Kevin Ramos and other students at Highlandtown Elementary/Middle No. 215 during an OrchKids session.
Kevin Ramos and other students at Highlandtown Elementary/Middle No. 215 during an OrchKids session. (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

For its first foray into online crowd-funding, OrchKids, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's widely admired educational project, has set a goal of raising $10,000 on Tuesday to support its summer program.

The "OrchKids Day of Giving" got a head start from donations shortly after an announcement about the campaign was posted on Indiegogo's Generosity site late last week. That helped raise the stakes.

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"We started with a $5,000 goal, but we just raised it to $10,000 after receiving a pledge of $2,500 from Horseshoe Casino," said OrchKids executive director Raquel Whiting Gilmer.

During the school year, OrchKids, founded by BSO music director Marin Alsop, provides music training, academic mentoring and meals to 1,200 students from 15 underprivileged Baltimore public schools at six sites.

About 200 students will take part in this year's summer program.

"I wish we could reach thousands of kids," Alsop said. "There are so many kids who deserve this. Sadly, there are studies showing how under-served youths lose reading skills over the summer. We do academic tutoring along with music in the OrchKids summer program. It's an organic process."

Physical education, games, meals and snacks are also part of the summer regimen.

In addition, some money raised for the OrchKids campaign will be earmarked to help send OrchKids students out of state to participate in such high-profile enterprises as the Interlochen Summer Music Camp in Michigan.

"We've got 20 going to Interlochen this year," Alsop said. "Most are able to get full or part scholarships, but they still need to get there."

OrchKids will also be represented this summer at music camps in New York and Maine, as well as the Los Angeles Philharmonic's National Take a Stand Festival.

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