Category Archives: Music

Project STEP: 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award Winner

First Lady Michelle Obama with Project STEP student Ajani BoydEarlier this month, First Lady Michelle Obama presented Project STEP (String Training and Education Program) student Ajani Boyd and Executive Director Mary Jaffee the 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program (NAHYP ) Award on behalf of the entire Project STEP community.

Project STEP received the award for its rigorous, comprehensive, year-round classical string training program for underrepresented minorities. The NAHYP Award recognizes the country’s 12 best creative youth development programs for using engagement in the arts and the humanities to increase academic achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment. The awardees—chosen from a national pool of more than 350 nominations and 50 finalists—are also recognized for improving literacy and language abilities, communication and performance skills, and cultural awareness.

First presented in 1998, the NAHYP Award is the signature program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). The awards are presented annually in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

From the NAHYP web site:

Project STEP seeks to increase diversity in professional classical music by tooling students, primarily from underrepresented groups, to compete and excel in that realm. So, nearly every Saturday during the school year, Project STEP brings several dozen students, mostly Black and Latino, to Boston’s august Symphony Hall. Toting violins, violas, cellos, and double basses, these students have arrived for lessons with some of the best classical musicians in the Boston area. Throughout this extraordinary 12-year-long program, these young musicians will receive what has been called a “world-class arts learning opportunity,” one designed to change the course of these young people’s lives, while changing the classical music industry.

Join MCC to Launch New Youth Music Program & Film on El Sistema

Please join the Massachusetts Cultural Council at 3pm on Monday, December 1st at Artists for Humanity EpiCenter for an exciting event to launch our new creative youth development initiative and celebrate the ongoing work of our sector’s role in helping young people achieve their full potential.

The event will feature the launch of MCC’s new music initiative, SerHacer, and will feature the sneak preview of a powerful new documentary film about El Sistema in the United States. The film’s director, Jamie Bernstein, will join us to discuss the documentary, and how it continues the work of her father, the legendary Leonard Bernstein, to bring the power and joy of music to young people.

Building upon MCC’s nationally renowned YouthReach Initiative, SerHacer (To Be, To Make) is the first public program in the U.S. to support work inspired by El Sistema. Begun in Venezuela and now in dozens of countries worldwide, the El Sistema model supports ensemble music making to help children improve academic performance and develop valuable leadership skills that carry over to school, work, and life. Through grants, technical support, and services to schools and afterschool music programs, MCC will welcome our new grantees into an exciting national conversation around creative youth development.

We will also be joined by a group of state and national leaders in the arts and arts education: Bob Lynch, CEO, Americans for the Arts; Jonathan Herman, Executive Director, National Guild for Community Arts Education; Traci Slater-Rigaud, Director, National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Awards; Matt Wilson, Executive Director, MASSCreative; Susan Rodgerson, Executive Director, Artists for Humanity; state and local elected officials; leaders and young people from YouthReach programs & other education partners in the arts, humanities, and sciences.

Please RSVP by Friday, November 21st.

Youth Showcase at IBA on January 16

Charge up for the new year. On January 16, 2014 Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion hosts La Lengua del Poder (The Language of Power), a showcase of young people freeing their voices through visual art, theater, music, movement, and poetry. Free. 6-9pm. Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, 85 West Newton St., Boston. Part of the YouthReach 20th anniversary celebration.

La Lenqua Del Poder event flyer

Cape & Boston Programs Win National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award

Boston Children’s Chorus Executive Director David C. Howse and singer Amber Rodriguez with First Lady Michelle Obama.

Art Reach at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum and the Boston Children’s Chorus were each presented with a 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award by First Lady Michelle Obama during a ceremony in the in the White House’s East Room on November 22. The award is the nation’s highest honor for outstanding after-school and out-of-school programs.

  • Art Reach at Provincetown Art Association and Museum is a free, multidisciplinary afternoon immersion program providing substantive arts and humanities education for youth aged 13 years and up.
  • Boston Children’s Chorus provides intense choral training and performance opportunities in order to harness the power and joy of music to unite Greater Boston’s diverse communities and inspire social change.

Lukas from Provincetown Art Association and Museum hugs First Lady Michelle Obama. Photo by Ralph Alswang.

Art Reach and the Boston Children’s Chorus were among 50 exemplary programs across the country selected by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) as National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards Finalists. Two other Massachusetts programs – Project STEP and True Colors: Out Youth Theater at the Theater Offensive – were also selected as finalists. In the 16-year history of the awards, 37 Massachusetts organizations have been recognized, including 21 national winners. MCC is proud to support these organizations through its YouthReach Initiative and other grant programs. Read the full press release.