Outpouring of Support for Musicians of Steel 5K Run/Walk 2020: VIRTUAL EDITION

by Bronwyn Banerdt

Last month, the Musicians of the PSO hosted our 4th Annual Musicians of Steel 5K Run/Walk benefitting the PSO Musicians Care Fund. When we first envisioned holding a local charity event in 2017, we had two goals in mind: to enrich and support the young people of the community that has given so much to us; and to create an opportunity for our community to connect outside of the concert hall. For the past three years, our PSO family — musicians, staff, board members, volunteers, patrons, and concert-goers, along with friends, family members, and even strangers — has gathered on a lovely September morning for a walk, run, or (in some cases) unicycle ride along the Allegheny River, with live music wafting through the air. This shared experience has been a wonderful chance for us to meet, mingle, and enjoy the strong sense of community that we are so lucky to have imbued in our City of Steel. And best of all, each year we have raised over $10,000 for the PSO Musicians Care Fund — money that goes straight back into our community. Through this fund, we support local music programs like the ones that helped many of us become the musicians we are today, and we strive to extend those opportunities to all members of our community.

As we began planning our 2020 event, we wondered how any of this would work in the midst of a pandemic. Would anyone be interested in a “virtual” race? Would we even be able to raise funds during the COVID era? This November, we received our answer. 

Our first ever virtual event brought together a record 307 participants aged 2 – 85 from 20 states and 5 countries. We couldn’t perform live music for our runners, but PSO Musicians curated a musical running playlist especially for this event. We couldn’t gather in person, but people sent in dozens of photos and videos from all over the world. A generous group of 36 sponsors helped us cover all race-related expenses so that 100% of registration fees went directly to the Musicians Care Fund. Combined with the generosity of 80 individual donors, we are giving $15,000 to the PSO Musicians Care Fund this year!  We are happy to announce that this year’s race proceeds will support programs at the Hope Academy at East Liberty Presbyterian Church and the Afro-American Music Institute. In addition, we will establish scholarships at the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra and Three Rivers Young People’s Orchestras. Watch for news of further grants throughout the year! 

Prizes, shirts and masks were packed and shipped last week. If you were expecting one and it doesn’t arrive, please let us know at musiciansofsteel5k@gmail.com or through our website, musiciansofsteel5k.com.

From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU to everyone who made possible the 4th Annual Musicians of Steel 5K Run/Walk 2020: VIRTUAL EDITION. We look forward to seeing you next year in person!