Free camp lets kids practice with Philadelphia Orchestra

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Twelve-year-old Sonya Dobi has been practicing playing the violin vigilantly since she was in elementary school.

"If I'm lazy, it's one hour, but if I'm in a good mood, I'll do two or three hours a day," she said.

After all that hard work, she now gets to play alongside her heroes from the Philadelphia Orchestra.

"It could start a good legacy," she said.

It is the "All-City Orchestra Summer Academy," and it is a new program at the Mann Center that invites kids from the Philadelphia School District to train with professional musicians.

"If they're able to have and see what's possible in the future, then they know they can achieve it," said Naomi Gonzalez, director of education for the Mann Center.

The organizers wanted to make achieving this goal a little easier for the kids, so they decided to make this program free.

"It costs money to be a musician and not all families that cross that resource barrier," said Gonzalez.

It took a partnership between the Mann Center, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia School District, and the non-profit Project 440 to get all the funding, but because of that, 54 aspiring musicians are taking advantage of the inaugural season.

At the end of the two weeks, the kids are going to have a final concert on Sunday, July 28 at 2 p.m. on the main stage of the Mann Center. They're hoping at 4,500 seats will be filled.

As she's playing for the crowd, Dobi says she'll be picturing her future goals.

"They're one of the most amazing orchestras in the world and that orchestra is so hard to get into. The fact that they're teaching us, and they were just like us, gives me hope that I can be in the Philadelphia Orchestra too," said Dobi.
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.