PHILADELPHIA (Feb. 24, 2023) – Today at Cristo Rey High School in Philadelphia, The Mann Center for the Performing Arts, TD Bank, its long-term, lead corporate partner, and TD Charitable Foundation announced their upcoming spring festival celebrating the rich cultural legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Scheduled for May 18 - May 20, 2023, the HBCU festival will lift up the heritage, performance artistry and collegiate excellence of these venerable institutions, culminating in a free, all-day celebration on May 20 across the Mann’s 22-acre campus.
The impetus for the HBCU festival grew from the Mann’s robust music education and workforce development initiatives, particularly with Overbrook High School and the Music Industry Training Program (MITP). MITP is a three-year curriculum through which students in the Mann’s Parkside community learn from and work with music industry professionals with the aim of identifying future career paths for themselves.
“Our time spent with these high schoolers has made such an impression on the Mann Board and our committed Community Engagement Committee, inspiring us to provide students with hope for a brighter future. Given our educational work, it made sense for the Mann to take on a role to build awareness of the opportunities for higher education in our neighborhood in Parkside and across Philadelphia. We are incredibly grateful that TD believed in our vision from the beginning, as both institutions are committed to promoting and exemplifying Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We are so excited to see this idea come to fruition and to celebrate the storied arts and culture of HBCUs at the HBCU Festival,” said Catherine M. Cahill, the Mann’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
Cahill added that TD expressed interest immediately when the concept for an HBCU Festival was shared back in the early days of the pandemic with TD Bank’s Head of U.S. Corporate Citizenship, Shelley Sylva, and its Social Impact team. Sylva, who is also on the Mann’s Board of Directors and serves on its Community Engagement Committee, recognized the power of such a festival to not only serve students but also to bring the community at large together, creating a historical celebration with a focus on the arts, education, and strong community spirit of the HBCU schools that would have a significant impact for participants, far and wide.
Shelley Sylva, TD's Head of Corporate Citizenship said, "At TD, inclusion is deeply embedded in everything we do, and we are fully committed to supporting opportunities that lift up communities who have been excluded historically. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.’ This is why HBCUs are so important to our society – they are there educating, embracing, nurturing, and developing our Black talent. We know that true success is only possible for businesses in America if we have a diverse pool of critical thinkers.
We're so excited to partner with the Mann in amplifying the importance of HBCUs and look forward to an outstanding event."
The HBCU Festival will be open to the public, welcoming national HBCU leaders, HBCU alumni, students, fraternities and sororities, middle and high school students, families, and Mann audiences from all walks of life.
It will include ticketed events, such as the GRAMMY®-nominated and Emmy Award-winning Morgan State University Choir led by Choir Director Dr. Eric Conway with The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin on May 18. Other ticketed events will be announced soon.
The free, all-day festival on May 20 will feature drumlines, college mass choirs, marching bands, cheer squads and noted artists performing throughout the campus and on the main stage. Other free activities will include an HBCU college fair and college panel discussions, family activities, music master classes, and a college marching-band “battle of the bands” competition as the finale. Already committed to participate in the college fair and with marching bands and/or choirs are Cheyney University, Delaware State University, Lincoln University, Morgan State University, Tuskegee University, Stillman College, and Oakwood University, with several others such as Spelman College, Benedict College and Fisk University also participating in the college fair.
TD’s $500,000 sponsorship supporting the HBCU Festival deepens the Bank's already supportive bond with the Mann. Four years ago, TD Bank generously invested in the Mann with the naming of the venue’s main pavilion, now TD Pavilion. Since then, TD has supported many community engagement efforts, including the Mann’s Voices of Hope annual celebration honoring local community leaders, and now the highly-anticipated HBCU Festival.
About the Mann Center for the Performing Arts
As one of the foremost outdoor music centers in the country, the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, a leading non-profit organization, has a historical legacy of artistic excellence as a world-class entertainment destination presenting premier artists, now in association with Live Nation Entertainment. Each summer season, renowned symphony orchestras, iconic rock stars, and the latest touring artists in indie rock, hip hop, R&B, and pop take the stage here. The Mann is the summer home of The Philadelphia Orchestra and has presented critically acclaimed performers every decade since the 1930s. Located in the heart of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, the Mann hosts more than 300,000 visitors annually. Signature concert experiences are surrounded by Philadelphia’s stunning skyline and include seats beneath the Mann’s acoustically acclaimed TD Pavilion; picnics, blankets, and music under the stars on its Great Lawn or at the top of the hill at the Skyline Stage; and dining in Crescendo, the venue’s spectacular tented restaurant. In addition, the Mann’s Education & Community Engagement Program reaches tens of thousands of young people annually through free programming and educational initiatives as well as its virtual Mann Music Room. For more information, visit manncenter.org.
About TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®
TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing over 9.8 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at more than 1,100 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Auto Finance, a division of TD Bank, N.A., offers vehicle financing and dealer commercial services. TD Bank and its subsidiaries also offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit www.td.com/us. Find TD Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDBank and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US and at www.twitter.com/TDNews_US.
Corporate Communications Manager