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Santa Barbara Symphony Partners With Santa Barbara Unified School District to Offer BRAVO! Program, Virtually

"Santa Barbara Unified is thrilled to be partnering with the Santa Barbara Symphony again this school year to ensure that students deepen their love of music and instrumental proficiency,” - Sierra Loughridge, Director of Elementary Education, SBUSD.

After-school band and orchestra program for 5th, and 6th-grade elementary students 

at no cost

(February 12, 2020) Santa Barbara, CA – The Santa Barbara Symphony is pleased to announce its continued partnership with the Santa Barbara Unified School District to present BRAVO!, the popular after-school music education program that will be offered virtually this year to fifth and sixth grade elementary students, free of charge.

“During this unprecedented time, the disparities in education have become apparent, and the Symphony’s mission to provide music education to the community is more important now than it has ever been,” shared Kristine Pacheco-Bernt, Director of Music Education for the Symphony. “In the face of the daunting challenges and diminished resources during COVID, collaborating with the team at SBUSD has been inspiring. The BRAVO! program gives students the opportunity to hone their skills, while supporting and inspiring them. We are very grateful to everyone involved, especially our Teaching Artists, in finding an innovative path forward for this program.”

According to studies by the National Association for Music Education, music training positively impacts cognitive development and social-emotional learning in elementary-aged students. BRAVO! was developed 5 years ago to supplement the district’s in-school music programs by offering two additional music lessons each week at no cost to families. Students are given the opportunity to grow musically and gain valuable experience by working with district music teachers and local professional musicians. By strengthening this elementary level music experience, the BRAVO! music program provides a pathway for students to enroll and be successful in junior high and high school music ensembles. 

“Santa Barbara Unified is thrilled to be partnering with the Santa Barbara Symphony again this school year to ensure that students deepen their love of music and instrumental proficiency,” shared Sierra Loughridge, Director of Elementary Education, SBUSD. “This year, we worked closely with the Symphony to adapt the Bravo After School Program into a virtual program, where students can work safely with professional symphony musicians, in instrument alike sectionals to increase their mastery of their chosen instruments. We recognize that the benefits of playing a musical instrument go beyond cultivating music appreciation, the benefits include an increase in students’ critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, art, expression, and mathematics skills. As such, we are thankful for this important partnership and eager to see and hear the music that students make as a result.”

The Symphony continues to lead the way during the pandemic, delivering on its mission to inspire a passion for symphonic music in the next generation and make music accessible to everyone in the community. In response to the pandemic, all programming for the symphony’s Music Education Center (MEC) has adapted to an online environment and, despite being virtual, there is more momentum than ever.  Through partnerships with school districts, community organizations, and support from generous donors and funders, the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Music Education Center is able to continue all of its music education programs this year. For more information about the various programs please click here.

About the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Music Education Center

Each year, the Santa Barbara Symphony provides children in Santa Barbara County with high quality, equal-access music education through its Music Education Center: a continuum of connected programs designed to support and engage students every step along their musical journey; fostering collaboration, confidence and community empowering students to be at their best through music.

About The Santa Barbara Symphony

Now in its 71st year, The Santa Barbara Symphony delivers artistic excellence, outstanding music education stewardship and programming, and community collaboration – all through symphonic music. Under the artistic leadership of Maestro Nir Kabaretti as Music & Artistic Director since 2006, The Symphony is one of the region’s premier cultural institutions. Through his charismatic leadership, this globally admired conductor and Santa Barbara resident invigorates audiences and musicians alike through his passion, creativity, and vast experience. As the only music education program tied to a professional symphony orchestra in the region, The Symphony serves more than 4,000 students annually throughout Santa Barbara County. While The Symphony continues to evolve, bringing joy, engagement, and connection remain steadfast pillars of its mission and were evident in the organization’s ability to thrive during the pandemic including the historic announcement that board chair Janet Garufis and President & CEO Kathryn R Martin join Nir Kabaretti in making a five-year commitment to serve in their roles. For more information, visit

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