Welcome to our 12th season!
"In it for the long haul." This was how Monique, the mother of a young cellist, described musiConnects to The Boston Globe in 2017. Read the full article HERE.
As we begin our 12th season, I find myself returning to the idea of the “long haul.” At musiConnects, we're not looking for an easy win in order to claim success. Rather, year in and year out, we're refining our education programs, building structures to support our team of Resident Musicians, and thinking deeply about the long-term effects of growing a community of students, families, and professional musicians.
This year, approximately 63 students will continue to participate in free after-school instruction at Lena Park CDC, KIPP Mattapan, Mattahunt Community Center, and the Mattahunt Elementary School. An additional 30 students will continue to participate in lessons, offered on a sliding scale, at our rehearsal studio in Roslindale Village. Two especially exciting programming innovations include a "paper orchestra" to prepare the introduction of stringed instruments to our youngest participants, and a peer leadership group that will provide opportunities for our oldest students to increase their weekly involvement.
Meanwhile, when not working directly with students, our roster of professional musicians will be found performing chamber music in Mattapan and Roslindale. An experiment this year is to feature our seven Resident Musicians (staff bios here) in various arrangements and differently-sized ensembles, including but not limited to string quartets. We’re grateful to violinist Josh Addison, eight years into his musiConnects career, for agreeing to take on the role of Director of Artistic Planning, responsible for designing our season of flexible performances.
The most recent addition to our roster of Resident Musicians, please join me in welcoming cellist Francesca McNeeley, a graduate of Princeton and Rice Universities, and most recently, the New England Conservatory. Can't wait until her first live performance? You can view her performing a Beethoven sonata HERE.
At the same time that we warmly welcome Francesca, on behalf of all of us, I want to sincerely appreciate violinst Karl Orvik, cellist Jacques Lee Wood, and cellist Jaehee Ju for all of their important contributions—as educators, as performers, and as members of our community. We look forward to inviting them back as soon as possible as guest artists.
Organizationally, musiConnects is thriving. Our annual operating budget has grown significantly in recent years to reach approximately $260,000. Our good work has been rewarded with significant grants, including our first award from the National Endowment for the Arts and a renewal of a multi-year Creative Youth Development grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
To guide our efforts and to help us think strategically, our six-member board of directors has expanded to eight this year. Please join me in welcoming Ronald Goodman, Renee Hollins, Amy Inezian, and Kalya Murray. We can now count four parents of musiConnects students among our board members.
Strategically, we are looking to further weave our work into the fabric of the Mattapan neighborhoods that we serve. This requires intentionality throughout the organization. This means that our leadership—specifically our board—becomes more representative of the diversity of the local interests that we seek to represent. And this intentionality must also be present in our programming. A good example is the recent Request For Proposals, (see Blog entry on 9/4/2018), through which our Resident Musicians are looking for a Mattapan-based artist(s) to collaborate with on a performance project later this season.
Stepping back, when I look at where we started and where we have traveled in order to get to this 12th season, I'm extremely proud of our collective accomplishments. But I know that we're still only at the beginning of this adventure. Growing a community—like growing a garden—requires careful and consistent care and attention. Good thing that we're "in it for the long haul."
President, Board of Directors