LiveConnections' Bridge Sessions and in-school residencies provide interactive educational opportunities for youth from city schools & people with disabilities.


Our LiveConnections Presents concert series features collaborative concerts designed for adventurous music-lovers.


We prioritize accessibility for people with disabilities through Bridge Sessions, workshops & live webcasts.

Written by David Bradley   
Published on Wednesday, 01 May 2013 11:00

As we kick off our Kids Count Campaign next week, we're paying close attention to the current budget crisis for public schools. Yesterday, LiveConnections co-founder David Bradley testified before city council as part of the hearings about Philadelphia school district funding. The full text of his presentation is included below.


Testimony to City Council on Behalf of School District of Philadelphia Funding
April 30, 2013

President Clarke and Fellow Council Members,

My name is David Bradley. I am a resident of Northwest Philadelphia. I want to thank our council member Cindy Bass for her work on behalf of our neighborhood.

My wife and I have lived in Philadelphia for 20 years. When our Center City apartment was sold in 1998 we chose to buy our current row home in Northwest Philadelphia because as a young couple we felt it was important to put our family’s roots down in the city and contribute to its growth.

We now have a 5th grader at Masterman. We have another son who is anticipating his applications to Central and Science Leadership Academy and the Academy at Palumbo. And, as a theater director, arts educator and arts leader, I have created work with and for thousands of Philadelphia public school students through Philadelphia Young Playwrights, the National Constitution Center, People’s Light and Theatre and the music nonprofit LiveConnections, among others.

These young people are asking passionate questions about our Constitution. They are writing plays about the world they envision. They are performing alongside professional musicians with joy. Their minds are open, their voices are strong, their lives are full of promise.

And if the proposed school budget is adopted, my city, our city, will tell them: we’re sorry, we can’t afford to nurture that promise. Do it on your own, because the buck stopped here and died.

I’m a parent and I stand fully behind the District’s request for $60 million from the city and $120 million from the state. I’m a taxpayer and I will pay more taxes—through the AVI or a liquor by the drink tax or another suitable method if it means full funding for our schools.

I have never testified before City Council. But the decimation facing our kids and our schools got me here today. And it’s an honor to be in the same room where 37 years ago my grandfather Michael J. Bradley, a former U.S. Congressman, gave his final address as a public servant. In that address he spoke passionately about the need to stand for principle and make the sacrifices and compromises necessary to achieve those principles. Today, the principles are clear. Number 1: our children deserve a great education. Number 2: to thrive our city must offer that education to all, or lose its citizenry to a devastating combination of poverty, neglect and suburban flight.

The sacrifices are clear. I’m going to have to pay my share in taxes, even more taxes. The state is going to have to live up to its responsibility for its principal urban district. The city is going to have to commit to more revenue.

My grandfather served in Congress when the Depression and World War II showed this nation what a government’s commitment to its citizens and the citizenry’s commitment to common purpose could achieve.

You can commit to those ideals again by meeting the District’s request for funding, or you can tell our kids, and their parents, that there’s a great education waiting for them—just over the city line.

The other night my wife and I had a sobering conversation. If these cuts go through, we’d have to leave the city. There is no quality education possible under this budget. And you know what? We—wage, property and business taxpayers—have the ability to make that choice. Too many in the city can’t make that choice.

But right now, my son Noah and his pals Eddie and Jared are just up the street working on their project for this year’s Masterman science fair. They are testing the effects of age on memory.

No matter how old they get, they won’t forget the spring when their leaders stood up for them and said, since you’re working hard for your education we’ll work hard for your education. No matter what else they lose track of, they won’t forget the spring when the grown ups acted like the grown ups and set the stage for a better future for the kids.

No matter what fades away, they won’t forget when they learned about principle and sacrifice and doing the right thing from the city’s leaders who stood up for them, and stood up to the state and said, there’s no city without these kids, there’s no growth without our schools, there’s no reason for families to stay without a fully-funded education.

Burn these months into our kids’ memory. Have the courage to lead with your own action by meeting the $60 million request. Yes, ask for the sacrifices. Yes, demand the help.

Our kids won’t forget. We won’t forget.

Thank you.

Latest News

Join our team! We're hiring a full-time Program & Development Coordinator

February 20, 2018 — Are you a multi-talented individual interested in learning the inner working of arts administration? LiveConnections seeks a full-time Program & Development Coordinator to support our music education and concert programming and to support fundraising efforts for our growing non-profit organization.

400+ Philly Kids to Rock Out for All-Day World Cafe Live Festival

January 8, 2018 — On Sunday, February 25, over 400 Philly-area kids will take to the stage at World Cafe Live for an all-day rock concert. The February event is the inaugural Kids Rock Philly: A Benefit For LiveConnections where kids from five regional Schools of Rock will perform in a six hour festival-style concert across both stages at World Cafe Live.

