KidZNotes performs Dec. 18 at Holton Center


By Katie Wyatt,
Executive Director
KidZNotes
919-451-0077
for the Durham VOICE
kwyatt@kidznotes.org

On December 18 at 10:30 am KidZNotes will host its first public performance, in the auditorium of the Holton Career and Resource Center, 401 N. Driver St. The concert is free and open to the public.

What did children in Venezuela teach a conservatory graduate about teaching classical music to kids in Durham?

Last Spring, Katie Wyatt trained as a music fellow with El Sistema, a nationwide effort in Venezuela that embraces the transformational power of classical music for all children, especially those growing up in poor communities.  After landing the prestigious Abreu fellowship, little did Wyatt know that her principal advice from El Sistema leaders about how to launch Kidznotes in Durham would be “You are already behind.  You have to get started right away.”

Budding musicians practice during a KidZNotes session. (Staff photo by Sarah Ross)

Faced with the daunting task of sparking a movement for classical music in East Durham, Wyatt has learned how to master the art of the possible, even when it seems impossible.  By cultivating relationships with the local service, education and arts community in Durham, Kidznotes has accomplished the creation of a Durham-based 60-piece children’s orchestra in only 3 months.

Building on this initial success, KidZNotes received an additional $37, 500 this fall in foundation support of its music education program for children in-need. Grants were awarded by the Triangle Community Foundation, Duke University’s “Doing Good in the Neighborhood,” the Morgan Creek Foundation, the Mead Family Foundation and Cormetech, Inc., an RTP-based industry leader in energy strategies and emissions-reduction.

“The funding we received this fall will go directly to our kids. With the funds we will pay our incredible Durham Public Schools music and violin teachers, who are with our kids for 8-10 hours every week, and have become major positive role-models in their lives. Also, the funding supports transportation for our students to area concerts and from their schools to our nucleo, the Holton Career and Resource Center. We are an after-school and community-based orchestra training program, and 5 days a week our students learn and perform in their schools with each other, and also as a combined orchestra in their community hub.”

KidZNotes provides instruments and music instruction 5 days a week for students in three Durham Title-1 schools, Eastway Elementary, Y.E. Smith Elementary and E.K. Powe Elementary. On Saturdays these schools come together as an orchestra of 60 students, 45 pre-K and kindergarten and 15 third-grade students. The gap between kindergarten and third grade allows for third graders to act as teachers and mentors in the class room, establishing in early childhood the principles of leadership and teamwork. KidZNotes intends to expand to additional schools next year, and offer the orchestra program through high-school.

On December 18 at 10:30 am KidZNotes will host its first public performance, in the auditorium of the Holton Career and Resource Center, 401 N. Driver St. The concert is free and open to the public.

KidZNotes launched in September with the support and partnership of the office of the Vice Provost for the Arts at Duke University, Durham’s Partnership for Children, Durham Public Schools, Kindermusik International and the East Durham Children’s Initiative. KidZNotes is inspired by El Sistema, the social-reform orchestra program for children and families in poverty in Venezuela.   www.kidznotes.org



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