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Musica Franklin spreads to Turners Falls

After-school music program, now in its second year, now offered in Sheffield Elementary School



Recorder Staff
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

TURNERS FALLS — Musica Franklin, the grassroots program aimed at getting young people involved in music making, has branched out this week with a second after-school program, at Sheffield Elementary School.

The program launched last fall for Greenfield Middle School students, with help from a three-year Massachusetts Cultural Council grant and community donations, has five young Leyden Woods students drumming, dancing, singing and playing guitar, as well presenting what they’ve learned at monthly community sharing concerts at Leyden Woods.

But with interest from Sheffield, from the Gill-Montague Regional School District and Montague Catholic Social Ministries, Musica Franklin founding director Vicki Citron has arranged for Monday and Wednesday afternoons as part of the school’s after-school offerings for second- through fifth-graders, with Greenfield’s middle-school program continuing on Tuesdays and Thursdays at St. James Church.

“The vision all along has been to have a countywide program,” said Citron, a violin Suzuki violin teacher who modeled her program on an El Sistema model that offers a varied musical introduction to underserved populations of young people around the world. “This just happened sooner than I thought, thanks to community awareness. It’s great to be in Turners Falls. There is a need there.”

The hour-long Turners Falls program, which will run for the next eight weeks, has the advantage of already having transportation provided for Sheffield pupils, who will also be offered snacks.

The hope is to consolidate the Greenfield and Turners Falls programs in a single location next year, depending on funding and the availability of a suitable, central location. Some of that funding, which Citron also hopes to use for a summer vacation program, may come from Valley Gives Day on Tuesday as well as an Indiegogo online campaign.

The Greenfield program, for students in Grades 5 to 7, benefits from participation of Deerfield Academy volunteers as well as transportation the independent school provides.

Citron says she plans to arrange a pair of meetings for school, town and community service organizations in Greenfield and Montague to help brainstorm on where to locate a consolidated program and involve the community to support the introduction for students for hands-on learning about the basics of music.

She said five participants showed up for Monday’s first session at Sheffield, where the 3½ hour-long program fits into an afternoon of homework help and enrichment that lasts until 5:30 p.m. She expects more will join in as kids learn about what’s being offered.

“I’m so excited,” she said.

On the Web:
www.musicafranklin.org


You can reach Richie Davis at:
rdavis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 269