In December 2013 Villa Musica approached the Logan Heights Library to see if they might be interested in hosting concerts by our student ensembles. The head librarian was thrilled at the idea and, upon presenting several concerts, her enthusiasm to see us offer additional programming was apparent. At the same time Villa Musica was engaged in a strategic planning process, and it became obvious that our ideas were aligned with this community’s need. The Library held a community event in June 2014 at which Villa Musica was encouraged to ask the community about what THEY would like to see Villa Musica offer. Bi-lingual surveys were distributed and conversations began between library staff, school teachers, families, and local politicians. As a result of this process, in October 2014 Villa Musica officially opened its first satellite site at the Logan Heights Library, located in one of the region’s most ethnically diverse and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Since then, Villa Musica has opened one other site at the Malcolm X Library in Valencia Park (Spring 2017) and most recently satellite #3 at the College-Rolando Library (Spring 2020).
Villa Musica’s Satellite network gives “at-risk” youth a place to go after school where they can direct their energy toward something positive, with healthy role models and an opportunity to succeed at something that is enjoyable and life-affirming. Programming at these Satellite sites also offers adults opportunities to actively engage in the arts, fostering creativity, self-esteem, and community unity. While mastery of skills and improved playing are important, they are not the primary goal. More important is that they interact with people who care about them and show they care by challenging them to learn new skills, work together in a nurturing environment, and have fun! Classes have been designed in conjunction with Villa Musica’s teaching artists, library staff and most importantly student/family input.
It is anticipated that the Satellite Community Music Initiative will be an ongoing resource for each community, enabling all participants access to quality arts education regardless of background or ability to pay. As the program evolves, Villa Musica intends to add new classes, summer camps and performance opportunities as needed and/or as space allows. Satellite staff have been extremely proactive in spreading the word about the programs, making space available for classes and performances and helping with communication and registration.