“Our students leave here empowered, they leave here having experienced joy.”
—Ezechial Thurman, teacher at Hill-Freedman World Academy
What happens when exceptional artistry meets hands-on participation meets a world-class venue? World Cafe Live’s signature Bridge Sessions combine all three, creating a high-impact music experience for students from public schools and people with disabilities.
Artists collaborate across diverse music traditions–blues, classical, gospel, hip-hop, jazz, pop, rock, Latin American, Middle Eastern, and West African, to name a few–to create sessions with topics such as “World of Percussion,” “Cybersounds,” and “African-American Spirituals: Roots & Reverberations.”
A Mix of Performance and Interaction
Bridge Sessions provide multiple ways for participants to engage in music-making, through call and response, movement, playing percussion instruments, creating rhythm poems, and more. Sessions can easily be adapted to the age/level of the participants.
In addition to introducing basic elements of music, sessions also connect with classroom subjects such as language arts and social studies. Our culturally relevant topics engage participants in thinking about diversity, identity, justice, and creativity.
Participants enjoy professional sound and lights during these 75-minute sessions at World Cafe Live. Our innovative approach leaves participants feeling inspired, connected to each other and the wider world.
When do Bridge Sessions take place?
Bridge Sessions are scheduled from October through May, taking place on weekday mornings during the school day. We typically offer two 75-minute sessions per date, the first starting at 9:30am and the second at 11:15am.
Where are sessions held?
Sessions are held in The Music Hall at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.
How many participants can attend?
We welcome groups from 20-160 people (including chaperones). Sometimes we have multiple schools/organizations attending the same session. Our maximum capacity is 160 seats.
What ages/grades are sessions for?
Bridge Sessions are geared towards grades 2-12, although some topics work particularly well for certain age ranges. Check out our Session Topics below for specifics. Most Bridge Sessions can also be adapted for adults with physical or cognitive disabilities. Our program coordinator will work with you to select the best session for your group.
Can I attend multiple sessions?
Absolutely! We encourage schools to sign up for a sequence of 3 Bridge Sessions throughout the school year, bringing the same group of students each time. This allows students to engage with a wide range of music and topics, and creates an immersive experience.
What is the cost to attend Bridge Sessions?
We are able to offer FREE sessions for district and charter schools in Philadelphia, and we can reimburse school bus costs for those schools. Sessions are also free for human service organizations serving people with disabilities; we ask these organizations to cover their own transportation costs. For independent and suburban schools, we suggest a $10/student ticket price.
How do I get a school bus reimbursement?
Schools/organizations are responsible for making all travel arrangements. Note that we only issue reimbursements and cannot pay bus costs up front. If your school has the budget to cover your own bus costs, we encourage you to do so, so that we can share our resources with schools in greater need.
To receive a reimbursement, please submit a copy of the bus invoice, clearly indicating 1) the amount, 2) to whom the check should be payable, and 3) where to mail the check.
Can you provide a Certificate of Insurance?
World Cafe Live is fully insured and keeps a Certificate of Insurance on file with the School District of Philadelphia. If your school/organization requires a COI, please let us know at least 2 weeks before your session.
Do you have curriculum resources?
Check out our Session Topics below for detailed information. Feel free to contact us if you have further questions.
Do Bridge Sessions satisfy state education standards?
Bridge Sessions easily intersect with state standards for music education, as well as many other classroom subjects. Feel free to contact us for more information about how any particular session might connect with your classroom curriculum.
What should I know about arriving for my session?
Please plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to your session start time. Because we frequently have multiple schools attending the same session, please contact us if you anticipate being even a few minutes late. See “Getting Here” below for more info.
Teachers/chaperones must accompany participants and be present for the entire session; you are responsible for your participants at all times while they are in the building.
Can you tell me more about accessibility?
Certainly. Please scroll below and click on the “Accessibility For All” tab.
How do I sign up?
Contact our program coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started!
Entering the Venue:
I am going to a Bridge Session at World Cafe Live. I am going to enter World Cafe Live from the main entrance on Walnut Street. I can use this entrance if I use a wheelchair. I can use the bathroom on this floor. It is to the left of the elevator. I can use an accessible stall in this bathroom.
I will be met by someone from World Cafe Live to go to the lower level lobby. I can use the stairs or the elevator to go to the lower level. I will wait in the lobby of the lower level until the venue is open. I can use the bathroom on this floor. It is behind the stairs. I can use an accessible stall in this bathroom.
