We have a new music program at Bloomingdale in partnership with the Bloomingdale School of Music. Here is how it all came about:
Frances Keohane volunteering in a Bloomingdale classroom
Two Bloomingdales: The Bloomingdale Family Program and the Bloomingdale School of Music have been serving upper West Side families since the 60s, the Family Program since 1960 and the School of Music since 1964. Bloomingdale School of Music offers music education to children and adults and the Bloomingdale Family Program serves preschool children and their parents. Aware of each other and neighborly, but never working together. Until Frances.
Frances Keohane, now 15 and a serious pianist, started her music studies at Bloomingdale School of Music when she was 5. She began volunteering in the classrooms at Bloomingdale Family Program at 12. Not long after she saw Yo Yo Ma’s The Music of Strangers. Its focus on the universal appeal of music made her wonder if she could bring the music she loved at BSM to the children at Bloomingdale. She brought her thoughts to Erika Floreska, executive director at BSM. Erika had met Sandy Roche, Bloomingdale Family Program board chair, at an event for non-profit organizations, and they both had mused if a joint venture were possible. They encouraged Frances to come up with a plan, and Frances began work on a fundraising concert featuring herself and 3 musical friends.
On June 3, 2017, Frances and friends Ida Beckett, Alex Oh, and Felicia He presented an Evening of Music to benefit Early Childhood Music Education at Bloomingdale School of Music.
The Bloomingdale School of Music and the Bloomingdale Family Program music collaboration was born!
During the summer of 2017, toddlers with parents and caregivers came to morning sessions at Bloomingdale Family Program. Shoshana Vogel brought her magic guitar and exuberant presence and the children and adults responded. Shoshana describes the philosophy that infuses her teaching: “The main developmental focus for music classes is the bonding between parents and children. The avenues of tonal training, rhythmic development and movement are all happening concurrently. There is brain development in all of it and parents attention is critical. Fun matters. Dexterity, language development and musical skill are supported when we create the right environment.” And create that environment she did:
The funds Frances and friends raised will also be used in an ongoing music program at the Bloomingdale Family Program. We thank the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation for adding its support for the coming year, and we will continue to reach out to the community and to funders to keep the program going.
Photographs from Bloomingdale © Laura Dwight/Bloomingdale Family Program