2010-09-24 / Columnists

Notes from the High C’s

Rockaway Music and Arts Council
Commentary by Sharon Gabriel

One of the joys of the RMAC is the Music Memory program that we sponsor in several of the public elementary schools in our area. It is an opera and music memory program and except for the children who participate in the programs and their families, I do not think this RMAC project is very well known.

Each school year two of our members, Bernice Meyers and Myra Berger, put together this wonderful program after contacting our local schools.

Once the school agrees to participate, the teachers then learn their part of the program. Music Memory is a phenomenal program. Children from all areas in Rockaway can learn about classical music and also are taken to see an opera at Lincoln Center.

What is so impressive to me is that many of our local children would never have the opportunity to participate in, or learn about classical music, if it wasn’t for these programs.

Ask them the names of some hip-hop artist and the names would roll off their lips, but ask them about opera and classical music and it would be a dead-end because they never hear it, so these programs open their minds to a higher form of entertainment.

At the end of each term, the children are taken to see an opera and those in the Music Memory program participate with other children throughout the city in a city-wide competition.

As I’ve written before, our children always come back to Rockaway with a medal and if it’s not gold then it’s silver or maybe a bronze, but they always win medals. Our kids are that good. It’s a thrill to see their pictures in The Wave each year with their medals.

This year the 4th grade from P.S. 104 went to Lincoln Center to see the opera “L’Etoile” and below are some of the comments from these nine and ten year olds.

While their spelling isn’t perfect and their penmanship is getting there, the letters are a joy to read. Kasaun comments that “it was the best opera I ever saw in myself (delightful!).” Gabriela states “It was the greatest experience of my life and I hope to see more”.

Daisy is very to the point stating “If you guys never gave us the trip to the opera at Lincoln Center I wouldn’t ever go to an opera in my life.” (I hope she goes to a few more). Breanna states “I thought it was better than I expected and it is the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my life.”

“Thanks for the trip, it was a great experience.” (So says Alyjah). Kawsi was obviously impressed with Lincoln Center as he says, “Thank you for letting us go to a fancy place.... thanks again for inviting us to the opera.” A more elaborate letter came from Olivia who states “Thanks you for inviting us to the opera(s)....it was very fascinating, the experience of Lincon(s) Center was huge and beautiful. The finale was big, beautiful and colorful. Thank you for everything.” Daniel wasn’t too sure about the whole thing. He says “I really enjoyed most of the opera. Thank you for sending us.” Gabrielle’s comments are as follows, “Yesturday(s) I went to the opera L’Etoile. I wanted to thank you for paying most likely all the money for the opera. It was really nice I wish I could go again.” Cerissa had a great experience, she states, “Thank you for sending us to the New York City opera I would have never been able to aford(s) a ticket to an opera. That was a very good experience.”

And, that was the whole idea, to have a good experience, which all of the children had. In all of the letters we received there was not one comment that the kids didn’t like something, and you know, kids say just what they think. So, we are real pleased with their experience and hope we will be able to continue these wonderful programs again this year. Funding is always a big problem and needless to say, your membership helps make these programs affordable to us.

While RMAC membership for 2011 will be going out in the next few months, if you would like to get a head start, a single membership is $25.00 and a double membership (a husband and wife) is just $40.00.

Checks can be made payable to the Rockaway Music & Arts Council and sent to at P.O. Box 0171, Rockaway Beach, NY 11693. A membership card will be sent to you in return.

Thanks for your participation and welcome to fall. See you around the neighborhood.

Just found out I need a new printer for my computer so here we go again. I hope it doesn’t turn into another project like my cable installation last year. Remember that?

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