Have Strings, Will Travel

DSO musicians use outdoor concerts to support youth music education

COVID-19 put the world on pause, but a Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) violinist wouldn’t let it silence the music.

In late spring of 2020, Daphne Volle accepted an invitation to play her violin on a neighbor’s front lawn. Little did she know that would be the start of many outdoor concerts that would end up raising thousands of dollars for young underprivileged musicians.

Volle’s performance grabbed the attention of many passersby. 

Asked to perform again, she invites more DSO musicians to join her. 

We are going to find a way to keep playing.

Daphne Volle

“My colleagues have been so willing to do it,” Volle said. “I want to say that the Dallas Symphony has an extraordinary willpower to not let us stop because of the pandemic.”

Growing from duets to trios to quartets, and so on, Volle and other DSO musicians have voluntarily played in Oak Cliff, Garland, Irving, and many other North Texas locations.

Along the way, the outdoor concerts became a fundraiser for the education department of the DSO. The roughly $15,000 raised during the past year provides instruments and private lessons for students in the Young Strings program and Bucker T. Washington High School.

Indoor concerts also continued under the leadership of Kim Noltemy, the Ross Perot president and CEO of the Dallas Symphony Association. 

COVID-19 safety protocols include reducing the size of the orchestra and extending the distance between musicians on the stage. Every morning before performing, musicians are tested. Only around 200 people are allowed in audiences.

The DSO made it a purpose to stay alive for the community and found ways to turn coincidences into fantastic opportunities that help shape the lives of young individuals in the Dallas community, Volle said. “We are going to find a way to keep playing.”

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