‘Reaching Out Through Music’ (ROTM) was initiated in 2007 by John Loosemore and Kirk Adsett, the latter a former music director at The Church of St. Peter and St. Simon in St. James Town. They were driven by the desire to give back and work with the community, especially with the increasing number of newcomers to the area. They realised that St. James Town, despite having several excellent local schools, did not have a children’s choir. Thus came the idea to start the St. James Town Children’s Choir. A choir is the perfect place to start as one learns music literacy, cooperation and teamwork and comes to rely on fellow singers. Studies prove that there is immense power in singing together.
“In ROTM’s St. James Town Children’s Choir, children learn a variety of skills including matching their voice to the sounds they hear, problem solving, math through rhythm, teamwork and more; all while having fun and being quite unaware that they are learning these skills.” – Virginia Evoy, Executive Director
The idea behind the program was that no child should lose out on an opportunity to learn and indulge in arts due to financial constraints. Community singing opportunities have been on a steady decline, but this program, through its very design, is aimed at providing comradery and a supporting environment to children and youth as well as the opportunity to pursue music education collectively. Youngsters are most open to new learning experiences and their young voices are perfect for adopting excellent singing technique. The program works with kids aged 8 and above, mostly from St. James Town. Kids from various diverse cultural backgrounds are part of the program and the choir’s repertoire is secular in nature.
Over 12 years since its inception, more than 200 kids have passed through the program and currently 25 kids are part of its programs. The Choir is led by conductor, Jacqueline Teh and accompanist, Linda Ruan. Private and small group lessons are offered in violin, guitar and singing to those children who participate in the choir. The great thing about the choir is that the number of participants can be almost limitless with the same number of artistic staff. Reaching Out Through Music charges a one-time registration fee of $20 per family, regardless of how many family members or programs they participate in. Reaching Out Through Music is a registered charity and is privately supported by several organisations and individuals who contribute in various ways. ROTM simply would not function without the support of RBC, graphic designers, SOS, web design Alleyne Inc, and many more. Private individuals contribute financially, and through in-kind donations. The Church of St. Peter and St. Simon continues to be the primary provider of rehearsal and teaching space and more recently, The St. James Town Community Corner where piano lessons and a recorder choir are situated. The program is currently looking to spread its wings and attract many more participants. They plan to add a variety of new programs to its 2019/20 season including a jazz chamber choir, a ukulele choir, ongoing small group vocal coaching sessions, and a music theatre program. As well, ROTM will be looking to recruit a conducting intern from the local arts school to enhance its choir programs, and to provide an excellent learning opportunity for a highs chool student wishing to add music education experience to his/her resume.
“Every program I took part in was fun and engaging. It influenced me greatly from a musical standpoint. Everything I learned from ROTM programs has influenced my musical life outside of the program. I was able to apply my knowledge and experiences in my school’s curriculum and after school bands. The ROTM positively influenced my love for music.” – Cassius Joseph
Reaching Out Through Music’s next performance, Blue Skies, will be on Monday, May 27th, 7 pm. Please visit https://reachingoutthroughmusic.org/ for more details. Any child or youth interested in joining ROTM’s programs, please contact email@example.com. ROTM’s next intake sessions will be in September 2019.