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Who Are They?: Bay Chamber, Part 3

February 11, 2015

Community Engagement

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School is the first organization being highlighted. Located in Rockport, they provide rich music opportunities for students of all ages in the mid-coast area. Monica Kelly is the Executive Director You can learn more at http://www.baychamberconcerts.org/.

Manuel Bagorro is the artistic director for Bay Chamber and wrote the following blog post. He can be reached at manuel@baychamberconcerts.org.

Please tell the Maine Arts Ed blog readers about yourself.

Manuel Bagorro and Monica Kelly

Manuel Bagorro and Monica Kelly

I am is originally from Zimbabwe, but moved to London when I was 18 to study classical piano and take part in international piano competitions (sometimes fun, sometimes nightmarish!). I worked as a pianist for many years and then became more and more interested in organizing events, series and festivals, as well as exploring the power of music to change people’s lives – cheesy I know, but I really believe that music has special powers! I founded a large and exuberant festival in Africa (www.hifa.co.zw ), established music programs at several London hospitals and began to curate and present performances. Eight years ago I decided to move to New York City, partnered with Carnegie Hall to establish a new community engagement program called Musical Connections (http://www.carnegiehall.org/MusicalConnections/), and 3 years ago, I proudly became the Artistic Director of Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School in Rockport. Manuel provided the following post on the Lullaby Project.

What are your major responsibilities in your role as Artistic Director at Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School?

I have a really wonderful job! My responsibilities with Bay Chamber are to design and direct the artistic programming of the concert series and festival, as well as the Music School, and to work with all my incredible colleagues to imagine the possibilities for the future of our organization. It’s about vision, creative programming, building networks of remarkable artists, communicating all the things that we do, and finding ways to ensure our ongoing sustainability. It’s also about bringing joy to our audiences, and having fun celebrating great music.

Tell us about the many ways that you see the community engaged with the organization.

Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School takes community engagement and communication very seriously. The school was envisioned with significant input from community members and prospective students. We constantly ask the question – how can we effectively serve the needs of our community and region through high quality music education and professional development programs? The school is designed to be responsive to the changing needs and interests of the community; what they want to study (ukulele classes are enormously popular at the moment!), how they want to learn (classes, individual tuition, digital opportunities, master classes) and how Bay Chamber Concerts can financially support tuition for individuals and families as needed. We ask many related questions about all of our concert presentations – what are we uniquely positioned to bring to our local community? I design the program with this in mind, informed by many lively conversations with so many community members throughout the year. How can we work with our donors, audience, friends and local people to continue to build support for the highest quality and innovation, both in terms of our artists as well as our concert and school programming? The answer to that question is to continue to engage the broadest possible cross-section of our community in everything we do, not only as a way to publicize our offerings but also to ensure that we reach more deeply and broadly in to our community; to ensure that what we do has maximum impact on the lives of the people we serve. Our concert series at Maine State Prison and the Lullaby Project are both examples of projects designed to share the life-enhancing benefits of music and creative activity with people who may be in acute need.

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