Photography by Scot Goodman

Community Engagement

Music will save the world.” –Pablo Casals

MiM provides youth with an intimate front seat pass to interactive performances, striving to ignite the creative soul and provide aural landscapes that uplift and inspire each young listener. Each season, in the months leading up to the mainstage concerts, MiM presents FREE programs for youth, with focus on the underserved throughout our county.

In 2019, thanks in part to grants MiM received from several Santa Cruz County Rotary Clubs, Music in May featured 14 world-renowned musicians, bringing programming to over 600 south county youth. One of the programs featured was Sound Impact and their newest educational program “Time Travel Through Music.” It leads grade schoolers through an interactive time travel adventure, exploring music from the 1200s to 2018, where they meet composers in their hometowns throughout the US and around the world. Connecting with poetry, nature and historical elements, this program touches on moments in history and the evolution of music through the eyes of a violin, viola, and cello. Co-founded by Rebecca Jackson, Tiffany Richardson, and Danielle Cho in 2012, Sound Impact is a collective of musicians dedicated to serving communities and igniting positive change through live performance, educational programs, and creative collaboration.

Danielle, Rebecca, Tiffany

Starting with its inaugural visit in 2015, MiM regularly presents performances for the youth detained at Santa Cruz Juvenile Hall. “One said it was as if they were put in a trance and were let free. I asked him if he meant set free from the juvenile hall and he said, ‘No, set free from myself'” Read more about the experience in our BLOG.

Note from youth in Juvenile Hall – 2018

In 2018, Sound Impact was resident community engagement ensemble for Music in May. We presented 20 hours of free musical programming for youth which included visits to 6 schools, and 3-day residencies at Santa Cruz and Santa Clara County Juvenile Detention Centers. The curriculum, entitled “Use Your Voice”, began with an exploration of the world of classical chamber music and quickly delved into relatable topics such as effective communication, respect, connection, and inspiration. The final visit culminated in a collaborative performance: their words and our music. Their vulnerability was heart breaking, inspiring, and affirmed music’s ability to break boundaries and connect people of all backgrounds.

Juvenile hall superintendent and probation division director, Sara Ryan: “For us, the best safety tool is building relationships, and that’s what the music does here. You felt it in the room, for those moments, we were all equal. There wasn’t management, and probation, and these [correctional dynamics] — we all were connected and calm. It’s an escape. It grounds all of us and it’s such a gift.”

Written by an incarcerated youth in his cell before the final collaborative performance.

2018 Santa Cruz Juvenile Hall grand finale: Tchaikovsky Serenade for 15 strings led by Cho-Liang Lin.

With Tommy, one of the very attentive students at Brook Knoll Elementary’s Special Needs Class