Summerfest strings will go into Alta Vista Charter School, on the Westside, and Académie Lafayette, near UMKC, to help students prepare for their spring concerts. Luis Portillo, string ensemble and Mariachi director at Alta Vista Charter School says, “I want my students to know and hear professional musicians.” Summerfest gives Luis’ students this opportunity.
Julie Munro’s middle school and high school band students at Alta Vista will also benefit from coaching from Summerfest musicians on clarinet, flute, trombone, trumpet, and horn.
Summerfest wind and brass coaches will also be helping band students at Cristo Rey Kansas City, a Catholic college prep high school near Linwood and Broadway. Summerfest violinist, Mary Grant, is working with teachers at Cristo Rey to explore the possibility of starting a string program at the school in 2012-13. Students from Cristo Rey come from all over the Kansas City metropolitan area to participate in this school’s innovative corporate work study program. Many of these students have had previous instruction in string ensemble programs in other schools. Cristo Rey would like to make a string ensemble elective available to those students interested in further pursuing their passion for music. In order to do this, however, instruments must be obtained for student use, as most of Cristo Rey’s students come from situations of economic need.
After a recent visit to Cristo Rey, Mary is enthusiastic about working with students at this school: “It’s been great talking to the teachers at Cristo Rey. I even got to talk to one student who hadn’t been able to play the violin since he left middle school. I had my violin with me, and I let him try it. He played it for a little bit. He remembered exactly how to play. He said he missed playing music. The teachers at Cristo Rey understand the importance of arts and creativity in education and have an intense personal concern for their students’ success.”
This is true for all the teachers Summerfest has had the privilege to work with at the three Kansas City, Missouri schools.
Groups of Summerfest musicians will perform at the three schools for school-wide assemblies at the end of the school year. These performances will highlight the partnerships Summerfest has forged with the students at these schools.