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Salvation Army Needs Help To Keep Youth Orchestra Playing

Updated 12/17/19 with new donation link. 

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Sixty-five children are all geared up to make a joyful noise, just in time for the holidays.

They're a part of the Salvation Army Phil Ramone Orchestra for Children.

But, they're at risk of going silent.

This orchestra is not just about music. It's about bringing hope and inspiration to these aspiring musicians.

"They've been through a lot, all of them, and we at the Salvation Army try our best to help them," envoy Ken Burton told CBS2's Hazel Sanchez on Thursday.

Salvation Army Children's Orchestra
Salvation Army Phil Ramone Orchestra for Children (Photo: CBS2)

Burton has been running the music program for the Salvation Army in Harlem since its inception in 2011. The orchestra was co-founded by the Salvation Army and by 14-time Grammy winner Ramone, who wanted to bring the opportunity play an instrument to young people who might not otherwise have the means.

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Since Ramone's passing in 2013, the orchestra has struggled to maintain funding to keep the program afloat. And now it is asking the public to donate money or instruments, so the children can continue to realize their full potential.

"I understand the purpose. I'm grateful for Mr. Burton and all the teachers. I just want to help him ... help him reach his goal of reaching out to children and helping them become a better version of themselves," student Lisbeth Martinez Figueroa said.

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The orchestra will be playing a benefit Christmas concert at the Salvation Army Temple Corp Community Center in Harlem on Saturday at 7 p.m.

To learn more about the program and how you can make a donation, visit

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