Page 38 - BusinessWest December 12, 2022
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 still adorned with old teller boxes and deposit-slip tables. On the wall hangs an original 1933 mural of the American urban landscape by Carroll Bill.
Today, the building serves more than 2,000 students annually. The music school provides
a variety of programs, including music therapy,
a preschool of the arts, a children’s chorus, and more. Among the private lessons and ensembles, students have the capability of learning almost 33 different instruments.
“When you have an opportunity to share music in the lives of kids, that’s the motivation to get them to even come to school sometimes.”
“Pretty much any instrument you can think
of, we have someone who can teach it. We have a staff of about 84, and about 65 of those people are musicians,” Simmons said. “And we teach all dif- ferent sorts of genres. We try to honestly include everything you can think of. We have classical, contemporary, pop music, hip-hop, gospel, jazz ... it pretty much runs the gamut. We try to be really inclusive and relevant to the culture of people that are in our community.”
One of the programs offered through CMSS is the Sonido Musica program, back in 31 different Springfield and Holyoke public schools this year to support musical learning, social-emotional growth, and leadership development for youth. Students participate in weekly ensemble music classes during school, led by CMSS faculty. This
opportunity is available to students in grades K-12, at any experience level, in schools that have agreed to partner with CMSS. Sonido Musica pro- vides instruction and an instrument to each stu- dent at no cost to their family.
When the program was created in 2014, Julie Jaron, director of Visual and Performing Arts for Springfield Public Schools, connected with CMSS Executive Director Eileen McCaffrey, sharing the problem that there wasn’t an unbroken continu- um of music education in the school system lead- ing from elementary school all the way through high school.
“The idea was that we would provide teach- ing artists through state funding, and we would provide music instruction for schools that didn’t have music in their school, with the agreement with the principal that, at the end of three years, they would hire at least a part-time music teach- er,” explained Rivard, who was hired as a teacher through the Sonido Musica program before mak- ing her way to CMSS. “So that started creating this snowball effect where more and more people were wanting music in their schools; we expand- ed Sonido to more schools throughout the years, and now, at the end of that, principals are starting to hire music teachers.”
In fact, Rivard noted, in 2019, the Springfield School Committee decided to require at least a part-time music and art teacher in every school throughout the city.
During the pandemic, the Sonido Musica program was made virtual to adapt to the chang- ing world. As students were able to congregate in classes again, the music program was needed more than ever, said Vanessa Ford, vocal faculty member and director of the Trust Transfer Proj-
Rachel Rivard was hired through the Sonido Musica program before moving to CMSS.
“When you have an opportunity to share music in the lives of kids, that’s the motivation
to get them to even come to school sometimes,” she told BusinessWest. “It’s not like they’re super motivated to go to school right now, especially after the pandemic. Where do you fit in? How do you fit in? What do you do? How do you complete your day? If there’s
music involved, most
of the time, that’s the
     ect and the Culture RX program (more on those later).
Continued on page 40
    Oh honey...
Kick pests out for good.
  413-566-8222 |
  38 DECEMBER 12, 2022

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