It’s been a melodious fall in NYC public schools. There are now 180 Sing for Hope Citizen Artist Schools in NYC, 50 of them new this year. In partnership with the NYC Department of Education, we selected these schools through a competitive RFP process to become permanent homes for the Sing for Hope Pianos featured each June. Sing for Hope staff, Piano Artists, and Artist Partners have been busy visiting these schools for their inaugural Citizen Artist Assemblies.
The Assembly tells the story of the school’s Sing for Hope Piano, emphasizing all of the people who make the project happen and all of the opportunities for community-building along the way. Action-packed, high-energy and educational, the assembly program also features performances from Artist Partners and students, a “Meet the Artist” Q&A, and a ceremonial ribbon cutting (complete with giant scissors and dramatic student-led countdown).
One key to this rich and successful partnership? It’s not only between the adults. We end each Assembly by giving the students a charge. “Do you promise to be your Sing for Hope Piano’s buddy, keeping it safe and in good playing condition? Do you promise to be your Piano’s musician, playing it, singing to it, and using it with other instruments? Do you promise to be a Citizen Artist, using your piano and your creativity for a greater purpose that even we can’t predict?”
We are asking them to love and protect the Piano, to use it well, and to use the arts to give back. We talk a lot about community and differentiate between naturally existing communities and communities that you can build. With support from their teachers and resources provided by Sing for Hope, the students vow to have their Sing for Hope Piano both be a hub of community and acceptance at their school, and a symbol of a greater commitment to citizen artistry.
Pictured: students performers at four SFH Citizen Artist Schools.
The Sing for Hope Pianos, and the 180 schools who house them, are up to some big things:
- 80,000 students and community members use SFH Pianos in schools during the year.
- 24,000 students use their pianos in their General Music Classes.
- 8,500 use the piano in Chorus, Band, or Dance.
- 3,500 use the piano in their School Musical.
- There are 700 more young pianists in NYC thanks to piano lessons offered on Sing for Hope Pianos.
The 2018 Sing for Hope Pianos were sponsored by MINI USA, motivated by both organizations’ shared passion for serving communities in need with creativity and compassion. MINI’s crucial support made every step of the SFH Piano lifecycle possible, including bringing piano lessons on wheels to some of our brand-new partner schools.