MIMA's vision is a world where every individual and community can access the transformative power of music. Over this tumultuous year, our mission has taken on heightened meaning. Thanks in part to your support, we’ve been able to create musical experiences through which our students and teaching artists alike have been able to react to recent events. Some highlights:
Over the ’16–'17 school year, the 9th-grade scholars of Boys Hope Girls Hope (BHGH) of New York carried out an exploration of self-identity. They reflected on personal experiences that shaped how they saw themselves and contextualized these experiences through a study of local history and major news events. MIMA’s Band Together songwriting program culminated this year-long effort, providing an opportunity for students to musically express what they’ve learned. Together, they created “Unbroken Hope,” a sobering reflection on being black in America, and an affirmation of resilience against adversity.
This Spring we also received a significant grant that enabled a partnership between MIMA and the network of Elk Hill schools, making available Band Together programs for the entire Elk Hill student population (nearly 200 per year) in Charlottesville, Goochland and Staunton, Virginia. To staff this partnership, we scheduled a training in Charlottesville for the end of August, immediately preceding the ’17–’18 school year and, as we’d later learn, immediately following the tragic events that unfolded in the city on August 12.
Stunned and shaken by the violence, we felt uncertain about the quality of programming we would be able to deliver: whether our educators were sufficiently poised to create positive songwriting experiences and, indeed, whether participants would be receptive to them. To our relief, 17 MIMA trainees arrived on day one with not cynicism or misgiving but energy and focus, creating a sense of collective commitment to MIMA’s mission. With them, we’ve launched four new programs at the Elk Hill schools, providing the only music education offering available to its unique student population, youths of ages 6–21 with particularly challenging familial circumstances or psychological disabilities.
Especially after the year we’ve had, we realize there’s no shortage of problems to fix, causes to support. But our work has shown us that, while not a matter of life or death, engaging musical experiences can be positive and necessary interventions in one’s life. In the MIMA space, individuals find their voices, share their feelings, and forge a community. Please help us make this space as large and inclusive as ever.