Bernadette Bascom and The Music Project

mpfbernloveThe Music Project ties the study of music with a performance experience to create a unique program that empowers students. Under the tutelage of professional educators and musicians The Music Project kindles a spark for self-esteem, pride and creativity. Students learn the value and rewards of sustained effort and hard work toward a specific performance goal and the achievement of success.

2008 was a satisfying and rewarding year for The Music Project Foundation. The Music Project model that was working successfully at the Secondary Academy for Success (SAS) for three years has grown into The Music Project Foundation and can now be taken into other schools that are underserved.

We had four very successful sessions at SAS in 2008. In the spring we performed a Motown Evening show at the Northshore Perfroming Arts Center. This was a fundraising event that starred our own Bernadette Bascom and American Idol contestants Sanjaya and Shyalami Malakar. A documentary video of this event can be seen here. www.youtube.com/watch?v=1F3mg53t_IU The funds from this concert supported a Beatles session, an Elton John session and a Christmas session which culminated in a performance for the benefit of Children’s Hospital at the Four Seasons Fairmont Hotel in Seattle.

The effect these music sessions have had on the participating students and the school as a whole is worth all our combined efforts. Holly Call, the principal of SAS writes, “The Music Project has fundamentally thransformed the Secondary Academy for Success. Partnering exceptional chrismatic student-centered music professionals with our alternative students has unleashed a hidded reserve of artistic talent, creativity, and personal confidence”. Over 50 different students have participated in the program at SAS. Many have been involved since the beginning of the program.

The students participating in The Music Project have shown measurable increases in attendance, behavior (at school and at home) and quality of academic school work. Many have become leaders at the school and fine representatives of our program when we perform in public. Here is what one of our students has to say about the Music Project, ” They have tought us more than just how to sing. They’ve taught us confidence, perserverance and dertermination, bust most of all, how to love ourselves.”

Our mission is to increase self-confidence and self esteem in kids by bringing music education and, more importantly, the performance experience to youth who are underserved. By any form of measurement, we have been successful. I have been an educator for 38 years and have never seen a program so compelling. What it does for kids is hard to describe, but it is obvious when you see it! I hope each of you will have a chance to come to a performance or visit a classroom and see for yourself the joy and pride on these kid’s faces.

2009 is off to a good start, as well. The SAS students performed at McKinstry Corporation to an overwhelmingly positive response and a standing ovation. We are looking to McKinstry and other local businesses to partnet with us to bring this program to other schools this year. Other partners include Northshore School District, Woodinville, Seattle and Duvall Rotary, The Triple Door, St. John’s #9 Masonic Lodge, PTA and many individual donors who believe in what we are doing to help the kids.

The funds we receive are used primarily to pay music professionals to teach kids how to sing, perform and record the performance in audio and video and to make the highquality soundtracks we use. The funds are also used to pay professional educators to oversee the process so that it fits within the highest standards of education and is consistent with the Washington Academic Learning Requirements (EARLs).

We are excited about our new Boards of Celebrity Ambassadors. They are known professionals in the music business who are donating their time the help the Music Project Foundation. Bernadette Bascom,our Creative Director, has put together an outstanding group, which includes:

Theo Peoples, lead singer for The Four Tops and Temptations. www.theothe3rd.com
Sonny Turner, lead singer of The Platters. www.sonnyturner.com
Sanjaya Malakar, popular American Idol contestant. www.sanjaymalakar.com

Looking Ahead:

1. We are scheduled to be at the First Place School in March and April with a performance at the Langston Hughes Center. The First Place School is an elementary school for the children of the homeless in Seattle and we are excited and gratified to be able to work with them. www.firstplaceschool.org

2. Back to SAS (SecondaryAcademy for Success) in May.

3. On May 26th our Creative Director, Bernadette Bascom, www.bernadettebascom.com will be performing at The Triple Door in Seattle with Sonny Turner of The Platters. This will be a fundraising event and the kids from First Place and SAS will perform as well. (Go to “schedule – calendar” for tickets.)

4. We are back to First Place in August.

5. At SAS in September preparing for a concert at the Woodinville Rotary’s Auction Fundraiser.

6. And a Christmas session is planned at a place yet to be determined.

We are alsways looking for new oportunities to take The Music Project to students in the Seattle and surrounding communities.

All of this takes money, of course, because we pay music professionals to help us with their unique skills. They have spent years developing their talents and we will not, as a matter of principle, ask them to volunteer their time. It is very difficult to run any kind of consistent program based on volunteer help. Many school districts have cut music and art programs due to budget constraints, so there has to be support from the community to sustain and expand the program.

We see monetary support coming from a coalition of groups working together. The Music Project Foundation will work with PTA’s, booster clubs, service organizations – such as Rotary, businesses, government, foundations and private individuals who believe music and the performing arts are a basic and important part of a child’s growth and are willing to provide financial support. The cost of a typical music session is $4,000. We ask that each school pay at least half of the cost of the program, however, full session grants are available through The Music Project Foundation in special situations.

Music is an important part of most people’s lives. Playing, singing and being around music are a dream of many, but only a reality for some. This program makes it a reality for many of those dreamers. Thank you for those of you that have made it possible.

Sincerely,

James Geiszler
Executive Director

The Music Project Foundation


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