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PSO performs benefit concert for at-risk kids

| Sunday, July 21, 2002

The performance, led by PSO Assistant Conductor Lucas Richman, was an outreach effort for the local agency that helps at-risk students. The music had also been an important part of Richman's own childhood development.

Richman expressed an early interest in music when he started playing piano at age 5. He also learned to read at an early age and enjoyed the biographies of composers, including one of Aaron Copland. Inspired by the Copland biography, Richman decided to write the composer a letter. "What amazed me was that he took the time to write back to a 5-year-old boy," said Richman.

Richman followed his passion for music by attending the University of California at Los Angeles as a violin major. His introduction to the Pittsburgh Symphony came in 1998 when he was chosen for the position of assistant conductor." It has been a wonderful four years," he said.

Richman began his career as a young boy playing the piano. Now he would like to give inspiration to budding musicians, through his concerts, such as the one at Laurel Highlands, and his new CD " Day is Done ." Original and well-known lullabies are featured on the compact disc. Richman hopes that parents will use this CD as a tool to introduce their young children to the world of music.

Richman's vision and the Communities In Schools mission work hand in hand. Both hope that children will be successful in school and in the future.

"The story about how the Pittsburgh Symphony and Communities In Schools developed a partnership is quite serendipitous," according to Bill Solomon, Communities In Schools board president.

Solomon explained that a board member heard a radio advertisement saying the Pittsburgh Symphony would be performing a benefit concert for another organization. The board member was intrigued and called the Pittsburgh Symphony immediately. That was the beginning of a nine-year partnership between the Pittsburgh Symphony and Communities In Schools.

Solomon has been with Communities In Schools since its founding in 1989. He was near retirement from his job at Chestnut Ridge Counseling when he heard about the first meeting of the group at Penn State Fayette campus. "I went to the meeting," states Solomon, "and was so impressed that I decided to get involved with this worthy organization. It's a fantastic feeling to have the Pittsburgh Symphony here with us."

To finish the night on a sweet note after the recent performance by the symphony, the local barbershop quartet, Dutch Treat, serenaded concert-goers as they enjoyed an old-fashioned ice cream social under the stars in the Laurel Highlands High School courtyard.

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