The New Ecosystem for Community-Centered Commitments

On-Demand Webinar

Eric Booth and Lecolion Washington

Eric Booth and Lecolion Washington

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Today’s rapidly evolving ecosystem offers orchestras opportunities to accelerate practices that put community and school partnerships at the center of our mission.

Join us for a 90-minute webinar that explores the current context for growing equitable participation and co-creation of musical experiences, in person and online. Discover how orchestras can collaborate with public education and community partners in fresh ways to offer social-emotional support and engagement during this prolonged period of isolation, and well beyond.

A panel of orchestra representatives and community partners will catalyze conversations within and across orchestra stakeholders to address both near- and long-term actions.

Facilitators: Eric Booth, Arts Learning Consultant; Lecolion Washington, Executive Director at the Community Music Center of Boston

Panelists: Hakeem Bilal, Assistant Professor of Trombone at West Virginia University; Charles Dickerson, Executive Director and Conductor at Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles / South Side Chicago Youth Orchestra; Paul Murphy, Co-founder of Decoda and Teaching Artist, New York Philharmonic; Myran Parker-Brass, Consultant and Former Executive Director for the Arts at Boston Public Schools; Suzanne M. Perrino, Senior VP of Learning and Community Engagement at Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; Victor Sawyer, Senior Fellowship Coach, Memphis Music Initiative; Dalouge Smith, CEO at The Lewis Prize

Who Should Attend?

Executive directors, youth orchestra directors, trustees, education and community engagement staff, musicians, artistic staff, teaching artists, and anyone seeking to learn more about engaging in community and school partnerships in new ways.

Even if you can't attend the webinar live, register to receive a recording.


  • $20 for Members
  • $35 for Non-Members

Register Here

Related and Recommended Resources

Borwick, D. (2012). “Building Communities, Not Audiences.” Artsengaged.

Stein, T. S. (2019). Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Performing Arts Workforce. Routledge.

Orchestras Support In-School Music Education, League of American Orchestras

Sebastian Ruth's anti-racism essay "Continual Renewal: Equity, Education, and an Evolving Organization" and the other Lewis Prize Awardees' essays

Gods of the Upper Air: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex and Gender in the Twentieth Century

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance is a unified voice for home broadband access, public broadband access, personal devices and local technology training and support programs

About the Facilitators

Eric Booth
Arts Learning Consultant 

Eric BoothIn 2015 Eric Booth was given the nation’s highest award in arts education, and was named one of the twenty-five most influential people in the arts in the U.S.  He began as a Broadway actor, and became a businessman (his company became the largest of its kind in the U.S. in seven years), and author of seven books, the most recent are Playing for Their Lives and Tending the Perennials

He was on the faculty of Juilliard (twelve years), Tanglewood (five years), The Kennedy Center (twenty years), and Lincoln Center Education (for 41 years, where he co-founded their Teaching Artist Development Labs. He has served as a consultant for many arts organizations (including seven of the ten largest U.S. orchestras), cities, states, and businesses around the U.S. A frequent keynote speaker, he founded the International Teaching Artist Conferences and Collaborative. Website:

Lecolion Washington
Executive Director at the Community Music Center of Boston

Lecolion WashingtonAfter over twenty years as a performing bassoonist, fifteen years as a music professor, and ten years as an arts administrator, Lecolion Washington has established himself as a leader for the next generation of arts entrepreneurs; and he has been a staunch advocate for the relevance of music as an agent for social change.

Lecolion is the Executive Director of Community Music Center of Boston. Lecolion was the Co-Founder/Executive Director of the PRIZM Ensemble in Memphis from 2009-2017, and he was the founder of the PRIZM International Chamber Music Festival. He was selected as a 2019 Musical America’s Top Professional of the Year honoring innovators, independent thinkers, and entrepreneurs, celebrated as a 2020 Boston HUBWeek "Change Maker," and he is the 2020 Chamber Music America Conference Planning Committee Chair. 

As a bassoonist, Lecolion has been a featured solo and chamber musician throughout the U.S., Brazil, South Africa, Canada, and Switzerland among other countries. As an orchestral musician, Lecolion has performed as guest principal and/or co-principal bassoon with orchestras such as the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra. He served on the faculty of the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival in South Africa from 2006-2013. His CD entitled “Legacy: Music for Bassoon by African-American Composers” was released on the Albany Records label.


About the Panelists

Hakeem Bilal
Assistant Professor of Trombone at West Virginia University

Hakeem BilalProudly hailing from Washington, D.C., Hakeem Bilal is one of the most sought-after trombonists today. His performances have been called, “A dynamic concert experience,” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and he has been featured on Pittsburgh Today Live on CBS and Talking Pittsburgh on NBC. Most recently, he performed a three-week tour of Asia, performed at the Indianapolis 500, and taught master classes in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Beijing, China. Mr. Bilal holds degrees from The Peabody Conservatory and Carnegie Mellon University and now resides in Pittsburgh, PA.

Hakeem is the Assistant Professor of Trombone at West Virginia University. He is a regular extra with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony and he has recently performed with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and West Virginia Symphony. He also serves as the Bass Trombonist of C Street Brass, a member of River City Brass, and the MC of Beauty Slap. Hakeem was featured as a guest artist at the 2016 Trombone Summit in Fort Worth, Texas and was invited to perform at the 2018 International Trombone Festival in Iowa.

