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The Salvation Army has long believed in the transforming power of music and the arts―both in healing lives and providing life-changing opportunities, especially in the case of young people. Studies have shown that youngsters involved in music and arts programs demonstrate increased confidence and self-esteem, and perform better in the classroom. Yet when school budgets are stretched, music and arts programs, unfortunately, are among the first things to go.
The Salvation Army is dedicated to keeping music and the arts alive for youngsters of all ages. Across the Greater New York area, The Salvation Army's music programs offer instrumental, voice, and music theory lessons for hundreds of kids and young adults each year, many of whom are at-risk. Often, these young people go on to become members of The Salvation Army's music groups like the Railton Brass & Chorus (intermediate) and the Greater New York Youth Band & Chorus (advanced). The Salvation Army's music and arts programs are also an integral part of our Star Lake summer youth camp, providing intensive hands-on instruction and performance opportunities for kids ages 7 to 17. A highlight of our programs is our annual Star Search event, where youngsters compete for awards in multiple music and arts categories while receiving valuable instruction to further develop their talent. Some 500 youngsters attend this event each year.
Operating costs for these music programs is considerable: The Salvation Army Greater New York Division annually commits huge resources to keep these vital programs alive. But we couldn't do it without the generous help of our faithful supporters.
Teach a kid to blow a horn, and he'll never blow a safe!
- William Booth
My family came to The Salvation Army at a time of great crisis and because of this I started attending many programs, including music. I eventually became a member of the The Salvation Army's Youth Chorus and spent my summers at Star Lake Camp, where I learned my musical foundation. I graduated with a Master's Degree in Opera Performance in New York City. This gives me the opportunity to give back and share what I have learned with the children in the music program at The Salvation Army.
― Danielle, Salvation Army music-program alumnus, Salvation Army youth-music instructor
I’m just really grateful I was able to go into the program for free, and now I’m able to do the same thing in other children’s lives. I know what my leaders have done for me in my life. They’ve helped me through a lot of things. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have those people in my life. I guess it means a lot to me that I can be one of those people for other children that were in my same position.
― Devonte, Salvation Army music-program alumnus, current Salvation Army youth-music instructor
At twelve years of age I went to The Salvation Army Hempstead Citadel [corps community center] on a Sunday morning and I remember seeing and hearing instruments being played and I became intrigued and soon started attending the music classes offered. Later, I was able to attend the summer music camps and conservatories at Star Lake Camp where I was able to grow as a musician and a Christian. My love and passion for music originated at a Salvation Army corps and I am inspired to give back to the future generations the joys that Salvation Army music programs have given me.
― Christopher, Salvation Army music-program alumnus, current Salvation Army youth-music instructor, music-education graduate