LiveConnections Wins 2018-2019 Barra Award for Exemplary Nonprofits in the Greater Philadelphia Region

December 5, 2017 — The Barra Foundation has announced that LiveConnections is a recipient of a 2018-2019 Barra Award. LiveConnections joins 43 exceptional nonprofit organizations in the Greater Philadelphia region that will each receive $50,000 in grant funding. Barra Awardees are nominated by their peers in the social sector and are then invited to submit an application to the Foundation.

Fifth House Ensemble and Jason Vieaux Join Forces for LiveConnections Concert

December 4, 2017 — LiveConnections’ 2017-18 concert series begins with the unlimited imagination and powerhouse artistry of the Fifth House Ensemble, which joins Grammy-winner Jason Vieaux, “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation” (NPR), to perform a one-night only concert including Dan Visconti’s “Living Language”  on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 7:30PM at World Cafe Live, Philadelphia.

Mount Airy Violin & Bows Partners with LiveConnections to Give the Gift of Music this Season

November 29, 2017 — This holiday season, Mount Airy Violins & Bows is giving the gift of music to Philadelphia youth. The shop has partnered with LiveConnections, the Philly non-profit dedicated to creating unique programs that inspire learning and build community through collaborative music-making, and will donate 5% of their holiday sales to help support LiveConnections’ mission.

LiveConnections Announces 2017-2018 Season of Community Collaboration

September 13, 2017 — Can music build community? This season’s performances provide the opportunity for musicians to create distinctive, boundary-blurring music, often involving new commissions and world premieres, while collaborating with members of the greater Philadelphia community and beyond. Programs include performances by Fifth House Ensemble, Jason Vieaux, VOCES8, Kinan Azmeh, Aizuri Quartet, and more.

LiveConnections Honors Drexel ExCITe Center’s Youngmoo Kim at Big Hurrah Celebration

August 22, 2017 — LiveConnections is thrilled to honor Youngmoo Kim, director of Drexel University’s ExCITe Center, with our 3rd annual Connector Award at this year's Big Hurrah on November 14. The evening will also include performances from Andrew Lipke, Angela Zator Nelson, David Rosen, Allen Pinkney, Luke Carlos O’Reilly, Kwasi Burgee, and more!

Announcing Hill-Freedman World Academy's album "First Verse" | July reflections from executive director Melinda Steffy

July 5, 2017 — Sometimes a simple connection takes on a life of its own. Read more from executive director Melinda Steffy about the making of the Hill-Freedman album, "First Verse".

It's been an inspiring season | June reflections from executive director Melinda Steffy

June 14, 2017 — We've had an inspiring year here at LiveConnections. 4600 participants in our educational programs, 5 commissions of new concert music, more than 45 tremendously talented artists. Take a look at our 2016-2017 year in review.

LA Opera’s Elizabeth Zharoff and Award-Winning Double Bassist Xavier Foley Team Up to Premiere Video Game Music at LiveConnections

April 25, 2017 — On June 2, two Curtis Institute grads will present an evening of classical tunes and original video game compositions at LiveConnections, in residence at World Cafe Live.


Donate to LiveConnections


Join Our Mailing List



Blog Archive

LiveConnections is grateful for the support of numerous individuals, companies and foundations who believe in our mission and help make our programs possible.
[Become a supporter!]

Big Hurrah Sponsors:
(as of 10/24/2017)

$5000 School Sponsor

Drexel University


Fox Rothschild


Philly Music Fest


World Cafe Live





$2500 Collaboration Sponsor

Brandywine Realty






Dranoff Properties


Pepper Hamilton


University of Pennsylvania





$1000 Connecting Sponsors



Ballard Spahr






Cozen O'Connor


Curtis Institute of Music


Jonathan Fink Group




ITEM Media


Law Rocks


Philadelphia Insurance Companies


RSK Advisory


TGS Financial



$500 Sponsors
The Art Shop
Benjamin Cobrin & Company
BWA architecture + planning
Coscia Moos Architecture, LLC
Grace Tavern
Keystone First
Dr. Karyn Scher
W. Michael Tuman, DMD
University City Science Center



Connector Award



Business Support



Foundation Support 2016-2017:
Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation
Corrine R. & Henry Bower Memorial Trust
CHG Charitable Trust
Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation
The Allen Hilles Fund
Independence Foundation
Patricia Kind Family Foundation
Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation
Christopher Ludwick Foundation
The Presser Foundation
Rosenlund Family Foundation
Caroline J.S. Sanders Trust
The Scholler Foundation
Howell Lockhart Seiple Trust
Seybert Foundation
Joseph Kennard Skilling Trust
Paula Steinebach Trust
Strauss Foundation
Union Benevolent Association
Henrietta Tower Wurts Memorial
Wyncote Foundation



Additional Support:

LiveConnections is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.



Additional support provided in part by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, tax ID 26-2666641. The official registration and financial information of may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.