Las Vegas Philharmonic's Music Van bringing more music to community

Posted at 5:47 PM, Mar 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-05 20:47:13-05

Music education doesn't end once school is finished. The Las Vegas Philharmonic's Music Van looks to bring music to all ages around Southern Nevada.

"The access issue is really, really important to us because we are Las Vegas' symphony orchestra. That's our tagline," said Kevin Eberle, Las Vegas Philharmonic director of education. "If we're going to be Las Vegas' symphony orchestra, if we're going to be your symphony orchestra, we need to be that. What better way to go where people already are."

Most of the Philharmonic's performances are at the Smith Center in downtown Las Vegas, which, for some due to ability or location, might not be the easiest destination to get to. 

"It occurred to me that we should be able to engage with people outside the Smith Center in a way that’s comfortable for them,” Eberle said about the initial idea of the Music Van. 

While the Philharmonic mostly focuses on children in its education program, the Music Van would expand upon it while also reaching out to seniors and the community at large. 

"I think that music, there's so many nuances, there's so many different things to learn that the way Music Van folds in, is to really allow us to customize what people are learning and what people are exposed to," Eberle said. "Every program in the van is customizable, we can tailor the learning objectives for each of those."

An orchestra in California does a similar program where kids can rent instruments from the van. 

“What if we adapted that model but it was more than just instrument trials. It was actual programs that teachers can pick or senior center administrators can pick," Eberle said. "Vegas is a great way to make sure all the musicians get there and all the equipment gets there and it’s a good branding opportunity.” 

Among the possibilities include supplementing the music programs currently in schools to teaching older adults about music history to sharing different types of music from different countries. The program can also be tailored to be bilingual. 

"There's people who can benefit from music therapy," Eberle said. "There's people who could benefit from the social exposure."

The Music Van is scheduled to launch in August 2018 and initially will serve the Las Vegas valley before eventually expanding to the greater Clark County, including small towns such as Mesquite and Laughlin.

"Those communities are places we should serve and we may not be able to serve them with the entire orchestra due to logistic restraints and things like that, but doing a community event is great," Eberle said.

But the depth of the Music Van's reach will depend on the funding that the Las Vegas Philharmonic receives.  

"We fundraise for a lot of things and unless you come to a concert or unless you're already engaged with us, you may not see your dollars working," Eberle said. "But when you see that van on I-15 breezing down to Henderson ... you can actually see what your dollars are doing."

For more information on the Music Van, check out the Las Vegas Philharmonic's website