About US

Our mission is to use the transformative power of music to effect positive social change for the students most in need of access, opportunity and inspiration.

 

Launched in September 2014, PROJECT MUSIC works with community partners to reach the children with the greatest need and the fewest resources, and to engage them in an immersive daily music program from a young age through their high school graduation. PROJECT MUSIC is intended not only to provide musical instruments and training, but also to address some of the extensive social challenges affecting Stamford’s youth.

 

The study of music is used to cultivate fundamental life skills such as self-expression, self-confidence, cooperative learning, discipline, leadership, and creativity. Institutional partnerships with Chester Addison Community Center, the Boys and Girls Club of Stamford, the Yerwood Center, Waterside School, and Trailblazers Academy have allowed PROJECT MUSIC to serve over 100 students each year in highly accessible locations, with the majority of students returning for continued advancement year after year.

Our History

April 2019: Students work with acclaimed composer and conductor Steve Hackman, presenting the fifth annual El Sistema: Building and Connecting Communities Through Music concerts at the King School.
 
August 2019: Additional Project Music students audition into the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras, bringing total participation up to sixteen students. The partnership between Project Music and GBYO is deepened to include transportation funding and individual lessons taught to Project Music students by top GBYO orchestra musicians.
 
September 2019: The El Sistema Academy at the Boys and Girls Club is expanded to accommodate Project Music students from Trailblazers Academy, which has ceased operations as a middle school. Along with new enrollments of elementary school students, the El Sistema Academy now serves seventy students at the Boys and Girls Club.
 
October 2019: Project Music and Board Chair Joyce DiCamillo are honored by the Truglia Thumbelina Fund, for their commitment to enriching children’s lives through music.
March 2018: Nine Project Music students travel with staff and chaperones to Baltimore, Maryland, to participate in workshops with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids youth program.
 
April 2018: Project Music begins collaboration with the Stamford Symphony Orchestra. Students attend a Symphony concert at the Palace Theatre, and perform for a post-concert reception.
 
August 2018: The Summer Session is expanded to offer full-day programming, to better accommodate the schedules of working parents. Nine students are accepted into the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras, and six travel to Traverse City on full scholarships to the Musical Leadership Academy.
 
September 2018: Project Music forms a new partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Stamford, and relocates advanced students to the clubhouse on Stillwater Avenue. The Prelude Program for early elementary students remains at the Chester Addison Community Center, and is expanded to serve the Yerwood Center as well. Partnership with the King School is expanded to include the King Community Music School, a series of fifteen workshops involving students of Project Music and King School in side-by-side collaborations.
 
December 2018: Four Project Music students are accepted into the Connecticut Music Educators Association’s Western Regional Middle School Festival, an honor band comprising the best young musicians in the state.
April 2017: In the third annual El Sistema event, Project Music students rehearse and perform with the Funky Dawgz Brass Band over the course of a three-day residency at the King School.
 
August 2017: Five Project Music students successfully audition into the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras, where they attend Saturday rehearsals and perform in three yearly concerts at the Klein Memorial Auditorium. Six students receive full scholarships to attend the Musical Leadership Academy in Traverse City.
 
September 2017: The partnership between Project Music and Domus is expanded with the creation of a band program at Trailblazers Academy, a charter middle school under Domus’s direction. Sixty students in grades 6-8 are enrolled, receiving two group lessons per week as well as free rental of a flute, clarinet, trumpet, or trombone. Prior to this Project Music program, Trailblazers Academy students received no formal instruction in the arts.
 
March 2016: In the second annual El Sistema event, students spend three days in residence at the King School, and perform with guest conductor Mauricio Carneiro from the Orquestrando A Vida program in Campos, Brazil.
 
May 2016: Project Music performs at Stamford’s Avon Theatre for the screening of Some Kind of Spark, a documentary about the Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program. Project Music Board Chair Joyce DiCamillo sits on a discussion panel about the important social impact of such music programs.
 
August 2016: Two Project Music students receive full-tuition scholarships to the Musical Leadership Academy, hosted by the Archipelago Project in Traverse City, Michigan.

 

March 2015: Project Music collaborates with the King School and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids to present a joint concert event entitled El Sistema: Building and Connecting Communities Through Music. The collaboration is well-received, and becomes an annual event.
 
June 2015: Project Music hosts its first summer program at the Chester Addison Community Center, providing free music classes, recreation, and lunch for two weeks, four hours each day.
 
September 2015: The Prelude Program is created to serve students in kindergarten and first grade with exploratory classes in fundamental musicianship. Students in second grade and higher form the El Sistema Academy, pursuing advanced musical skills on flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, baritone, and percussion.
Summer 2014: Project Music is founded by board members Joyce DiCamillo, Christel Truglia and Mort Lowenthal, who hired Garrett Méndez as Program Director. The program takes inspiration from a previous iteration of Project Music founded by Anthony Truglia in 1967, and is shaped in the image of the revolutionary Venezuelan music education initiative known as “El Sistema.” Mayor David Martin allocates start-up funding in the City budget, and a partnership is formed with Domus, a social services organization, to host the program at it’s Chester Addison Community Center.

 

September 2014: Project Music holds its first classes at the Chester Addison Community Center. Forty students between kindergarten and sixth grade receive 90 minutes of music instruction, four days per week, in addition to daily snacks and homework assistance. Students rotate between classes in musicianship, “bucket band” percussion, and an introduction to trumpet and trombone. All instruments and instruction are provided free of charge.

 

December 2014: Project Music students make their first public performance, held at Atria Senior Living in Stamford.

Meet the Staff

Felice Miller Baritz

Executive Director

Ian Taylor

Program Director

Garrett Mendez

Artistic Instructor

Kayla Coker

Site Coordinator

Larry Simpson

Site Coordinator

Willie Bruno

Percussion Teaching Artist

Julie Mendez

Flute Teaching Artist

Joe Kozlowski

Trumpet Teaching Artist

Tommy Weeks

Woodwind Teaching Artist

Board of Directors

Joyce DiCamillo, Chair

Christel Truglia, Vice Chair

Mort Lowenthal, Treasurer

Charles Spaulding, Secretary 

Michael Cooney, Board Member

Lester McKoy, Board Member

Daniel Morris, Board Member

Sara Bromley Seide, Board Member

Ethan Schwartz, Board Member

Advisory Board

Marion Meadows, Musician

Candace Allen, Chineke! Foundation

Gail Malloy, Douglas Elliman

Cynthis Mullins, Esq, JMW Consultants

Rev. Dr. Robert W. Perry, United Baptist Church of Stamford

Frank Savage, Savage Holdings, LLC

Lolita Valderrama Savage, Artist

Dan Trahey, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra OrchKids