When OpporTUNEity® Knocks, You’ll Want to Listen.

OpporTUNEity blog

 

When OpporTUNEity® Knocks, You’ll Want to Listen.

By Maureen Halley

 

OpporTUNEity, the music program at Anna Maria College designed to raise academic and behavioral outcomes for children in our most impoverished communities has a new partner. In conjunction with the Worcester Country Sherriff’s Office, adjunct professors Dan Thomas and Thomas Wilson co-taught a 12-week songwriting course to inmates at the Worcester County House of Corrections.

 

Each week, the inmates learned a new element of songwriting and were encouraged to work in teams to develop songs incorporating those elements (ex. rhythm variety, lyrics and poetry, instruments, etc.).  Students enrolled in Anna Maria's music program worked with different groups each week to help the student inmates craft songs and prepare them for performance at the end of each class session. After the completion of a 12-week course in songwriting, 13 inmates from the Worcester County House of Corrections performed a concert comprised of their original songs.

 

On his Facebook page, Lew Evangelidis, the Sherriff of Worcester County shared the following:

“The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office is proud to share with you video from our first-ever music concert at the jail performed in December. In partnership with Anna Maria College, the music program is called OpporTUNEity. The concert was the culmination of months of practice and hard work by our inmates learning to read music, write songs and play instruments. For these inmates this music is about sharing their stories in song and verse about the perils of addiction and a new life in long-term recovery. Music has an incredible therapeutic benefit.”

 

Simply put, music isn’t just music – it’s therapy.

 

Inmates who completed the course received certificates from the College, signed by Dr. Christine Holmes, Vice President for Academic Affairs. The OpporTUNEity® Songwriting program at the Worcester County House of Corrections is expected to continue in the Spring as plans are in place to offer both Songwriting Levels I and II.

 

About OpporTUNEity

The OpporTUNEity Music Connections Program at Anna Maria College raises academic and behavioral outcomes for children in our most impoverished communities by providing enriching musical opportunities. Founded in 2014 by Dr. Melissa Martiros, OpporTUNEity utilizes strategic partnerships with Worcester Public Schools and Worcester Housing Authority to engage Anna Maria’s undergraduate students majoring in Music Therapy and Music Education through internships with children from Lincoln Street Elementary School.

 

The concert was held on December 13, 2019 and can be viewed here.

 

OpporTUNEity songwriters video

 

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