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First Person: Making Music Education Accessible For All Children

Dalouge Smith, the outgoing CEO of the San Diego Youth Symphony is pictured i...

Credit: Courtesy of Balboa Park Cultural Partnership

Above: Dalouge Smith, the outgoing CEO of the San Diego Youth Symphony is pictured in this undated photo.

The San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory has said goodbye to President and CEO Dalouge Smith. Smith stepped down from his position July 27.

The San Diego Youth Symphony was first established in 1945 and moved to Balboa Park in 1948. In the organization's first 50 years, it brought together the top students from high school orchestras across the county, Smith said. As orchestras at high schools were eliminated, the San Diego Youth Symphony began serving students at beginning and intermediate levels, as well.

Smith has led the organization for the last 13 years and worked to expand its mission to include making music education affordable and accessible for all children.

"The evolution that I've helped usher into the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory is this blending of a continued commitment to excellence with a commitment to access and creating opportunities for young people to have access to excellence," Smith said.

The organization's first effort at increasing access is the Community Opus Project in Chula Vista, which brought music instruction back to the Chula Vista elementary school curriculum after more than 15 years. The project provides after-school orchestra and band programs.

Smith is leaving the San Diego Youth Symphony to become the CEO of The Lewis Prize for Music, a new award to honor educators and entrepreneurs around the country who use music to drive social change.

As part of our First Person series, Smith tells us how music and theater were an essential part of his upbringing, driving his passion to give every child the benefit of arts education.

We're sorry. This audio clip is no longer available. A transcript has been made available.

Special Feature First Person

KPBS Midday Edition's First Person series tells the stories of average and not-so-average San Diegans in their own words. Their experiences, both universal and deeply personal, offer a unique lens into the news of the day.

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