Panama City, FL – For over three decades March has been designated as Music in Our Schools Month by the National Association for Music Education, with music education becoming the focus of schools across the nation.

The Panama City Symphony’s “Music to My Ears” program follows that lead and returns to regional elementary schools this month.  

Among the Panama City Symphony’s Board of Directors’ recent long-term objectives had been the goal of introducing school children to the excitement of live symphonic music by performing on-stage concerts programmed exclusively for youth.

The Panama City Symphony Orchestra performed “American Roots” at the Gretchen Nelson Scott Fine Arts Center Saturday, February 19, 2023.

Following Hurricane Michael and the relocation of Symphony concerts, plans were deferred.  The objective, however, was not.  Born of the evolving conditions in 2019 and former Symphony Conductor David Ott’s ingenuity, “Music to My Ears,” is a traveling, educational program placing Panama City Symphony musicians in elementary schools and providing young audiences a chance to experience symphonic music in their own environment.  

Now conducted by PCSO Music Director and Conductor Sergey Bogza, the original, 25-minute work features a seven-piece ensemble with narration by Rita Whitaker-Haun. 

“It’s a win-win-win,” states the Dr. Bogza.  “Science and symphony organizations have long noted the benefits of music specific to early education.  School is where all children should have access to music.  We introduce the basic elements of music (melody, rhythm and harmony) and demonstrate how variations in instrument technique, tempo, and volume can be used to create emotion, portray action, and invoke imagery.

Details of the program have been presented to the superintendents and principals of elementary schools in Bay, Calhoun, Walton and Washington counties.  Scheduling has begun and will continue through the end of the school year.  

“Bay District Schools is extremely grateful to the musicians of the Panama City Symphony for the Music to my Ears program that has brought the artistry of beautiful music to our elementary schools,” declared BDS Superintendent Bill Husfelt.  “Music will always have a special place in our curriculum, and we sincerely appreciate the commitment of the Symphony, its conductor and its musicians. Their shared love of music, and their dedication to sharing their skills with students of all ages has shown our students the value of being lifelong learners and the amazing results that come from commitment, practice, dedication and talent.”

Plans are to continue the program in the 2023-24 season.  “The Panama City Symphony is devoted to broadening the Orchestra’s commitment to our community.  This includes raising awareness of the importance of music education for all children,” commented Denise Cox, PCSO Board of Directors President.  “Music to My Ears is an ideal way to prepare students for the eventual full symphony experience in a performance hall.  We look forward to the day when that, too, will be a reality.” 

For more info contact the Panama City Symphony at (850) 785-7677 or [email protected].