Boys and Girls Club Guitar Club

November 1st was the start of our guitar club at the Boys and Girls Club in Berkeley Springs. A lot of preparation went into making sure this program would be a success from the get-go. Before we could get this club off the ground, we needed to approach the Boys and Girls Club about starting the program, find funding for the project, and search for a talented instructor.


We approached Chris Risinger, director of the B & G Club – Berkeley Springs branch – with our vision for the program. After some planning and logistics, we were ready to find funding and an instructor. A local guitar player and youth group leader in Berkeley Springs, Jason Hiles, expressed interest in teaching the lessons. With Jason on board, finding money was the next step. We applied for and received a grant from a generous donor through the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation. This grant completely covered the costs to run the program for its first year, including the guitars and all the accessories: gig bags, tuners, straps and books. Our thanks go out to the family foundation who so generously funded this program.

Pictured above are the absolutely beautiful Cort brand guitars we purchased for the kids. They sound as good as they look! If the kids who signed up for the program stick with it, these guitars are theirs to keep after the school year is over. We are very excited to see how these kids improve over the course of the year, not only with their guitar playing skills, but also with their overall self-esteem and school performance. Stay tuned!

Fun Festivities at BCMC This Past Week

It’s been a really busy week for us here at BlackCat Music Cooperative. This past weekend was the always popular Apple Butter Festival here in Berkeley Springs, WV. While the festival started Saturday right after the conclusion of the parade, Apple Butter had basically began for us at the beginning of the week. We at BCMC had been working on an activity for National Kids Music Day on October 6th. We partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle here in Berkeley Springs to have a fun time making some shakers and playing along with the Tri-State Ukeclectics Orchestra. The kids had a lot of fun, and so did the uke club. Below is a video of songs that the uke club played with the kids.  Credits to Martha Rhodes of Travel Morgan County for the footage.

We did another fun activity a couple of days ago at Warm Springs Intermediate School. About a month ago, BCMC bought 25 colorful Mahalo ukuleles with the help of Morgan County Partnership. There was no school on Monday for the students, so what better day to bring them in to the teachers and have a master class teaching them a few basics? With the help of the Tri-State Ukeclectics Orchestra, the teachers were taught basic chords and strumming techniques. In about an hour, the teachers were eager to accompany the Uke Club on Country Roads, a well-known and almost guaranteed favorite of every West Virginian. Here’s a lovely recap from Angie Hott from Positive Action. Thanks, Angie!

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20 Important Benefits of Music in Our Schools

Nearly everyone enjoys music, whether by listening to it, singing, or playing an instrument. But despite this almost universal interest, many schools are having to do away with their music education programs. This is a mistake, with schools losing not only an enjoyable subject, but a subject that can enrich student’s lives and education. Read on to learn why music education is so important, and how it offers benefits even beyond itself. Continue reading “20 Important Benefits of Music in Our Schools”