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A Requiem For Instrumental Music Instruction in Philadelphia Public Schools

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(Sunlight filtering through a skylight bathes the atrium of School District headquarters as music teachers and supporters perform a "farewell concert."  Credit: Pat Loeb)

(Sunlight filtering through a skylight bathes the atrium of School District headquarters as music teachers and supporters perform a “farewell concert.” Credit: Pat Loeb)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was a bittersweet melody at Philadelphia School District headquarters this morning as instrumental music teachers played a farewell concert.

The entire classroom instrument education program has been eliminated due to district budget cuts (see related story).

The ad hoc orchestra included the 60 teachers whose jobs have been eliminated, plus some students and alumni.

Traveling from school to school throughout the school year, those sixty teachers managed to serve 10,000 students.

“I wanted to come out and support the music teachers, because without them I wouldn’t have picked up the violin,” said student Lisa Pachecci today.  “And they changed my life.”

What will happen to such students now?  Teacher Erica Simon is unsure.

“I would say 95 percent of them use school district instruments, and they all had to be collected.  I don’t know what they’re going to do next year,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

Schools superintendent William Hite has vowed to fight for the money to restore the program by September.

Complete Philadelphia School Budget coverage

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