Musica Franklin students share what they learned in outdoors concert

  • Not all Musica Franklin students were able to participate in Thursday’s concert on the common, but those who did wore face-coverings and stood within hula hoops on the grass to keep a safe distance. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • In place of several performances canceled due to COVID-19, Musica Franklin closed out its program with a concert on the Greenfield Common Thursday, Aug. 6 with children singing and playing the violin music they had practiced all summer. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Musica Franklin, an intensive after school music program, is held four days a week throughout the school year, and for five weeks in the summer. While performances were canceled this summer, Gloria Matlock said she and fellow instructors wanted to find a way to give the children the satisfaction and feeling that comes from playing in front of a live audience. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 8/7/2020 12:28:38 PM
Modified: 8/7/2020 12:28:27 PM

GREENFIELD – In place of several performances canceled due to COVID-19, Musica Franklin closed out its program with a concert on the Greenfield Common Thursday with children singing and playing the violin music they had practiced all summer.

Musica Franklin, an intensive after school music program, is held four days a week throughout the school year, and for five weeks in the summer. Musica Franklin Instructor Gloria Matlock said the program had to adapt this year due to the lasting COVID-19 public health emergency. She said the summer program was made of about 14 young students, which saw half of them participating in lessons remotely and half taking lessons outdoors “facemask-to-facemask.”

“We learn music, singing, step dancing, drumming and violin,” Matlock said. “We teach children how to properly play, sing and just have a little fun with their life.”

She said the students usually participate in live performances throughout the school year and summer. Matlock said this years students were scheduled to travel to Boston and play on a harbor cruise alongside professional orchestra musicians. Unfortunately, this was canceled due to the lasting prevalence of the COVID-19 virus. While performances were canceled, Matlock and other instructors wanted to find a way to give the children the satisfaction and feeling that comes from playing in front of a live audience.

“Getting children to perform helps them become aware of, not just themselves, but the people listening,” Matlock said. “They want to be better, and it helps build a sense of pride.”

Matlock said she and Vicki Citron, director for the program, worked to put on the concert on the common. Not all students were able to participate in Thursday’s concert, but those who did wore face-coverings and stood within hula hoops on the grass to keep a safe distance.

“They didn't get to do that since March,” Matlock said of the live performance. “We tried to keep it going the best way possible.”

The Musica Franklin program has two branches, one in Greenfield and one in Turners Falls. Now in its sixth year, Musica Franklin’s intensive after school music program is based on the belief that that the pursuit of musical excellence teaches students to strive for excellence in all areas of their lives. It is modeled on El Sistema, a hugely successful music and social change program that was started in Venezuela 40 years ago. El Sistema is now practiced all over the world, helping to lift up children and their families. Matlock said students learn to play songs of all styles, and from all over the world to get a sense of different cultures.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.



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