Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids Shifts to Virtual Program with Support from Bank of America

Grants from the bank support Baltimore art and cultural institutions as they continue to connect with community

Baltimore, Md. – Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program is keeping the music alive — even though their lessons look a little different these days. The OrchKids program has shifted to new ways of supporting its students and the community virtually due to the pandemic with help from a $20,000 grant from Bank of America.

OrchKids is a year-round, during and after school, music program designed to create social change and nurture promising futures for youth in Baltimore City neighborhoods. The program moved lessons online in May and is currently serving hundreds of students in the virtual space. As a result of the shift to virtual lessons, they incurred additional costs including platform fees, device costs for students, as well as technical support and training for students, teachers, and staff.

“We could not have made these additional investments without Bank of America’s support,” said Raquel Whiting Gilmer, executive director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program. “The bank has been an incredibly dedicated partner to OrchKids and a valuable community leader in supporting students across Baltimore City. I hope this commitment to ensuring students and families have access to music and art, regardless of income or resources, will inspire other corporate leaders to invest in our communities.”

“Maintaining a vibrant arts sector is critical to the social and economic development of our communities,” said Sabina Kelly, Greater Maryland market president for Bank of America. “The arts help communities thrive by educating and enriching societies, and creating greater cultural understanding — which we need now more than ever.”

In addition to the OrchKids program, the bank partnered with the Baltimore Children’s Museum and the Maryland Zoological Society this fall to support these Baltimore City institutions as they have adapted to continue to serve the community.

The bank also remains steadfast in its support of its museum partners though their Museums on Us program. Now in its 22nd year, the program gives Bank of America card holders free admission to participating museums the first full weekend of each month. Local participants in that program are the Maryland Science Center and the Reginald F. Lewis African American History and Culture Museum, both of which reopened doors this October with revised safety guidelines in place.


OrchKids transforms the lives of Baltimore students by providing community-based, high quality music instruction and programming; creating equitable access to instrumental music as well as critical resources needed to create brighter futures. Founded in 2008, by Maestra Marin Alsop, what began with 30 first grade students at one school site, now serves more than 2,000 pre-K through 12th grade students at 10 Baltimore City Public Schools. For more information, please visit:

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