Council pulls some strings

Young performers hone their skills working with the InterSchool Orchestra of New York. Photo by Adam Hume
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Young northeast Queens orchestra enthusiasts were given a hefty tune-up when one lawmaker provided them with a $10,000 boost to their program.

City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) provided the InterSchool Orchestra of New York with a $10,000 grant, the school announced this week, making way for an enhanced musical experience for the borough’s youngest players.

“I am so pleased to bring the ISO to eastern Queens,” Weprin said. “Participat­ing in the ISO is a wonderful opportunity for some of our most talented young musicians.”

The InterSchool Orchestra of New York brings players between ages 6 and 19 together for a skillful music-making experience in a kid-friendly atmosphere. Its groups throughout the city include seven orchestras and symphonic bands ranging in ability from beginners to advanced students.

Noted bass player and music teacher Joseph Seifers will conduct the new orchestra for entry-level students at PS 203, at 53-11 Springfield Blvd. in Oakland Gardens, the school said.

In addition, the orchestra will rehearse at PS 115Q, at 80-51 261st St. in Glen Oaks, with support and participation coming from Assistant Principal Kathleen Sciortino and Principal James Ambrose.

ISO Executive Director Waddy Thompson said the school received the grant for its upcoming 2012-13 programs, with rehearsals beginning Sept. 20.

“This extraordinary support makes it possible for InterSchool Orchestras to serve many more children,” Thompson said. “We are especially excited to open up ISO’s programs to a new community of children in eastern Queens under the direction of such a talented conductor.”

The Queens East orchestra will be joining ISO’s three other orchestras for musicians aged 6 to 10 from throughout the city, all of whom are just beginning their lives as performers, the school said.

More than 300 students rehearse through the school each week from September to May for various performances in concert halls, schools and community meetings. The school, founded in 1972, exists to provide performance opportunities to students typically unable to pay tuition, with more than half of its young performers receiving some degree of financial assistance.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Posted 2:00 am, September 20, 2012
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