U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse today joined students and representatives of Community MusicWorks and the Newport String Project to celebrate $300,000 in federal funding to support and expand music education and mentoring services for students from urban communities in Rhode Island. After announcing the funding, the Senator met with students in the program and listened to performances from program participants and resident musicians.
“Community MusicWorks and the Newport String Project are pillars in the Rhode Island arts community and do impressive work ensuring more equitable access to music education,” said Senator Whitehouse. “This new federal funding will help these two organizations expand their reach so more Rhode Island children are exposed to the perks – and pleasure – of learning music from an early age.”
The federal funding, secured by Senator Whitehouse as a Congressionally Directed Spending award in the fiscal year 2023 government funding measure, will help boost enrollment in after-school programming for elementary school students in the cities of Providence and Newport. The funding will allow an additional 29 students to enroll in MusicWorks’s Daily Orchestra Program, and another 15 students to participate in the Newport String Project’s youth programming.
“We are so grateful for this funding, which will support the expansion and deepening of free chamber music education programs in urban communities in Providence and Newport led by Community MusicWorks and our partner organization, Newport String Project,” said Sebastian Ruth, Founder and Artistic Director of Community MusicWorks.
“This funding provides a wonderful opportunity for both organizations to increase access to free music mentoring programs in two unique communities in Rhode Island. Inspired by the pioneering work of Community MusicWorks in Providence, the Newport String Project is grateful for this support that enables us to deepen the impact of our programs in Newport County,” said Ealain McMullin, Newport String Project co-founder and artistic director.
Community Music Works employs fourteen resident musicians who teach students, perform, and participate in community-building activities with residents in the West End, South Side, Elmwood, and Olneyville neighborhoods of Providence. Resident musicians teach lessons in violin, viola, and cello, mentor students, and perform as the ensemble MusicWorks Collective in a robust concert series though Providence and surrounding communities. Community MusicWorks has received local and national recognition, including the prestigious National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award in 2010.
Community MusicWorks’s Daily Orchestra Program provides children with the opportunity to learn to play instruments in an ensemble setting after school each day. Every Monday through Friday during the school year, participants are engaged in an intensive curriculum, which includes ensemble rehearsals, private lessons, practice help from mentors, and educational workshops with visiting artists.
The Newport String Project is a chamber music performance and youth mentoring program that aims to build community through music by crossing boundaries of generation, heritage, and economic circumstances. The Project accomplishes this by having its resident ensemble, the Newport String Quartet, work with 40 students each week in a robust curriculum of activities that includes individual lessons in violin, viola, or cello, together with a lively student performance series – all at no cost to the families.
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