There’s something beautiful about seeing a community pull together to provide opportunities for our kids who may not have the opportunities otherwise. For the past few years I’ve seen the youth in our care attend a summer music program. I’ve seen some of these youth start off the program being shy with little to no knowledge of formal music theory and techniques; and by the end of the summer they are comfortably strumming away on their guitars and singing smoothly to background accompaniment.
It’s amazing to see the difference that a summer of music has done for the youth in our care. I don’t see the activities that happen at each lesson nor all the daily practice each youth does at home, but what I have seen is an inspiration to myself at what music has given our youth. To hear them talk about their personal reservations at the beginning of the lessons, to the excitement they show once they understand what they can accomplish, and the emotions that are expressed as they wrap up their lessons; I’m led to believe that something profound happens each year through their summer of music.
I remember my first time seeing the results of this summer of program. A few youth came up to me with a CD; their face on the album and a list of song covers that they’ve recorded on the back; not knowing much about the program at the time I thought to myself, “How nice, we got these kids a nice self-esteem project.” As I received the album, I told the youth that I’ll listen to it and let them know my thoughts the next day I saw them. I was thinking to myself, “What if I don’t like what I hear? What do I tell them then?” I remember doing notes that evening and playing the CD as I gather my papers for each note. As I hit play on the first CD I had a moment of positive reframe, “This sounds good! Tone was on pitch, vocal control was smooth, timing was on point, etc…” I wasn’t expecting this. This was a great reminder of never judging a book by its cover or environment. As I went through the next few CD’s I realized that we had a good number of young artists among us. Each year after, I started getting excited about our youth’s summer of music; seeing the amazing things they learn, their accomplishments, and the difference at the end of each summer. Sometimes it is a shift in their self-esteem, an increase in their musical talent, a better understanding of their emotions, or all the above and more. Something good has always come from our Youths who have stuck been through the summer of music.
This past Friday I was able to see how some of this summer of music is funded. A group of local artists volunteered their evening to put on the Arctic Sirens Cabaret Show at Tap Root to raise funds for the Turnagain Community Arts Alliance (TCAA) so that our youth can continue to develop themselves musically and emotionally each summer. TCAA has been the provider of our Youth’s summer of music and I can’t thank them enough for the results that our Youths get each year. TCAA is a non-profit association of artists and instructors committed to the encouragement of a thriving arts community in Alaska.
I remember walking in to a candlelit room full of people vying for the betterment of what the evening stood for. As each artist came up on stage the night rolled on smoothly with laughter to humorous songs and silence carried on through songs that pulled tighter at our hearts. Each artist brought up their own flair of entertainment and the audience ate it up.
It’s inspiring to see how our community pulls together to make sure our youth have the opportunities to explore their individuality, self-esteem, and musical talents through programs such as this. This could have never happened without the time and dedication from our Talented Local Artists of the Arctic Sirens Cabaret Show, Tap Root, Turnagain Community Arts Alliance, and each of us in Our Community that pulls together to make sure programs for our youth continue to happen year after year. For that, we can count on a positive future for our youth.