Music stars visit Northeast D.C. school
WASHINGTON (ABC7) —
On an unusually warm February day in D.C., two heavy hitters in the music world sparked excitement at a Northeast school.
Students at Bunker Hill Elementary greeted Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Violinist Joshua Bell with handmade signs accompanied by the rhythmic beat of drums.
Lovell Simpson, a 4th grader atBunker Hill could barely contain his enthusiasm, "I was about to do a backflip. I was so happy," he said.
The joyful gathering was in celebration of a turnaround. Bunker Hill Principal Kara Kuchemba explained the significance of the visit for students.
"For them to have the opportunity to see that there are people who do this for a living and are successful at it and love the arts and have made a positive impact, it's just amazing for them," she expressed.
The Turnaround Arts program has infused arts-integration learning into the school. National Director Kathy Fletcher talked about some of what the program offers. "Art supplies, musical instruments, a lot of our schools do their first ever school musical," she said.
The DC Youth Orchestra and Dance Place now engage more than 50 young people at the school. The Grammy award-winning musicians who visited are known as Turnaround Arts Mentors.
"We are given things by the good Lord. Gifts and music, language, expression, beauty. It's ours to partake in. It belongs to everybody," Yo-Yo Ma passionately stated.
Joshua Bell added, "I was really impressed. They played really wonderfully. I ended up getting more out of it than they do."
In year two of the three-year program the school offers African drumming, dance, step and orchestra.
10-year-old Justice Bell-Perry received a miniature music lesson from Bell. "They showed me a lot of things and I would like to do the same things as them," she shared.