The League of American Orchestras, Feeding America and Participant Media Team for National Food Drive Inspired by the Upcoming Film "The Soloist"

February 12, 2009

Inspired by the upcoming film The Soloist, the League of American Orchestras and Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger relief organization, and Participant Media have joined forces for Orchestras Feeding America, a large-scale national food drive that will take place on March 27th and 28th (dates may vary by locality; check with your local orchestra). Orchestras across the country will participate in this unprecedented effort by collecting and donating food to their local food assistance agency or food bank within Feeding America's network of over 200 food banks and 63,000 agencies. The joint announcement was made today by Jesse Rosen, President and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America, and Jim Berk, CEO of Participant Media.

Jesse Rosen said,"The story of The Soloist reminds us that classical music has the power to sustain spirits and change lives, even under the most difficult circumstances. Our team effort with Feeding America and The Soloist gives America's orchestras a way to use that power to make an even greater difference in our communities-- to feed both body and soul."

Vicki Escarra said,"Feeding America is thrilled that America's orchestras are joining us in our fight against hunger in America. This partnership will help the hungry in nearly every community nationwide and the 36 million people who are at risk of hunger."

Jim Berk said,"Participant Media is dedicated to presenting entertainment that inspires and compels social change, and our social action campaigns are all about bringing together different organizations and groups to join us in actively making a difference in the world. We are delighted that the League of American Orchestras has joined forces with Feeding America for this unprecedented national food drive in connection with the release of The Soloist."

One in eight Americans does not know where to find their next meal. According to the USDA, there are 36 million people at risk of hunger in the US, 12 million of which are children. In December 2008, Feeding America conducted a survey of 160 food banks nationwide – the results were troubling, with food banks reporting a 30 percent increase in demand for emergency food assistance, compared to one year ago.

The Soloist, starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr., directed by Joe Wright, will be released by Paramount Pictures to theaters nationwide on April 24th. A Dreamworks Pictures/Universal Pictures presentation in association with Studio Canal and Participant Media, the film is based on the true story of the relationship between Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez and Nathaniel Ayers, a gifted Juilliard-trained string player whose mental illness landed him among the homeless on the streets of Los Angeles. Featuring the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Soloist is a testament to the redemptive power of music and a reminder of our connections to the most vulnerable among us.

America's symphony, chamber, collegiate, and youth orchestras touch the lives of nearly 30 million people annually, in all 50 states and in virtually every community. In 2006-07 America's orchestras performed more than 37,000 concerts, of which nearly half were dedicated to engaging young people and the broader community in the musical experience. Nearly a 25% of the music performed by American orchestras was written by American composers; in 2007-08 the programs ranged from beloved classics to more than 120 world premieres.

For more information about Orchestras Feeding America, a list of participating orchestras, and/or to register your orchestra to participate, please visit the League's website


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About Feeding America

Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

League of American Orchestras

Founded in 1942, and chartered by Congress in 1962, the League of American Orchestras leads, encourages, and supports America's orchestras while communicating to the public the value and importance of orchestras and the music they perform. Its vision is to be a transformative and unifying force for the orchestra field – a catalyst for understanding and innovation, a place for conversations that matter, and a champion for orchestras. The League provides a wealth of services, meaningful information, learning and leadership opportunities, and grass-roots advocacy to its diverse membership, which encompasses nearly 1,000 member symphony, chamber, youth, and collegiate orchestras of all sizes, and links a national network of thousands of instrumentalists, conductors, managers, board members, volunteers, staff members, and business partners. Visit to learn more.

About Participant Media
Participant Media is a Los Angeles-based entertainment company that focuses on socially relevant, commercially viable feature films, documentaries and television, as well as publishing and digital media. Participant Media is headed by CEO Jim Berk and was founded in 2004 by philanthropist Jeff Skoll, who serves as Chairman. Ricky Strauss is President. Participant exists to tell compelling, entertaining stories that bring to the forefront real issues that shape our lives. For each of its projects, Participant creates extensive social action and advocacy programs which provide ideas and tools to transform the impact of the media experience into individual and community action. Participant's films include The Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson's War, Darfur Now, An Inconvenient Truth, Good, Night and Good Luck., Syriana, Standard Operating Procedure and The Visitor. For more information visit


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