-by Marji Gere
On March 11, the 3rd/4th grade Chittick Peace Quintet played at an MBTA/MassDOT Diversity Luncheon at the Transportation Center downtown. The theme of the event was “Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination,” and the keynote speakers were a highway director, a business analyst, and an environmental engineer – three women leading in male-dominated fields.
The all-female quintet got the message: women can and do lead in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (and music! and education! and journalism! and…and…and…). On the train ride home, Daelen, a cellist, announced, “I’m a girl. I can do anything!” Hadassah (the violist) and Ayiana (one of the violinists), concurred that their favorite part of the event was hearing the women talk.
The quintet played two pieces. They started with “Gimme a Cue,” a piece by Betsy Hinkle. Their cues were solid, they made lots of eye contact with each other, and they projected rhythmic, expressive, unity. The spiritual “Deep River” is a real favorite for the girls–it was fun to share it again for a new audience.
Between pieces, the two cellists of the group made a choice to take a moment to talk to the (very large) audience. Amie talked about how “musiConnects is like a family,” and how we “take care of each other.” Daelen drove home the crucial point: “Not many kids get to play music.” She went on to say, “musiConnects kids need to work hard because they have the opportunity.” It was haunting and agitating to hear this young Bostonian describe music education as a privilege that she may or may not deserve. Honestly, that’s the message society is sending her. Could we (her family, school, city, country, world) please show her some evidence that we believe artistic development is a not a privilege, but a right for all children?