Last week the Abreu Fellows visited the OrchKids program in Baltimore. It was absolutely amazing! We worked with over 100 kids to prepare for a successful concert on Friday. Here are some things that stuck with me:
I have never seen such excitement over music.
When you ask a question, every hand shoots up in the air.
When behavior becomes a problem in the room, engage the kids in a musical activity and there will be complete focus.
The walls of Lockerman Bundy Elementary school are covered with colorful, beautiful murals.
Kids who have been in the program longer are role models for the younger kids.
Everyone is proud to be an OrchKid.
Across the street from the school is the abrupt end of the Highway to Nowhere, a short section of elevated highway. In the late 1970's this segment of highway was built as part of a project to connect I-70 with I-95, but was never finished. Houses were uprooted to build it, and the neighborhood was divided. Inside the school, laughter and music echo through the colorfully painted walls. Outside, the unfinished highway is a brutal reminder that this is a forgotten neighborhood. The OrchKids program is fighting against this powerful symbol of futility and neglect. Meeting these incredible kids, and seeing their connection to music, was an affirmation of the power of music as a vehicle for social change.