As KING staff and volunteer Music Mentors began packing up drums and guitars and cleaning out their music classrooms at the Texas Baptist Children’s Home, all seemed to agree upon one thing: we can’t believe what we just saw. Just moments before, twenty-three children (several with no previous musical experience) had taken the stage in music groups formed only a few days before and performed songs they’d worked on all week to an appreciative crowd of foster parents and peers. The results of just a few days work were astonishing. These kids put on a show!
The kids of the first annual KING Summer Music Camp began their week as a group of mostly strangers, uncertain of their abilities and their direct connection to music. Some were shy and had never played a proper instrument, some were jockeying for a power outlet to show off the chords and guitar riffs they had been learning from their KING Music Mentor in their weekly lessons. Almost all were terrified of singing. Except the littlest ones, of course.
But by the end of the week the kids were sitting with their bands during meals and breaks. They were designing posters and logos in the evenings at home. They were asking to borrow instruments so they could practice. (Gasp!) One mentor said of her group, “We didn’t have a singer until the day of the show. Then we got on stage for dress rehearsal and we had two kids both trying to be the lead singer.”
The mission of Kids In A New Groove has always been to inspire confidence and empower youth in foster care to believe that they can do anything they set their minds to, but seeing the direct effect of just one week of music lessons and collaboration with their peers was still an awe-inspiring experience for all of us here at KING. It was such a thrill to witness firsthand the countless moments where kids went from being unsure of themselves to really latching onto their chosen instrument, asking a hundred questions, wanting to make sure that they were playing every note or chord just right. We loved watching new friends help each other learn and improve as musicians and watching each band of kids work together to go from a clattering of wild sounds on Monday to organized musical units by the end of the week. We cannot wait until next year’s camp!
KING wants to send out a special thank you to all of our volunteer Music Mentors who took time out of their own schedules to serve our campers as band leaders throughout the week. We would like to especially thank star Music Mentor, Geena Spigarelli, for the amazing job she did as camp leader, organizing and leading an entire week’s worth of fun and informative learning experiences for our kids.
Also, this camp could not have been possible without the generosity of the Texas Baptist Children’s Home, who allowed us to utilize their awesome facility all week long to host our camp and whose wonderful staff fed us lunch every day and made sure that everything ran smoothly all week. We look forward to coming back for our camp next year!
A huge thank you goes out to Tacodeli for providing KING campers with breakfast tacos for Taco Tuesday and to Music Water for supplying us with a full week’s worth of bottled water!