YWCA Afterschool Program
Symphony of the Mountains partners with Bristol’s YWCA to offer free group music lessons to girls participating in the YWCA after-school program. Students learn fundamentals of music; melody, harmony, structure and are taught a simple song that they perform as a Recorder Choir. The Recorder tone is very clear and sweet, making it a highly appealing instrument for beginning music students. The YWCA Tech GYRLS are 4th-9th graders in an after-school program designed to mentor them during the transitional years between elementary to middle school and middle school to high school. “We hope to encourage these young ladies to pursue unique extracurricular activities during their adolescence. Self-esteem, discipline, and responsibility are integral to their development, and we are committed to our mission to provide that to them,” says Kathy Waugh, Bristol YWCA Executive Director.
Music educators Tom and Sandy Allen teach the weekly lessons to the girls. Each girl received a brightly colored recorder for use during class and one to keep at home for daily practice.
In the early classes, students were introduced to the project’s objectives: to learn rudiments of music, such as melody, harmony, and rhythm, how to read music, how to play the recorder, and learn music history. They have learned to play several well-known songs such as “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” “Hot Cross Buns,” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” The girls showcase their new skills in public recitals throughout the year.
Symphony of the Mountains Conductor Cornelia Laemmli observed, “The level of concentration as the girls learned their music and the joyful expression of satisfaction when they perfected the pieces was amazing. It fills your heart with joy! Music literally has the power to transform lives.”
Tammy Henkel, Director of Operations, YWCA Bristol, said, “The Symphony of the Mountains music lessons contributed to the YWCA Tech GYRLS is a priceless opportunity of the Arts. Most of these girls, who their school counselors refer, are not exposed to this genre of music. To receive lessons such as these will expand their creativity and desire to connect with music in a very different way than they could ever imagine. We are sincerely grateful for this chance to partner with the Symphony of the Mountains to expand the programs we can provide to the girls while they are here.”
Symphony of the Mountains has also provided tickets to their performances for the girls and their families so they can better understand the concert atmosphere and what opportunities are available to them through these lessons.