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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
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Court-Involved Youth Perform Original Music

Carnegie Hall believes in the potential of young people and in providing them with the opportunity to create, produce, and perform music. Through the Musical Connections program, teens in the justice system collaborated with hip-hop collective Circa ’95 and chamber-music ensemble Decoda this spring, writing original songs and performing them for friends and family during a special concert on May 11 in the Resnick Education Wing.

Violinist William Harvey attended the concert during the New York week of Cultures in Harmony's "What is American culture?" project, which is designed to catalyze a national conversation about the various ways to define American culture. Check out an excerpt from his blog post below:


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When several dozen children and parents crowded into the tiny lobby of Carnegie Hall’s new Resnick Education Wing, the palpable excitement did not diminish as we squeezed into an elevator to the 10th floor. We were going to a concert of Musical Connections, Carnegie Hall’s incredibly varied set of community-based projects, this particular one conducted in partnership with Passages Academy, the NYC Administration for Children’s Services, and the Center for Community Alternatives.

In collaboration with Decoda, a classical music collective, and Circa ’95, a hip-hop duo, teenagers and young adults in non-secure placement had created compositions. These were youth sentenced to a program in which they are placed in residential settings closer to their families and provided with other resources in an effort to ease the transition back into their communities.

Based on how supportive their family members were, and on the program’s clear ability to build and boost their confidence, they have a great chance of success. A few of the youth were as nervous as any young performer would be, and when the audience could detect a bout of nerves, they would whoop and cheer them on …

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Read the rest of the story.