VISTA Member, Stacy Drake, with “The Young Yukes” and instructor Mike Kligerman! This was part of the AmeriCorps “Day of the A” on March 13th. The group is part of the BlackCat Music Cooperative’s after school program, which empowers our youth through music!
The Berkeley Springs High School Guitar Circle under the direction of Steve Grigsby meets every Monday after school at BlackCat Music Shop. The club also meets two times a month during sixth period at the school. The Guitar Circle is open to established student players and students wanting to learn how to play.
Steve shares his wealth of knowledge with the group and lets the guitarists choose songs to learn and share. BlackCat Music Cooperative is continuing to install new programs for our youth with generous support from the community, fundraisers, and provided grants.
With all of the ukuleles in the schools now, we felt it was necessary to have a workshop where any teacher from Morgan County could come in for a couple hours and learn some basics so they can be prepared to use them in their classrooms. On January 14th, we held a two-hour ukulele workshop, led by none other than Mike Kligerman.
As you can see from the photo above, the turnout was great. Remember those ukuleles we brought to Warm Springs Intermediate School a few months ago for the teachers? If you look closely, you can see a few teachers who brought theirs to learn on. As always, Mike did a fantastic job teaching some basics. Who knows, maybe another workshop is in the future for teachers who weren’t able to make it last Sunday! Keep up with us for other updates on what we have going on! Enjoy another picture of Mike and some of those in the ukulele orchestra in action.
On Friday, January 12th, we had the pleasure of delivering 28 ukuleles in assorted rainbow colors and 14 tuners to Warm Springs Intermediate School.
The 150+ 4th grade class was told they were having a surprise concert and to report to the gymnasium at 1:00 p.m. Little did they know they were getting a class set of the trendiest instrument to play today! After a short concert by the Tri-State Ukeclectics Orchestra, ukuleles were handed out to the kids and they were taught a few basic chords.
Music teacher Kathy Seager was so excited to finally get these ukuleles, and we were just as excited to give them to her. We’d like to thank her for the teaching she will be doing for these kids. Even though 28 ukuleles were donated, at least 150 students will have access to these instruments and learn basic chords and strums.
Some of the benefits of music instruction for children include learning cooperation skills, learning to share, having improved creativity and concentration and developing good social skills. These are skills which will help a child be more successful with new situations and challenges throughout their life. Here’s to the coming years for WSIS students!
December 19th was the Paw Paw Schools Christmas program, and it was a good one. The elementary kids sang Christmas songs with their classes. Each grade did a wonderful job with their songs. After their performance, a quick setup was done for the band students. The high school drumline marched into the gym to a catchy cadence, with both the high school and middle school band members behind them. Unfortunately, this portion of the program had to be cut short due to it being the end of the day. However, it was a wonderful performance from all the kids who participated.
Then, the surprise! The fourth graders had no idea what they were about to receive. Robert Wallace, the band director at Paw Paw, presented a ukulele to each of them! Before school starts back up for the new year, the 19 ukuleles will be tuned and ready to be part of the fourth grade music class instruction! More photos and updates to follow!
BlackCat Music Cooperative is honored to have helped bring more music opportunities to Paw Paw. These ukuleles would not be possible without Robert Wallace. He was one of 17 teachers in Morgan County who secured a small mini-grant from Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation. With those funds, the ukuleles were purchased from BlackCat Music Shop. BCMC picked up the remaining costs, supplied hangers for safe storage, and even gave Robert Wallace his own special skull-shaped ukulele in honor of Paw Paw Schools’ mascot – a pirate! His hard work and dedication has impacted these students and you can tell that they are thriving! So, from us to him, thank you for fostering the love of music in kids of all ages at Paw Paw!
This community of people are often our forgotten Morgan County residents and we want to change that. We are striving to find more opportunities to provide music for these wonderful children and their families.