Through free, daily music instruction and mentorship, ESYO CHIME provides young musicians from economically disadvantaged communities comprehensive support at both the elementary and middle school levels. The CHIME Team places children on the path to musical excellence and cultivates skills needed to succeed in all areas of life, including collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.
Central to CHIME is the conviction that pursuing musical excellence is transformational, and that such an endeavor should be available to all. The barriers facing children from economically disadvantaged communities are complex. In addition to costly instruments and private lesson fees, many are stymied by a lack of transportation, the absence of a safe and quiet place to practice, limited access to audition opportunities and musical mentors, and a lack of career guidance. CHIME seeks to fill these gaps, providing free, daily ensemble and private instruction, practice space, instruments, transportation, guidance and mentorship. With this level of support, CHIME musicians can have an equal opportunity to successfully audition into one of ESYO’s performing ensembles where they will be able to pursue excellence within an environment that defies any single economic label.
ESYO is committed to breaking down the barriers preventing access to the arts and helping to ensure that all children have the opportunity to learn a musical language. To that end, ESYO provided free private lessons to economically challenged students in Schenectady for nearly two decades, and in 2015, in partnership with the Schenectady City School District (SCSD), it launched an ambitious new access program called, Creating Harmony Inspiring Musical Excellence—CHIME.
Beginning with a cohort of 30 children at Schenectady’s Yates Arts in Education Magnet School, CHIME now serves more than 100 children at three Schenectady program sites with plans to add a fourth by 2020. CHIME would not be possible without the active support of the school district, and ESYO offers its deepest gratitude to SCSD for the confidence they place in us each day and for their willingness to join us in our dream to provide every child access to musical excellence.
CHIME serves 25+ children in grades 1-3 at Yates Arts in Education Magnet School in Schenectady, NY. This site provides children with a musical foundation on stringed instruments. Daily instruction from 2:15-4:00pm includes small group lessons, full ensemble rehearsals, choir, general music classes and supervised practice. “First Friday” concerts occur on site for family and friends. Community performances and “side-by-sides” with ESYO ensembles occur throughout the school year.
CHIME at Yates is open to children who attend the school; a lottery system is used to place children in available spots, with preference given to children with the greatest financial need.
CHIME serves 25+ children in grades 1-3 at Van Corlaer Elementary School in Schenectady, NY. This site provides children with a musical foundation on wind, brass and percussion instruments. Daily instruction from 2:15-4:00pm includes small group lessons, full ensemble rehearsals, choir, general music classes and supervised practice. “First Friday” concerts occur on site for family and friends. Community performances and “side-by-sides” with ESYO ensembles occur throughout the school year.
CHIME at Van Corlaer is open to children who attend the school; a lottery system is used to place children in available spots, with preference given to children with the greatest financial need.
Located at the Adeline Graham Theatrical Training and Innovation Center (The Addy) at Proctors, CHIME at Proctors is open to all middle schools students (grades 6-8) in the Schenectady City School District as well as current CHIME musicians in grades 4-5 who have shown enough skill development to advance into this more advanced program. District busses transport students from their school to the program and home again, providing members three hours of intensive music instruction five days per week.
CHIME at Proctors includes a full symphonic orchestra, and offers musicians comprehensive support and training they need to transition to one of ESYO’s performing ensembles. “First Friday” concerts occur on site for family and friends. Community performances and “side-by-sides” with ESYO ensembles occur throughout the year.
The program is through application only, including a personal statement and teacher recommendation.
The CHIME summer program works to bridge the learning gap over the summer months and provides valuable enrichment to support our students on their journey toward excellence. To participate in a summer camp, a child must be enrolled in our full school year program.
For two weeks in August, ESYO CHIME runs a summer program at Yates Arts in Education Magnet School. 25 students work with our regular school year staff, exploring new and exciting repertoire to ensure that students don’t lose ground over the summer months. To participate in a summer program, a child must be enrolled in our regular school year program.
For two weeks in August, ESYO CHIME runs a summer program at Van Corlaer Elementary School. 25 students work with our regular school year staff, exploring new and exciting repertoire to ensure that students don’t lose ground over the summer months. To participate in a summer program, a child must be enrolled in our regular school year program.
The summer program at Proctors runs from 9:30am-12:30pm daily for four weeks during July and August. Working with our school year staff, 60 students in grades 4-8 explore new repertoire and engage in collaborations with international artists such as The Piano Guys, the Philadelphia Orchestra and participants from the annual High Peaks Festival. The Concerts during the summer program are presented in partnership with SPAC, Music Haven Concert series and the High Peaks Music Festival.
The program runs at our Proctors location in the The Adeline Graham Theatrical Training and Innovation Center in Schenectady, NY.
CHIME’s success is due, in large part, to the strength of its community partnerships. ESYO is grateful for the trust, support and resources it enjoys from each of these groups, and recognizes each as a key component in CHIME’s continued growth and sustainability.
ESYO has provided free, private instrument lessons to Schenectady children during the school day for nearly two decades, and has a close relationship with district teachers and school leaders. ESYO and SCSD have a written MOU regarding CHIME that is revised annually, and clearly outlines the obligations of each partner, including use of facilities, assessments, reporting and staffing.
John Keal Music Co. John Keal has supported ESYO for decades by providing music folders, setting up musical petting zoos at ESYO events and placing advertisements in ESYO programs. Huge advocates of Sistema-inspired programs, John Keal is committed to providing rental instruments and repairs for the CHIME program at a generous discount.
Proctors is a thriving performing and educational arts space located in the heart of Schenectady. ESYO has its administrative offices at Proctors, and has held annual performances on the main stage for the past 30 years. Proctors staff have provided guidance regarding program implementation in the Schenectady City School District, particularly in how to establish a sustainable funding model for CHIME. Proctors houses the intermediate and advanced CHIME ensembles in its newly constructed third floor performance space as well as ESYO’s introductory performing string groups.
Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), Albany Symphony Orchestra (ASO), and the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra (SSO) all provide free tickets for CHIME students to a variety of performances and arrange for residencies with guest artists; ASO and SSO musicians also serve as guest teachers and coaches.
In July of 2018, El Sistema USA (ESUSA) identified 13 exemplary organizations nationwide to support through the Program for Rising El Sistema Organizations (PRESTO). As a member of PRESTO, ESUSA provides ESYO CHIME with funding, networking and mentorship opportunities, and training for senior leadership over a three-year period. Learn more about ESYO CHIME's involvement with PRESTO and El Sistema USA by clicking here.
El Sistema USA (ESUSA) provides connections to knowledge and innovation, advocacy, and leadership development for program directors, teaching artists, students, and volunteers. Members collaborate to share resources, values, aspirations, and advocacy efforts. ESUSA serves three major purposes: strengthening existing nucléos through capacity development and research, encouraging the formation of new nucléos through providing resources, connections and training, and building awareness of El Sistema at large throughout the United States. Learn more about El Sistema USA by clicking here.