A high school junior was debating whether to drop out of school when he was introduced to the Harmony Project.Today, he is one of more than 1,500 students, ages seven to 18, who are receiving free music lessons in exchange for a promise to stay in school.
Elizabeth Burgos has been taking clarinet and alto sax lessons at the Project headquarters, a classroom at the Musicians Union Local 47, 816 N. Vine St., one of the sponsors of the program. She recently performed with her family at the Larchmont Holiday Open House.
“In fact, all my children are taking classes there. Monica plays the violin and alto sax, the two boys Martin and Stephen play the trombone and Theresa the viola,” said their mother, Maria Elena Burgos. “Thanks to Harmony Project they have been able to learn music,” she added.
The Project operates in 13 schools and community centers, to provide instruments, music lessons and the opportunity to perform in concerts.
At the Charles H. Kim School on Oxford Ave., more than 60 students are taking violin, cello and group lessons. The school has the support of Daisy Kim, granddaughter of the school’s namesake. Other supporters of Project Harmony include the Beyond the Bell Contemporary Music Program, the Herb Alpert Foundation and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Dr. Margaret Martin, who founded the program 11 years ago, was one of 13 people (out of 6,000 nominees) to receive the 2011 Presidential Citizens Award from Barak Obama for her work with youth in the community.
For more information, call Ed Lin at 323-462-4311 or visit harmony-project.org.