe Opera, and Grand Rapids Symphony where he served as principal bass. A formidable advocate for music education, he is executive director of Project 440, an organization that engages, educates, and inspires young musicians, providing them with the career and life skills they need to develop into tomorrow's civic-minded, entrepreneurial leaders.

 

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