Center for the Development of Arts Leaders: Working at MusiConnects

For the past few months, From the Top has been hard at work launching a Boston Pilot, as part of our Center for the Development of Arts Leaders (CDAL). This blog is part of a series written by Linda Gerstle, Director of Education and Community Partnerships, chronicling the pilot year of this program. Read the other posts here.

Anna gives a harp demonstration to students

To the astonishment of his teacher, a student at the Chittick Elementary School in Mattapan, Massachusetts who was not able to hold a pencil, had the motor control and dexterity to play the harp that Anna DeLoi brought to his kindergarten classroom. Anna and her arts leader teammate, Nash Ryder, are now a regular presence in the school. Right now they are working with the kindergarten teacher to introduce students to the joy of music and some of its component parts – instrument families, rhythmic patterns, famous composers, etc.  Then, in early February when From the Top tapes its next radio show in Boston, the students will be connected with the show performers to learn about the role of music in young musicians’ lives.

The Anna/Nash team of two is the smallest of the five teams participating in From the Top’s Center for the Development of Arts Leaders –  Boston Pilot. With the guidance of their mentor Kassie Eberle, Anna and Nash are working with CDAL partner MusiConnects under the leadership of Betsy Hinkle. MusiConnects is establishing chamber group residences in public schools in Boston. Their approach is a new model of music education that brings kids and families together with professional musicians around the shared intention of building a thriving community. With 83% of the student population at the Chittick School qualifying for free/reduced lunch, offering arts opportunities that are free of cost is crucial.

Nash works with students at Chittick Elementary School

Locally sponsored house concerts are one of the primary fundraising strategies for MusiConnects. Nash and Anna are at the center of this effort as well, having spent the entire summer organizing a concert that will be performed at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead on Sunday, October 30 at 3:00 pm. This event is a family affair of sorts as well – Nash’s grandmother, a Marblehead resident, has been instrumental in rallying the community around MusiConnects’ mission!

Anna and Nash wanted to share their passion for music and arts leadership with other young performers, so they put together the video below. We show this during Arts Leadership Orientations to our radio performers as a way to inform and inspire the young musicians who appear on our program!