2017-03-10 / Front Page

Saco students benefit from arts grant

Staff Writer

SACO — Students at C.K. Burns School are making music on instruments from all over the globe, thanks to a newly established local arts grant.

The Saco Bay Center for Civic Engagement awarded its first three Arts Action Fund grants to C.K. Burns in Saco, Loranger Memorial School in Old Orchard Beach and St. James School in Biddeford last year.

C.K. Burns music teacher Chelsey Hazelwood said she received $500 late last summer, which she used to purchase instruments “from around the world.”

She said she purchased about 20 different instruments from different countries, including shakers from Africa, a Tibetan singing bowl and a talking drum from Ghana. All the instruments were hand-made, fair trade items, she said.

Hazelwood said her students, who are in the third through fifth grades, had not seen or heard of many of the instruments, and it’s been exciting for her students to see and handle the instruments.

She said the experience has been very eye-opening for her students, and they have seen how other countries reuse items, such as bottle caps or a piece of scrap metal from old boats to make musical instruments.

Hazelwood said she’s very thankful to have been awarded the grant money. She said she teaches a unit on music of different cultures, and having instruments on hand from the countries they are studying will enhance the classes.

Saco Bay Center for Civic Engagement President Justin Chenette, who also works at the Journal Tribune as a digital advertising executive, and is a state senator, said he was in the band at Saco Middle School, played trumpet in the Portland Youth Wind Ensemble, did TV production at Thornton Academy in Saco and earned The Arts Department Award as a graduating senior at Thornton.

"As someone who found his voice and passion through the arts, this grant to advance the arts in our community is personal for me. In an era of school budget cuts, we should not only protect what I believe is a core pillar of a student's educational journey, but try to expand this outlet of creative expression,” said Chenette.

The application for 2017 will be made available in April at the website SacoBayCenter.org and will also be mailed to local teachers. Chenette said creative, visual, and performing arts teachers throughout Saco, Biddeford, and Old Orchard Beach are encouraged to apply.

A fundraising event for the grant, the Kidz Winter Jamboree, featuring a concert by local children’s musician Rob Duquette will be held 2 p.m. Saturday at Thornton Academy. Tickets are $5 per person or $20 a family and can be purchased at sacobaycenter.org.

The amount and number of grants awarded this year will be determined by how much money is raised during the concert, said Chenette. The goal is to offer three grants, up to $500 each, like the center did this past round of grant awards, said Chenette.

Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or egotthelf@journaltribune.com.

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