Dhatri Abeyaratne wrote -
Note: Your generous donations, either through this page or by checks made out to Share The Spotlight Inc, are greatly appreciated. Share The Spotlight is a non-profit corporation recognized by the IRS under section 501(c)(3), so your donations will be tax deductible.
Every young adult deserves the opportunity to explore a passion and develop the life skills they need to reach their full potential. Share The Spotlight is a tuition free summer music program aimed at empowering middle and high school students from underserved communities in New York City through performance.
Over the course of a two month season starting in July, students rehearse together in bands twice a week to put on a rock concert at the end of the summer. Students develop invaluable self esteem through the experience of rapidly improving their skills and performing in front of an audience. Our goal is to use music as the platform to help our rock stars become engaged, confident, outspoken individuals and ultimately stronger students and college applicants.
This year, Share The Spotlight has successfully concluded almost 100 auditions in partnership with 3 schools in underserved communities. We are exhilarated to start our third annual season with a group of 20 carefully selected deserving young musicians ready to participate who may not otherwise have the financial resources to attend a tuition based summer program. With your support, we can give these talented young people the life changing summer they deserve. A gift of ~$350 would sponsor one student for the entire summer.
A Summer of Rock n' Roll
During Share The Spotlight, students have the opportunity to learn guitar, bass, piano, drums and vocals. Throughout the course of the summer they work to learn a set list of songs together in bands to play at their final show.
We teach rock, blues, funk, R&B and related styles of popular music for a few key reasons. First, it’s fun music that our students love and listen to in their free time. Second, it’s perfect for the band setting. Students are motivated to practice at home not only for themselves but because the whole team is counting on them. Third, it allows students of varying skill levels to come together and improve quickly. Unlike many traditional music programs that rely on private instruction, we teach students to teach themselves so that they can continue to develop their skills long after the summer. Lastly, it’s all about getting on stage. There are but a few experiences more thrilling than putting on a high energy rock concert!
Beyond The Music
Hearing your first round of applause can completely transform your perception of self. Through the experience of overcoming challenges to become better musicians in a short period of time and performing for a live audience, students develop the confidence to share their passions and be outspoken in every aspect of their lives.
Band rehearsals are driven by students and guided by teachers. By working together to master the music, our students learn to organize and lead a group as well as be team members. In addition, they also learn to promote themselves by marketing their final show to attract an audience.
By developing invaluable confidence outside the classroom, students are able to actively engage in the classroom and school environment. Teachers reported that students were more eager to participate in class and sign up for activities in school after a summer of Share The Spotlight.
“It’s a wonderful community where you can feel at home and you can share your talents with others and they can share their talents with you and you can just grow as a person” – Genesis, 2015 student on her experience at Share The Spotlight
“It felt like I was floating on air” – Jada, 2015 student on hearing her first round of applause “It was just so surreal to be able to play music with people who also love it so much” – Ayat, 2015 student on Share The Spotlight rehearsals
“This year she’s really come out of her shell a lot. The experience she had over the summer, playing all the time and playing with other kids really helped her build her confidence” – Lauren, teacher at STS partner school on her student Nicole’s experience
“I felt really free in a way. Like this is where I belong” – Nicole, 2015 student on being on stage
Genesis, Jada and Nicole are all hoping to participate again in 2016. Help us make this happen for them!