We ended the year 2015 with our Christmas recital Holiday gathering, playing standard Christmas song favorites for about 250 family and friends. We stayed around for Christmas cookies and to socialize before the hustle bustle of the season takes over. Thanks to all our friends and sponsors for a great year and for making so much possible: The Jubilation Foundation, The Saigh Foundation, The D’Addario Foundation, The Vine at St. Stephen’s, The Harry Chapin Foundation, Nina Needleman, The Missouri Humanities Council with support form The National Endowment for the Humanities, Come Together Ferguson Fund, The Greater St. Louis Community Foundation, The Regional Arts Council of St. Louis, Playing for The Cause, Twangfest and GIVE StL.
Our project loves combining its youth, music and being in nature all in the same day. We’ve developed a relationship with the Ferguson/Florissant School District to perform at their Little Creek Nature Center over the past few years. What a beautiful setting of 90 plus acres of woods, trails, exploring and play areas for children!
Strings Attached has found our “front porch.” A real one on a genuine 1800’s cabin in the woods, where we can share our music, just the way our grandparents, great grandparents and great, great grandparents did. Sharing music with neighbors, friends and new generations of listeners and players. Many thanks to Eric Hadley and the Ferguson/Florissant School District for making this possible and to the memory of Jana Shortt who came up with the idea.
The first half of the year has flown by and Strings Attached has been busier than ever. This year we expanded our reach to serve over 50 youth in the Ferguson, MO area and over 130 additional 3rd,4th grade and 5th children at New City School in St. Louis with weekly stringed instrument lessons. Children at New City School performed at ” Listen to Your Art Day,” “Music Day” and a special year-end presentation combining music, photos, poetry and dance entitled, “With My Own Two Hands: Making a Difference.”
The performance was based on the song by Ben Harper and concluded a year of music study on guitars, ukuleles, banjitar, mandolin while also doing community service projects around the city, photographing and writing poetry about their experiences in “making a difference” in their communities.
KDHX Radio visited Strings Attached at work with New City School to record our class in improvisation using Duke Ellington’s, “C-Jam Blues” as part of their non-profit spotlight:
Youth in our Ferguson and South Grand locations spent the winter preparing for our third recording studio outing, which was done in April and May of the year at Native Sound Studios in the Cherokee Street Arts District. This album is dedicated to cowboy and frontier music and includes songs such as, “Ragtime Cowboy Joe,” “Along the Navajo Trail,” “Sweet Betsy From Pike,” and Stephen Foster’s, “Hard Times Come Again No More.”
The album was mixed in June and July. Listen to Stephen Foster’s “Hard Time Come Again No More” from the album:
We are also excited to be the recipients of three days of fan donation support at this year’s “Twangfest” (http://twangfest.com) thanks to folks at “Playing for the Cause.”
“Twangfest” is four days of music at Off Broadway starting June 10th. “Twangfest” is a nonprofit organization working to preserve and promote the unique tradition and culture of Americana music. Big THANK YOU to “Twangfest” and “Playing For The Cause” for their support of Strings Attached project.
For our second year, we collaborated with Mission St. Louis’, “Beyond School” summer program to provide music lessons to kids in the Grove neighborhood. During the summer, students who live in low-income homes, are known to experience summer reading loss. Through their eight week Summer Session, students’ literacy skills are not only reinforced from the immediate academic year, but also increased by months, making them more than ready for success in the classroom. In addition to literacy, their academy provides diverse, enriching experiences via partnerships with other organizations and foundations. Watch more about our collaboration efforts to help prevent “summer learning slide” with St. Louis youth in this short video by The Show Me Institute:
We also handed out 14 brand new instruments to hard-working and studious musicians in Strings Attached that they keep as their own: Congrats to: Norah, Joe, Joel, Isaac, Miranda, Alex, Danny, Madison, Estephanie, Eber, Jasmine, Ethan, Isaiah, and Elijah.
Great work and enjoy your instruments!