As we approach the end of the 2016-17 Musicambia season, I am thrilled to report that this year has been without a doubt our best yet. The positive experiences created in the Musicambia classrooms have quickly launched the program to one of the most popular and successful educational offerings at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. There is currently a reported wait-list of over 100 individuals.
Over the past year, students have continued to work with our world class faculty on performance preparation, composition, improvisation and relationship building through regular musical study. Thanks to a new collaboration with Carnegie Hall’s ‘Musical Connections’ composition program, there are now more opportunities to share the results of this hard work than ever before. Six recitals, including concerts featuring Musicambia students performing works by currently incarcerated composers, are now offered at Sing Sing as part of this joint initiative. Concerts are attended by as many as 300 audience members including other incarcerated individuals and corrections officers who see firsthand the benefits of the arts on their colleagues. This partnership has been hugely successful for both organizations and we look forward to continuing our work with Carnegie Hall in the future.
Musicambia was able to provide this extensive and in-depth musical education to our students because of a series of generous grants secured in the 16-17 season. Musicambia received $10,000 awards from both the New York State Council on the Arts as well as the Bay and Paul Foundations. A grant of $1,000 was also received from the D’Addario Foundation with an additional in-kind donation of musical instrument supplies for Musicambia students. This added revenue stream allowed Musicambia to bring more teaching artists into the prison more often, and enrich an ever growing Musicambia community at Sing Sing.
My colleagues and I continue to push for the development of this exceptional program in other areas of the United States. We are in the midst of setting up our next visit to Allendale Correctional Facility in South Carolina, and are planning a new long-term collaboration with DePauw University in Indiana and the Indiana Department of Corrections
At a time when our communities are perceived as divided it is important to remember the words of one Musicambia student: “People who learn the language of music learn the language of humanity, love, and connectiveness.”
I am overwhelmingly grateful to all of you for being such a vital part of the Musicambia family. Thank you for helping to connect our world through the power of music.
Bay and Paul Foundations