July 1, 2016
Senior Director, Communications
HUNDREDS OF UNDERSERVED HISD STUDENTS RECEIVE FREE MUSIC LESSONS AS PART OF BARBARA BUSH LITERACY CAMPS
HOUSTON (July 1, 2016) – The Houston Symphony is teaming up with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and the Houston Area Urban League to offer free music lessons to hundreds of underserved K-2 Houston Independent School District students in the Kashmere, Wheatley, Scarborough and Booker T. Washington High School feeder patterns as part of the 2016 Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation Summer Reading Challenge Camps.
Held during July, the goal of the three-day summer camps is to engage students and their parents in the learning process over the summer months when most students lose literacy skills they acquired during the previous school year.
The music classes offered through the Summer Reading Challenge Camps will be taught by Houston Symphony Community-Embedded Musicians Jenna Barghouti, David Connor, Anthony Parce and Hellen Weberpal to help deepen students’ connection to music by supporting and developing language proficiency and temporal reasoning through musical learning.
“Each morning, the CEMs will tap into the first three components of literacy: listening, speaking and critical thinking. The students will be guided through a series of exercises to explore how music is made of sounds; how to tell a story through music; how music can be composed creatively; and how to actively listen to music, paying attention to the melody, rhythm, harmony and visual cues of a classical music performance,” said Education and Community Programming Assistant, Melissa Fuller. “These active listening exercises are critical to the cognitive development of children in grades K-2. Involvement in music during this developmental stage has been proven to lead to language proficiency.”
Once the CEMs complete the music classes, trained volunteers will build upon the lessons to incorporate the remaining two components of literacy: reading and writing. The literacy curriculum will be facilitated by John Robinson, Houston Area Urban League education director and Scholastic Inc. national facilitator, as well as trained volunteers from HISD, Phillips 66 and other area partners. Students will be given books to begin their home library and will be provided access to books that will allow students to practice the TEKS standards.
Free transportation will be offered to students by HISD from their respective schools to the host elementary school where the camps will be held.
The Houston Symphony’s collaboration with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and Summer Reading Challenge Camps were made possible thanks to the support and partnership of Phillips 66. The endeavors of the Community-Embedded Musicians are made possible thanks to BBVA Compass, the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation, Medistar, Spec’s Charitable Foundation, H-E-B, Union Pacific, Mr. Jay Steinfeld & Mrs. Barbara Winthrop, Nancy & Robert Peiser and the LTR Lewis Cloverdale Foundation.
ABOUT THE HOUSTON SYMPHONY
During the 2015-16 season, the Houston Symphony will celebrate its second season with Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada, and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony is one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas whose inaugural performance was held at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $32.8 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians and 4 community-embedded musicians is the largest performing arts organization in Houston, presenting more than 300 performances for 400,000 people, including 97,000 children, annually. For tickets and more information, please visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575.
Vanessa Astros: (713) 337-8560,
Lorena Cozzari: (713) 337-8548,
Kristen Bennett: (713) 337-8557,