April 2024 Newsletter

Greetings from our Executive Director

Hello BRAVO family. It’s hard to believe that it has already been one month since I joined the team as Executive Director. I’m beyond happy to be here. I have admired the work BRAVO has done for many, many years as I was fortunate to collaborate with BRAVO when I was with YMA: Young Musicians & Artists. Each summer BRAVO sent some simply astounding students to YMA’s summer music camp, and we felt so fortunate to welcome them and hear them perform.

In the last month, I have taken the time to get to know all of the BRAVO team to hear their dreams and desires for the organization. What I also heard was just how special it is to them to show up to work every day knowing that they get to share music with North Portland youth. I am simply honored to work with such a dedicated group.

We have some big things in store for BRAVO that we’ll be working on this summer. Until then, I hope to see you at one of the events we have coming up. I also welcome you to reach out to me directly with any questions, ideas, or just to say hi. I can be reached at [email protected].


Neal Spinler
Executive Director

Join us at the Library

On Saturday, April 20 from from 10:30am to 12:30pm, BRAVO’s Intermediate & Advanced Orchestra will perform for Kenton Library’s story hour and celebration for Día de los Niños. During this event BRAVO students and staff will play music from and inspired by Spanish speaking countries, demonstrate individual instruments of our orchestra, and host an instrument petting zoo. 

BRAVO at the PPS Honors Choir

CONGRATULATIONS to our Choir program TA, Ms. Asia Austin, and one of very own BRAVO Choir Program participants, Faye Hall, a 5th grade Rosa Parks student, who was nominated and performed in the PPS Honors Choir for the HeART of Portland at the Portland Art Museum earlier this week. What an outstanding achievement.  Thank you, Asia, for your hard work and dedication to our students! 

“Faye Hall, a second-year student from the Rosa Parks Bravo Elementary Choir, showcased her talents at the PPS Honors Elementary Choir event on Tuesday, April 16th, as part of The HeART of Portland’s 10th Annual celebration. Dr. Sandy Husk, PH.D, Interim Superintendent of Portland Public Schools, and Dan Ryan, Culture and Livability Commissioner for the City of Portland, were among the esteemed guests who gathered to support the local arts scene. Faye was selected as one of the “hand-picked” music students from her music program to participate in this Honors choir. Her performance showed confidence, resilience, and professionalism, reflecting her dedication to her craft. As her teaching artist, I am extremely proud in seeing how the Bravo choir program has contributed to Faye’s musical journey. Congratulations, Faye, on your outstanding achievement!”

Voices of Tomorrow with PCSO

The two organizations share a meaningful message of diversifying the arts through the means of equitable exchanges that uplift our community. Through BRAVO’s mentorship program for our veteran players, this opportunity of a side-by-side will showcase our most experienced students sitting next to professional orchestral players who have found multiple pathways through the arts. Some musicians are full time artists and others are physicians, lawyers and educators by day. Some even have their own companies that share similar missions as BRAVO and PCSO. This concert will also feature one of our very own, Adam Eccleston, who will be the soloist for this concert.  The orchestra will have BRAVO students in almost every section. From strings, to winds and brass.  

The hope of this side-by-side is to bridge the gaps between our students in the arts and offer them a spotlight while learning and cultivating leadership and artistic skills at a very high level. The music selected for the side-by-side feature music from Latin America showcasing the width that the African diaspora and indigenous culture have influenced our daily lives. This concert, like every concert, will celebrate a local/regional composer and this concert will feature music by Lewis and Clark professor, Freddy Vilches. Professor Vilches hails from Chile and has been in the Pacific Northwest since his appointment as Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies in 2006. Professor Vilches is proud to share his light and wisdom of Latin American music in our region. Conductor Steven Byess is excited to share a unique and unforgettable experience for our students and fellow musicians of the Portland Columbia Symphony. Concerts are May 4 at the First United Methodist Church at 7:30p and May 5 at Gresham Highschool at 3pm.

BRAVO Community Orchestra

Join us on Friday, May 24th at 7pm for our FREE BCO concert at the University of Portland for Latin American Portraits with music including Por Una Cabeza, Libertango, La Comparsita, Huapango, and more.

BCO consists of current BRAVO students, BRAVO alumni, and community musicians under the baton of Maestro Giancarlo Castro D’Addona.

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