CHIME mu­sic pro­gram ex­pands

The Record (Troy, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Record Staff

TROY, N.Y. >> The Em­pire State Youth Orches­tra’s CHIME (Cre­at­ing Har­mony, In­spir­ing Mu­si­cal Ex­cel­lence) pro­gram, which cur­rently pro­vides young mu­si­cians in the Sch­enec­tady City School District an equal op­por­tu­nity to de­velop their skills and break down bar­ri­ers, has ex­panded into the Col­lar City, pro­vid­ing stu­dents at Car­roll Hill Ele­men­tary School en­rich­ment af­ter school.

CHIME was cre­ated and de­vel­oped by lead­ers at ESYO three years ago.

El­iz­a­beth Swift, who is a mu­si­cian, mu­sic ed­u­ca­tor and an alumna of ESYO, was cho­sen to head up the pro­gram that was launched only a few weeks ago. She serves as the CHIME pro­gram man­ager and Troy Site Leader.

Of­fi­cials said the pro­gram in Troy cur­rently serves f irst- through third- grade stu­dents at the school. They are start­ing with 20 stu­dents in a strings pro­gram who will prac­tice two hours a day, five days a week, dur­ing the school year. The cur­ricu­lum in­cludes a gen­eral mu­sic component, small group break­outs and a full class en­sem­ble.

“ESYO CHIME has an amaz­ing phi­los­o­phy, ‘ break­ing down bar­ri­ers and pro­vid­ing equal ac­cess to mu­sic in­struc­tion.’ This pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to change lives in a trans­for­ma­tive way. As a teacher and as men­tor, I wit­ness im­prove­ments in stu­dents daily through their mu­si­cal ac­com­plish­ments. Their achieve­ments are shared with fam­i­lies, sib­lings, teach­ers and mem­bers of com­mu­ni­ties,” said Swift in a news re­lease.

Becky Ca­los, who serves as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of ESYO and who worked to cre­ate the CHIME pro­gram, said she is thrilled to take this next step of ex­pan­sion.

“Since the in­cep­tion of CHIME, it has al­ways been a goal to have a pro­gram in the Troy City School District. This has be­come a re­al­ity thanks to many tal­ented and passionate ed­u­ca­tors who are ded­i­cat­ing their lives to in­spir­ing stu­dent mu­si­cians. We look for­ward to work­ing hard both in Troy and Sch­enec­tady this year while con­tin­u­ing to ex­plore ad­di­tional re­gions for a CHIME ex­pan­sion in the near fu­ture,” said Ca­los in the re­lease.

Of­fi­cials said the Troy City School District is able to of­fer CHIME thanks to the Em­pire State Af­ter School Pro­gram that is f unded through a grant.

Each of the five ele­men­tary schools host their own af­ter school pro­gram, re­sult­ing in ad­di­tional learn­ing time for stu­dents in Grades K- 5.

Of­fi­cials said the pro­gram is staffed by school district staff as well those in­volved with part­ner or­ga­ni­za­tions in­clud­ing the Troy YMCA and the Troy Boys and Girls Club.

The staff pro­vide aca­demic sup­port, mind­ful­ness and en­rich­ment ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Troy CHIME is a won­der­ful en­hance­ment to an al­ready ro­bust pro­gram. I am ex­cited that by hav­ing CHIME in Troy, it means that many of these stu­dents will have ad­di­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties for fo­cused im­mer­sion in string in­struc­tion on a daily ba­sis. I am hope­ful that these stu­dents will choose to pur­sue mu­sic through­out high school and be­yond. Troy CHIME pro­vides stu­dents with artis­tic and cre­ative op­por­tu­ni­ties as well as the op­por­tu­nity to be exposed to clas­si­cal mu­sic, which is shown to im­prove math, ELA and in­ter­per­sonal skills,” said Hi­lary Mon­te­sano in the re­lease, who serves as grant fa­cil­i­ta­tor.

Swift said they have some spe­cific goals in re­gards to the pro­gram this school year.

“Most im­por­tantly, we’d like the stu­dents to per­form as much as pos­si­ble,” she said. We’d like to col­lab­o­rate with some of the Sch­enec­tady CHIME lo­ca­tions to put on monthly con­certs and host a few ad­di­tional for­mal per­for­mances.”

Kayleigh Retell is a par­ent of a sec­ond-grade stu­dent who is part of Troy CHIME.

“I am ex­cited about my daugh­ter hav­ing a fun ac­tiv­ity af­ter school while also learn­ing some­thing new. Madi­son saw some kids from CHIME play at her open house. She lit­er­ally jumped up and down in ex­cite­ment and begged me to sign her up. She’s al­ways wanted to play an in­stru­ment. I am also ex­cited about her be­ing able to put her mind to some­thing to cre­ate her own suc­cess,” she said in the re­lease.

As far as fu­ture goals of the pro­gram, the team, which re­cently wel­comed Car­los Ágreda as its new Mu­sic Di­rec­tor, said they would like to serve more stu­dents at ad­di­tional Troy schools.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­lease, Ágreda is im­pressed with how suc­cess­ful CHIME has proven to be, and is ea­ger to ap­ply his own ex­pe­ri­ence with Sis­tema- in­spired pro­grams to help­ing Troy CHIME to grow.

The team plans to of­fer ad­di­tional in­stru­ment choices in the fu­ture. This would al­low the Troy pro­gram to be­come sim­i­lar to Sch­enec­tady CHIME where in­struc­tion is of­fered to stu­dents at sev­eral schools and those mu­si­cians are able to come to­gether, in one lo­ca­tion, for a full sym­phonic ex­pe­ri­ence.

The team said they’d also like to of­fer ad­di­tional in­stru­ment choices and said this would al­low the Troy pro­gram to be­come sim­i­lar to Sch­enec­tady CHIME where in­struc­tion is of­fered to stu­dents at sev­eral schools and those mu­si­cians are able to come to­gether, in one lo­ca­tion, for a full sym­phonic ex­pe­ri­ence.

CHIME is so much more than a tra­di­tional mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram ac­cord­ing to Swift.

“CHIME is a place where we can re­ally en­cour­age a growth mind­set, an en­vi­ron­ment to en­ter­tain ‘ pos­si­bil­i­ties’ and the power of ‘not yet, but you will.’ We have the op­por­tu­nity to teach the stu­dents that hard work and ded­i­ca­tion to a task will lead to a more ful­fill­ing life. Mu­sic is not a ma­te­rial ob­ject to be taken away. Once learned, it is yours for­ever,” she said in the re­lease.

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