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SFCM Establishes Community Music Programs for Children in Need

May 7, 2018 by Shase Hernandez

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - The Koret Foundation has awarded the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) $150,000 to establish a music education program with the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, Congregation Emanu-El, and the San Francisco Interfaith Council. Launching in the fall of 2018, this after-school program will offer children in need music classes in piano and chorus. The grant will be dispersed in three installments over three years. Additionally, Music Exchange and the Yamaha Corporation will donate 16 keyboards designed for a class piano setup to help launch the program.

"We are deeply grateful to the Koret Foundation and inspired by their investment in this initiative to bring music to underserved communities in the Bay Area," says SFCM President David H. Stull. "This partnership demonstrates the enormous potential we share as organizations when we collaborate on reaching critical goals, such as advancing the education of our children. We look forward with excitement to the future." 

"This is a collaboration of the Bay Area, between the Conservatory of Music and Tindley Academy of Music," says Third Baptist Church Pastor Amos C. Brown. "This will make up for the abysmal loss of appreciation of music and the arts in public education. Led by Artistic Director Rev. James Parrish Smith, this program will also be a great plus for interfaith and interracial cultural exchanges. This endeavor is very needed in a world where we are divided and there is so little appreciation for the diverse cultural gifts in the arts that this nation once celebrated. I hope that parents and educators will encourage their children and youth to be a part of this dynamic and excellent learning experience."

"This new program is a model of community engagement, and it's been amazing to see the Conservatory of Music engage with partners like Third Baptist Church, the Congregation Emanu-El, and the Interfaith Council to provide educational opportunities for underserved youth in the community," says San Francisco Board of Supervisors President London Breed. "The Conservatory's unique ability to bridge cultures and offer a creative outlet for every individual provides an unparalleled, forward-thinking learning experience that is certain to open up opportunities and broaden horizons for our youth."

"Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco is proud to be a partner in this bold effort led by SFCM and Third Baptist Church," says Cantor Arik Luck. "We too dream of the day where music lessons may be provided to any child in our city who wants them, and this is a fantastic start."

"That this program is rooted in a universal appreciation for music and devotion to education is its most powerful quality," says Michael Pappas, executive director of the San Francisco Interfaith Council. "Music plays an important role in virtually every faith on the planet, historical or contemporary, and is a driver of community and inclusion. This is the quintessential application of music education in an interfaith setting."

In addition to funding the new music education program, the grant from Koret will support SFCM's Conservatory in the Schools program, which offers Conservatory students the opportunity to teach alongside public school instructors in San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). The program provides SFUSD students with instruction in instrumental and vocal techniques as well as basic music theory. Additionally, the grant allows for the design and implementation of pedagogy courses in SFCM's professional development curriculum. These courses teach SFCM students how to be effective educators and will further the reach and impact of the Conservatory in the Schools program.