When the venue is open, I will enter from the back and sit in front of the stage. I can use a wheelchair accessible entrance at elevator level 1, and I will enter the venue in front of the stage.
The musicians sing and move to the music. The music will get louder and softer at different times during the show. Loud and fast music is exciting. Soft and quiet music is a calm part of the show.
If I don’t know what is happening I can whisper my question to the person I’m with. I can also ask a musician.
A musician may ask for people to answer questions, play an instrument or try something on stage. I may raise my hand if I want to try it.
I will see the musicians moving in front of me. Sometimes there will be more than one moving at the same time. It’s okay if I want to move in my space.
I will see lights on the stage that will be different colors. These lights may be bright and I can close my eyes if I want to. These lights may move to the music and how fast or slow you hear a sound.
I can clap at the end of a song. Other people in the audience will clap too. I can cover my ears if the clapping noise is too loud.
Taking A Break:
If I need to take a break from the Bridge Session, I can go to the bottom floor lobby or the mezzanine (balcony) for quiet seating. I can get to the mezzanine on the stairs or in the elevator at level 3R. I can use the bathroom on the mezzanine level. There are two single-stall accessible gender neutral restrooms.
I will leave the Bridge Session directly from the venue onto 31st Street. My bus or van will pick me up there.
Bridge Sessions are held at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Schools/organizations are responsible for making their own travel arrangements.
Buses should drop off participants at the main entrance to World Cafe Live on Walnut Street, where our staff will greet you and bring you into the venue for seating. At the end of the session, buses should pick up participants from the lower-level side entrance on 31st Street (only accessible from Chestnut Street).
Participants with wheelchairs or mobility aids may be dropped off and picked up at the lower-level side entrance on 31st Street. Please enter the building through “Donor Alley” (look for the wall of CDs) and wait in the lower-level lobby to be seated.
There are 30-minute loading zones at both the main entrance and lower-level side entrance. Please leave the loading zone promptly so that other vehicles may use it. Buses/vans are responsible for finding their own parking
“I liked the music, the drums and the words and how they expressed on cultures from other countries. They make you feel like you’re talking to people in other countries. It makes you want to talk to your ancestors…Makes me feel like I want to be an artist.”
—Chris, participant from Programs Employing People
World Cafe Live is committed to accessibility and inclusion. We believe everyone deserves access to great music, and we know that people with disabilities frequently face barriers to participating in the arts. Through our Bridge Sessions and workshops at partner facilities, we seek to create welcoming spaces where people with diverse abilities and needs can be part of making and experiencing music.
Each year, we collaborate with leading arts accessibility organization Art-Reach to present several Bridge Sessions for youth and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities. We also welcome groups from schools and human service organizations to join our sessions for public schools. Bridge Sessions can easily be adapted to the age/level/ability of the groups attending, and we ensure necessary accommodations are provided within the session.
World Cafe Live is fully ADA accessible. The central elevator provides access to all levels of the building, and there are accessible restrooms on all floors. We can also arrange entry through a side door on 31st St directly into the venue; please contact us in advance to coordinate this option.
Seating is flexible, and we can easily rearrange chairs to accommodate wheelchairs and mobility aids. Some Bridge Sessions involve movement; our teaching artists model adaptations to movements, and we encourage participants to engage in whatever way is comfortable for them.
Our Bridge Sessions are uniquely adaptive and welcoming for participants with intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, dementia, and other cognitive disabilities. Sessions offer opportunities to listen, move, respond to questions, play instruments, and engage creatively.
Bridge Sessions may contain loud noises (especially in percussion sessions) and moving lights. We keep the house lights up during sessions, so the room is never dark. We understand that some participants may need to move or vocalize, and we do not expect stillness or silence from our audiences.
If a participant needs a break from the session, they are welcome to exit to the lobby. We have additional seating available in the balcony, where participants may listen/observe away from the crowd. We will provide a sensory-friendly tent upon advance request.
Our sessions include a mix of live music, talking, and audience participation. For participants who are blind or visually impaired, we will alert the artists to be sure they verbally describe instruments, movements, etc. For some sessions with a lot of movement/dance, audio description may be helpful and is available upon advance request.
Bridge Sessions are a feast for the senses, with much to see and feel. All of the music and talking is amplified through our sound system. ASL interpretation is available upon advance request.
We are committed to ensuring participants have the best possible experience, and we will gladly work with you to provide reasonable accommodations that align with the nature of the programming. Please contact us at least 2 weeks prior to your Bridge Session.