By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Student musicians from under-represented communities in Philadelphia will get special help to prepare them for a career in classical music, in a new program announced, last week.

The program hopes not only to encourage the students but to diversify the classical music world.

The Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth, or PMAY, will give financial support to 75 fifth through 12th graders, selected through a series of auditions, so they can afford the kind of intensive training needed to pursue music as a career.\

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At a City Hall announcement, Philadelphia Orchestra bassist Joe Conyers congratulated the group.

“You are doing more than just changing the face of classical music,” he said speaking to PMAY students. “Your various talents and the diversity of your own personal experiences ultimately help to make the music better.”

The program is funded with a $2.5 million grant from the Mellon Foundation. More students will be chosen each year.

Among this first cohort was Gregory Padilla from the High School for Creative and Performing Arts.

“Thank you all for being a part of this life-changing journey,” he said. “When you next see me, hopefully I will be up on that professional stage, playing my heart out, and it will be a dream come true.”

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