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Who Are They?: Bay Chamber, Part 4

February 18, 2015

The Lullaby Project

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/.

The following post was written by Manuel Bagorro, the artistic director for Bay Chambers. Manue can be reached at manuel@baychamberconcerts.org.

Please tell the Maine Arts Ed blog readers about yourself.

Manuel

Manuel Bagarro

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.

Provide the background of the Lullaby Project

Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project offers pregnant women and new mothers in challenging situations, their partners and extended family an opportunity to create and share a personal lullaby, with the help of artists working in communities across the country. Carnegie Hall has been running this project in New York City for 4 years, and in partnership with national organizations for the last two years. Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School was the first national organization to offer the project outside New York City, and we are now part of the ongoing national program of lullaby composing and sharing. The project brings together the learning generated through research and evaluation initiatives and shares the songs created through SoundCloud – https://soundcloud.com/carnegiehalllullaby. Each arts organization partner works with community partners that they select – we’re very fortunate to have a truly amazing partner in Rockport, Wayfinder Schools’ Passages Program, a home-based high school degree program for young parents aged 14 – 20 whose education has been derailed by early parenthood. – http://wayfinderschools.org/passages-program/program-overview. Professional Bay Chamber artists work with a group of young parents from the organization to write personal lullabies for their babies and record them in a professional studio.

What are the benefits to young parents and babies?

Lullaby ProjectBeing involved in making music and creating an intimate lullaby helps to relieve some of the anxiety of participants undergoing pregnancy or early parenthood in challenging social or emotional circumstances. It bolsters self-confidence, promotes communication between parent(s) and baby and enhances participants’ perception of themselves as capable parents and caregivers. Working on the program, we’ve seen the project’s positive impact on the emotional state, relationships and self-image of participants as well as on the quality of participants’ interaction with baby, family members, and site-based caregivers.

What kind of feedback have you received from participants?

We’ve had such a wonderfully positive response to the project, from the participants but also from staff members of Wayfinder Schools. I have a lovely quote from the Director of the Passages program: “The Lullaby Project touched on so many layers of connection that it is difficult to describe its full impact. There was the connection between music and words, students and musicians, mother and child, and the participation in this creative process from thought all the way to the finished product – all to create a lasting memory and legacy. It was truly memorable experience for all who participated, and most especially for the young parents to have this gift for their child.” To read about one NYC participants’ experience of the project, here is an article from the Daily News – http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/teen-mothers-bond-babies-jacobi-medical-center-music-program-article-1.1248008

Are there any ah-ha moments that you can share from this experience you are providing to young people?

I think one of the most powerful moments in the process for me was reading a word chart created from participants’ responses in a Chicago Lullaby Project before and after the project. Here they are!

Before the project

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 11.28.59 AMAfter the project

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 11.29.06 AM

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 11.16.49 AM

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