In April 2017, Shakori Hills launched its own chapter of Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM), a longstanding NC program whose mission is to provide communities the tools and support they need to teach children to play and dance to string band music. JAM’s philosophy is that children who are actively engaged in traditional music are more connected and better prepared to strengthen their communities for future generations.
Utilizing donated instruments and ones provided by JAM, Inc., students met at Silk Hope Elementary each Thursday for group classes in fiddle, dance, guitar, mandolin, singing and playing together as a group. With two eight-week sessions, Shakori Hills JAM started with a base of students from Silk Hope, Siler City and Virginia Cross Elementary Schools, as well as Chatham Middle.
Each student receives the loan of their instrument to take home. Cost to families is based on financial need, with 65% of students receiving free classes in 2017. Families qualifying for free lunch receive free classes and students under reduced fee lunch plans pay $5/week. All other students pay $10/week.
Teachers included locally famous fiddler, Kenny Jackson; Brian Moyer and Doug Hill teaching guitar; Alex and Annette Meredith teaching mandolin; and Katy Shoemaker, Jan Gittelman and Jen Hughes teaching dance. The program took ight with help from UNC APPLES Intern, Logan Pratico, and we look forward to working more with Virginia Ryan who is taking the lead programmatic role going forward!
When they started last April, most of the students had never held an instrument. Through enthusiasm, family involvement and practice, they came together as a “band” and performed two songs at the 2017 Fall Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival.
We look forward to continuing and growing Shakori Hills JAM in 2018!
Our next session will run February 8 – May 5, and is tentatively planned for Silk Hope Elementary School. Classes meet for 75 minutes, on Thursdays from 5:45 – 7pm.
The program is open to all fourth – seventh grade students, regardless of district or schooling status, so long as you can get your child to the classes. Registration will open in early February, with first preference given to returning students. Fiddle is taught by Kenny Jackson, Guitar by Brian Moyer, Mandolin by Alex Meredith and Dance by Katy Shoemaker and Jan Gittelman.
Your support of JAM is needed! All donations are tax deductible. Please get in touch if you have questions or are interested in participating or supporting this program! Send us an email at email@example.com or call 919-542-1746.