Charles Dickerson

Executive Director and Conductor, Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles / South Side Chicago Youth Orchestra; Director of Special Ensembles, California State University, Dominguez Hills; Director of Music, Rolling Hills United Methodist Church; Choir Director, Leo Baeck Temple

Charles DickersonCharles Dickerson (Chuck) is Founder, Executive Director, and Conductor of the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA) (2009-present); Founder, Executive Director and Conductor of the South Side Chicago Youth Orchestra (2019-present); Director of Music at Rolling Hills United Methodist Church (RHUMC) (2005-present): Director of the Leo Baeck Temple Chorus (2016-present): and Director of both the Jubilee Choir and the Orchestral Studies Department as well as Professor of Conducting at California State University, Dominguez Hills (2018-present). He is overseeing the creation and development of the Youth Orchestra of Tsakane, South Africa (established on April 1, 2019). He formerly served as Music Director and Conductor of The Southeast Symphony (2004-2011) and as Director of Music at Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles (1996-2005). He has served in a variety of other leadership capacities--in music and otherwise. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the League of American Orchestras (2019-present). He was recognized in December 2019 as a Professional of the Year by Musical America.  

Paul Murphy
Co-founder, Decoda; Teaching Artist, NY Philharmonic; Curriculum Specialist, Juilliard K-12

Paul MurphyTrumpeter Paul Murphy works frequently as a musician and educator at The Juilliard School, Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic and on Broadway. He has performed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Knights, the International Contemporary Ensemble, and helped to co-found the chamber collective Decoda, an affiliate ensemble of Carnegie Hall. Passionate about drawing others deeply into the art of music, he was recently recognized as one of the inaugural recipients of the Yale Distinguished Teaching Artist Award.



 Myran Parker-Brass

Strategic and Cultural Planning Consultant, Former Executive Director for the Arts for the Boston Public Schools

Myran Parker-BrassMyran Parker-Brass is an educator, administrator, musician, and consultant with thirty plus years experience providing access to quality arts and arts education. Myran retired as Executive Director for the Arts for the Boston Public Schools (BPS) in June 2019. Myran joined BPS leadership in 2010, providing strategic vision, implementation, and management for the systemic building and deepening of arts education focused on quality, equity, and access for all students preK-12.

Before joining BPS, Myran was Director of Education for the Boston Symphony Orchestra; in her twenty-year tenure she developed model programs to support arts education for all Massachusetts communities. Myran also served as Chair of Experiential Education at Longy School of Music at Bard College, developing the graduate teaching artist training program.  

Currently working as a strategic and cultural planning consultant, Myran serves on the board of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the National Guild for Community Arts Education, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Boston Arts Academy and the Community Music Center of Boston. In 2014 Myran received the Excellence in Arts Education Award from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, was selected as a member of Education Week’s class of “Leaders to Learn From” in 2016, and most recently was awarded the 2020 “Unsung Hero” award by the Boston Dance Alliance.

Suzanne M. Perrino
Senior Vice President of Learning and Community Engagement at Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Suzanne PerrinoSuzanne Perrino is a strong advocate of music education in the public school curriculum and access to music opportunities for individuals of all backgrounds and abilities. Under her leadership, the PSO has become a nationally recognized leader in orchestra education programming, and cited as such in publications, presentations, and national forums. Under her leadership, the PSO has launched the first fully inclusive Sensory Friendly Concert, Music and Wellness Program, Early Childhood Initiative and Symposium, and Audience of the Future Program for high school students. During the COVID-19 shutdown, Suzanne produced several online educational offerings and virtual performances, including “Make Time for Music with Fiddlesticks” for preschool audiences, “Practice! Practice! Practice!” for middle and high school instrumental students, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” digital orchestra video for 143 Kindness Day, virtual “Lift Every Voice” Concert, a “Musical Storytelling” week in collaboration with the Allegheny County Library Association, and others.

Suzanne has held local, state, and national board positions and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Performance (Oboe) and Certificate in Music Education (PA, K-12) from Carnegie Mellon University, and Master of Arts in Arts Management from the American University in Washington, DC.

Victor Sawyer
Freelance Trombonist, Instrumental Instructor, Senior Fellowship Coach

Victor SawyerVictor Sawyer is a freelance trombonist based in Memphis, TN. Currently, Victor serves as an Instrumental Instructor at the world famous Stax Music Academy, working with middle-school- and high-school-age musicians in a “pop” band ensemble and as the Senior Fellowship Coach for the Memphis Music Initiative, supporting a team of ten to twelve professional music teaching artists working  in traditionally underserved communities.

As a performer, he has recorded at legendary studios such as Sun, Royal, and Ardent. Sawyer has also performed with Memphis legends such as 8Ball and MJG, Valerie June, Steve Cropper, and many more.

Victor attended the Manhattan School of Music for a Masters Degree in Jazz Performance.  While in New York, Sawyer performed at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, the Jazz Standard, the Bowery Poetry Club, etc. Abroad he has had the honor of performing at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands and the Veneto Jazz Festival in the Veneto region of Italy.

Dalouge Smith
CEO at The Lewis Prize

Dalouge SmithDalouge is a champion for bringing people together and strengthening communities through music. He joined The Lewis Prize for Music as its first CEO in August 2018. Prior to his role at The Lewis Prize, he led the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory for thirteen years and transformed it into a community instigator for restoring and strengthening music education in schools. SDYS' partner, the Chula Vista Elementary School District (California’s largest K-6 district), restored music and arts education to all 30,000 of its students as a result.

Dalouge grew up singing folk songs with family and performing in professional theatre productions. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in World Arts and Cultures from UCLA and studied Gandhi’s non-violent movement for a year in India. Dalouge serves as Vice-Chair of El Sistema USA and is on the boards of California Arts Advocates and Californians for the Arts.


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This webinar is made possible by generous grants from American Express, the Howard Gilman Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and The Wallace Foundation, as well as supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Photos courtesy of the speakers.