The Board of Directors of the Adolf Busch Award is thrilled to announce this year’s winners. In our second year of operation, we received almost 100 applications from organizations from around world, all doing meaningful and valuable work. We are honored to have three winners whose missions and accomplishments embody the power of music as a vehicle to effect positive change and improve a broad range of societal issues.
Founded in 2011, Play on, Philly! provides intensive classical music education for kindergarten through high school-aged students in Philadelphia’s inner city. Every year, this tuition-free program offers each child over 600 hours of instruction and performance opportunities, helping them to cultivate academic and social skills that will serve them for their entire lives. Primarily serving students of color, Play on, Philly!’s work includes notable mentorship opportunities for older students to act as role models for younger students. The organization also boasts a 92% retention rate and a 100% high school graduation rate, and demonstrates enormous success in empowering students to surmount any challenge. Play on, Philly! will receive the top prize of $10,000.
Also being honored is the Playing For Change Foundation, an international organization offering 15 free music programs and schools in 11 countries. The $5,000 award will support the Tintale Village Mother’s Society, located in the remote Udayapur District of eastern Nepal. This women-centered collective uses music, storytelling, and dance to combat an insidious regional sex trade by educating young girls about human traffickers and their deceitful tactics. Equally encouraging, the men of Tintale village fully support the project. Founded in 2007, the Playing For Change Foundation seeks to expand the powerful Mother’s Society model into other regions.
Finally, $2,500 will be awarded to Rock to the Future for their work utilizing rock music to encourage expression, grow confidence and teach over 300 low-income children rock-related instruments and composition. This tuition-free program also provides academic assistance and college preparation. Founded in 2010, Rock to the Future operates in Philadelphia and seeks to create a safe, collaborative, and engaging environment for students in grades 6 – 12.
We thank all those who applied, commend the finalists, and congratulate our three winners. We hope the award will encourage others to join forces with these organizations and to make an even more significant difference in each community.
We also would like to take this moment to reflect on these troubled times in the United States and the place of music in our lives. Adolf Busch boldly spoke out against hatred, racism and oppression. We are proud to honor that courageous legacy, and in his name recognize those individuals and organizations who work tirelessly on behalf of groups and communities that are disenfranchised in their respective societies. We would not fully respect the Adolph Busch legacy or our own mission if we did not express our own profound dissatisfaction with the current national leaders of the United States, whose actions, divisive language and neglect risk further victimization of those who already are the most vulnerable in our nation. We hope that all who give the gift of music to young people will by their example teach an abiding respect for excellence, for cooperation, for inclusion and for beauty, and in doing so create a more harmonious world.