Europe beckons for young Philadelphia viola player

Michael Stanley embarks on “Buffalo Soldier” opera tour with help from Charity Services Centers, P.A. and community-minded local banks
(PR NewsChannel) / May 14, 2012 / PHILADELPHIA 

Charity Services Centers, P.A.International Opera Theater of Philadelphia and Charity Services Centers, P.A. proudly announce that Michael Stanley, 18-year-old senior at Girard Academic Music Project (GAMP) in Philadelphia will play the viola in the world premiere of the opera “Buffalo Soldier” in Citta’ della Pieve, in Italy on July 12, 2012.

Stanley’s participation in this international musical event is made possible by the generous support of three local banks (Beneficial Bank, Susquehanna Bank and Sun National Bank) which participated in a matching donation program structured by Charity Services Centers, P.A.    

Stanley is an experienced violist with an impressive musical resume. He became a member of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra in 2007 and was principal viola from 2008 through 2012. He was also principal viola of the Philadelphia All-City Orchestra from 2010 to 2012 and intern at the Musicopia String Orchestra in 2011. He has also instructed viola at Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School since 2008.

“Though his background is impressive, it was Michael’s artistry and fine musicianship that most impressed our Italian maestro during open auditions in Philadelphia this past January,” says Karen Saillant, artistic director of International Opera Theater.

Stanley’s talent earned him a place in this production; unfortunately at the time of receiving this prestigious invitation, his family did not have the resources to send him to Italy. After hearing his story, Charity Services Centers, P.A. offered to match donations from other organizations and prominent local banks in the area to make Stanley’s dream a reality.

“We thought Michael truly deserved to display his talent in an international setting,” says Bill Burdette, Founder and CEO of Charity Services Centers, P.A. “After some community-minded banks were moved by Michael’s story they agreed to assist Michael and we were able to raise the money needed for his trip.”

The opera “Buffalo Soldier” tells the little known story of the segregated 92nd Infantry Division who fought with unyielding valor in World War II. It is inspired by the award-winning documentary “Inside Buffalo” by Fred Kuwornu. “Buffalo Soldier” premieres in Città della Pieve (Umbria) Italy in July 2012 as part of the Trasimeno Blues Festival and then proceeds to the same mountainside towns where the 92nd Infantry and thousands of loyal Italian villagers and partisans fought to end the war. The tour includes cities such as Barga, Cortona and Volterra, where it will be part of the Festival of the Teatro Romano. “Buffalo Soldier” is a truly unique multicultural event. The orchestra will include musicians from many different countries and the buffalo soldiers will sing in English, while the Italian partisans sing in Italian.  

About International Opera Theater: With offices in Philadelphia and Città del la Pieve, Italy, International Opera Theater’s mission is to encourage self-discovery and open avenues of communication between diverse populations through the creation of new, and the revitalization of old, theatrical works, especially operas. “Buffalo Soldier” is IOT’s ninth world premiere opera. Through its premieres, the IOT has brought artists from 35 different countries together in Italy. For more information on the International Opera Theater, visit

About Charity Services Centers, P.A.: The Charity Services Centers, P.A. and iNet Charities Corp program. were founded to help charitable organizations leverage their own skills and resources to better serve their constituents. The founders come from a variety of backgrounds ranging from marketing, legal, human resources and information technology and now offer that expertise to non-profits in their community. For more information about Charity Services Centers, P.A. visit


Jay Stillman
Regional Director
O: (856) 533-2443

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SOURCE:  Charity Services Centers, P.A.

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