For countless children, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival’s Music in Our Schools program is their first exposure to live classical music. And for many this is life-changing. Throughout the year, the Festival provides Santa Fe and Pecos public school students as well as students at Kha’p’o Community School with live musical performances they would otherwise have limited or no opportunity to experience.
Music in Our Schools is a series of three fun and informative performances by a variety of chamber ensembles at selected Santa Fe, Pecos, and Santa Clara Pueblo elementary schools and pre-kindergarten programs. This program introduces young listeners to all the types of music that Festival ensembles perform, including traditional and contemporary chamber music, jazz, and world music. Music and classroom teachers attend workshops where they receive lesson plans and materials to prepare students before each of the concerts.
Ten Santa Fe public pre-kindergarten, elementary, and community schools, as well as Pecos Elementary and Kha’p’o Community schools, enjoy this Festival education program. In Santa Fe, participating schools include El Camino Real Academy, El Dorado and Nina Otero Community Schools, Nye Early Childhood Center, and E.J. Martinez, Francis X. Nava, Kearny, Piñon, Ramirez-Thomas, and Wood-Gormley elementary schools. During the 2017 – 2018 school year, Music in Our Schools reached more than 5,000 students.
Now in its fourth year, the bilingual pre-kindergarten program has expanded from 150 students at two schools to 19 teachers and more than 350 students between the ages of three and five at El Camino Real Academy, Nina Otero Community School, Nye Early Childhood Center, and Francis X. Nava, Kearny, Pecos, Piñon and Ramirez-Thomas elementary schools. This popular program provides a unique opportunity for ongoing professional development for pre-kindergarten teachers as well as the resources to be able to provide high-quality music instruction. All students receive interactive lessons from their classroom teachers, meet with musicians in advance of each concert, and attend concerts three times each school year—bringing the music to life.