Visits to Community MusicWorks, 2010

In March and April, I made two visits to Community MusicWorks in Providence, RI. Since the Boston Public Quartet residency is inspired by the work of Sebastian Ruth, the Providence String Quartet and Community MusicWorks, I visit often for seminars, discussions, performances and IMPS.

I went on Friday March 26th for an awesome seminar by Heath Marlow, director of development, on the nuts and bolts of presenting an organization to a foundation. I stayed for Phase II – usually an evening activity for teens taking violin, viola and cello lessons at CMW – but today an all-CMW rehearsal and workshop with Jessie Montgomery. Jessie is a composition student in New York, but for five years was a resident musician at CMW, playing and teaching violin as part of the Providence String Quartet. CMW commissioned Jessie to write a piece to include all 110 CMW students, their families, and CMW faculty, based on the CMW Round -aka the CMW theme song. I helped set up chairs and stands, then witnessed some of my favorite moments at CMW.

The kids wandered in, a few at a time. Kirby Vasquez, senior, cellist, and board member, stood in a corner with her phone. She scrolled through email, no doubt, then began jumping up and down squealing. “I got into Smith!!” Her first choice college. Kirby has been playing cello at Community MusicWorks for as long as I can remember. I have always been impressed with her – and all the teens at CMW – atypically making eye-contact, remembering acquaintances and always greeting adults kindly, and acting as leaders for the younger students. I am very proud of her and all of the CMW seniors! Most are receiving full rides and attending their first choice colleges in the fall.

The rehearsal of Jessie’s piece was so exciting! It included parts for all of the students – a cool “Suzuki inspired” rhythm for the younger students, a section to feature Rachel’s fiddle lab, a faculty quartet led section, a hip hop beat with room for improvised solos, and of course a part for families and audience to join in by singing the CMW Round. I was so inspired, I decided to attend the Youth Salon where it was to be performed.

On April 10th, Sam and I drove to Providence after a long day at the Hope in Action Campaign, to attend the Youth Salon, which is a yearly event produced and performed entirely by students to benefit a local or global cause. This year the theme was Haiti Relief. We had a great time, and I got the whole event on video to show the BPQ students at the Chittick School.

~Betsy

Click here to view a taste of Jessie’s composition, performed at Youth Salon 2010.

Click here to make a secure on-line donation through Network for Good, to support BPQ. We would like to charter a bus to Providence for our students to participate in Youth Salon 2011!

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