FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (January 23, 2023) – South Florida Symphony Orchestra (SFSO), celebrating 25 years of artistic excellence, is pleased to announce that it has been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to receive a Grants for Arts Projects award of $10,000. This grant will support SFSO’s educational initiative, “Preserving Our Coral Reef: Teams of Success.” This grant is one of 1,251 Grants for Arts Projects awards totaling nearly $28.8 million that were announced by the NEA as part of its first round of fiscal year 2023 grants.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects in communities nationwide,” said NEA chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “Projects such as South Florida Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Preserving Our Coral Reef: Teams of Success’ strengthen arts and cultural ecosystems, provide equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, and contribute to the health of our communities and our economy.”

Through multi-media, props, costumes, and narration, SFSO’s musicians, led by music educator Donna Wissinger, shine a light on the plight of Florida’s 350+ mile long coral reef in the “Preserving Our Coral Reef: Teams of Success” initiative. Wissinger explains the environmental stressors that have created the precarious situation and brings hope for the future with the concept of coral micro-fragmentation, a process discovered by marine scientist, Dr. David Vaughan, in which a large healthy coral can be broken into smaller pieces. These plugs quickly grow into larger corals and are transplanted back onto the reef. The program is set to an emotional score by composer Robert Kerr.

“South Florida Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to receive this meaningful grant for the first time which will allow us to continue our mission of educating future generations of ecological preservationists, explorers and musicians,” said Jacqueline Lorber, president and CEO of South Florida Symphony Orchestra. “This initiative, set to tour in the tri-county area, is part of our ongoing commitment to Symphony in the Schools which focuses on critical STEAM programming. ‘Preserving Our Coral Reef’ may just inspire the next Jacques Cousteau!”

“Preserving Our Coral Reef: Teams of Success” will reach Coral Shores and Key West High School in Monroe County on January 26 & 27 and the Miami Beach Bandshell on February 28. Additional dates in Broward and beyond will be announced.

Since its founding, SFSO’s signature music education program, Symphony in the Schools, has reached over 100,000 students from underserved communities and has provided more than $3.5 million in services and resources in the past five years. The curriculum utilizes thematic music education programming including a ‘Power of Perseverance’ presentation highlighting impactful young people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds who strive to make a difference, and masterclass components that work with children side-by-side to improve musicianship.

For more information on other projects included in the NEA’s grant announcement, visit

For additional information about South Florida Symphony Orchestra, visit, call (954) 522-8445 or email

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