By Brendan Lai-Tong
Welcome back to our Music in Community series! For those of you who have just tuned in, this series focuses on the great things people are doing for their community through music. You can check out the other stories in the Music in Community series from teachers and musicians around the world here. Today we are featuring the Inwood Kids Community Orchestra (IKCO). The orchestra is based in New York and was started two years ago by Bea Ward. The ensemble provides playing opportunities for children in Manhattan. Bea founded the orchestra to provide playing opportunities for her daughter and it has since successfully grown to include more children from the community. Many school and community groups require dues to be paid, making it difficult for some to join. The great thing about the IKCO is that they are FREE to join! Bea’s story is quite similar to our first first Music in Community feature with Candace Love. You can read Bea’s story below:
My name is Bea Ward & I organized a free orchestra for kids in upper Manhattan. We are Inwood Kids Community Orchestra. I, personally can’t play any instruments or read music, but I am an incredible music appreciator & pretty good at organizing.
Our little orchestra started two years ago when my daughter’s violin teacher told me that it was time for her to start playing music with other kids. Because she is home schooled joining a school orchestra was not an option for us. The orchestras that were available were extremely expensive to join so I organized one for her to join.
Our church allows us to use the space for no charge & I contacted several friends & they agreed to lead the program. I recruited kids from the community to be in the orchestra (home, public & private school kids). What we got was an eclectic group of kids that play both traditional & nontraditional orchestral instruments (one of our kids plays the ukelele). Our primary goal is to make sure playing music is fun. The kids choose what they play & we do our best to get what they want.
I am so grateful to all of the incredible people who values music & children enough to sacrifice their time & talent for this wonderful cause.
Thanks for your wonderful story Bea! We hope that the IKCO continues to grow successfully for years to come. It’s really great to see people come together to provide an environment where students can thrive musically. Bea and the IKCO will be receiving a $75 Sheet Music Plus gift certificate, we hope that this helps their program grow!
Want to have your story featured on our blog? We will continue to regularly award $75 gift certificates and feature musicians, teachers and organizations helping the communities around them. Don’t hesitate to send your story to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you haven’t already done so!
Brendan Lai-Tong is the Assistant Marketing Manager at Sheet Music Plus and holds degrees in trombone performance from University of Miami and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.