As a member of the Peabody Preparatory Winds, Brass, and Percussion Congregation and Peabody Tuned-In program, I’m given the opportunity to take free lessons at Peabody, have access to unique as well as unconventional performance opportunities, travel across the U.S to teach disadvantaged kids music and other skills, and be on a full scholarship to be a member of and have access to all Peabody Prep resources and ensembles. We perform all genres of music varying from classical, jazz, and pop, to brass band, ragtime, and rock. However, we are certainly not your traditional chamber band and we are also more than just a band. Each summer we travel to a different state and work with different music programs across the U.S. These programs are inspired by Venezuela’s El Sistema and Baltimore’s OrchKids initiatives of social change through music and enriching kids’ lives by teaching them transferable skills through practicing all forms and genres of music, learning creative composition, bucket/hand percussion, as well as academic, personal, and other artistic enrichment as well. This summer, we visited Detroit, Mich., and worked with the program Accent Pontiac in Pontiac, Mich.
We learned a composition of Accent Pontiac’s and added to it, created our own creative composition combining both the musical flavors of Baltimore and Pontiac, taught private lessons, lead group sessions of percussion/musical exercises and games, and performed our compositions. We collectively performed at the Detroit Shipping Company as well as professionally recorded our compositions with the Accent Pontiac students. As a congregation, we also performed for the Accent Pontiac kids. Working with these kids was an extremely valuable and fun experience. And it not only inspired them, but us too! We instilled and inspired more confidence in them to freely input their ideas and be themselves, and musically enriched them, while they reminded us of the beauty and joy in the simplicity of music as well as allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, tap into our expressivity, and just purely have fun! Besides working with Accent Pontiac, we also visited Submerge Studios and had a workshop, performed, interviewed, and had a creative jam session at WDET 101.9 FM, joined by famous producer Amp, explored downtown Detroit, visited the colorful Eastern Marketplace, and performed for the Juneteenth Festival in downtown Detroit. We even jammed live at jazz club diners in the evenings. As we sang in our composition, there was “No slack in Pontiac. We came together just like that. Baltimore and Pontiac, we always got each other’s back!”
– Sumaya Elkashif, Peabody Preparatory Winds, Brass, and Percussion Congregation and Peabody Tuned-In member
See photos from this trip and others by Preparatory students on Facebook