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By Robert Rosen
Hometown Weekly Staff
The Pine Hill School was recently awarded a grant from the Sherborn Arts Council to purchase five additional ukuleles for the fourth grade music program.
“I was thrilled to hear we had received the grant, and very thankful, but not at all surprised at the generosity of the Sherborn Arts Council,” said Pine Hill music teacher Kelly Hodge. “They are, and always have been, very generous.”
Janice Barry, the K-12 Fine and Performing Arts Department Chair, was contacted by community members in both Dover and Sherborn who encouraged her to submit grants for needs within the department.
“The timing of the grant cycle and Kelly’s need for additional ukuleles were a perfect match for us and the goals of the Sherborn Arts Council,” Barry said. “We submitted the grant to the Sherborn Arts Council in October via the written application and found out we were awarded the grant right after Thanksgiving.
“I am very excited for the students and grateful for the Sherborn Art Council’s decision to support arts education at Pine Hill.”
According to Hodge, Pine Hill students have been playing the ukulele since around 2011. In fact, it was originally Hodge’s idea to introduce the instrument into the curriculum after she had read several articles about it being used in the classroom and had attended an MMEA conference in which she attended a class that talked about bringing the ukulele into the classroom.
“The overarching theme for the fourth grade music curriculum is “Music of America’s Peoples,” Barry wrote on the application. “The ukulele will be used not only to introduce a harmonic instrument to students, but also to develop an appreciation and understanding of our country’s folk song tradition…
“Currently, the music classroom does not have enough ukuleles for an entire class; however, the purchase of five additional ukuleles will allow students the opportunity to play a ukulele in music class. In addition, we believe the ukulele will provide students with a meaningful, memorable and hands-on experience for students.”
Hodge said that the ukulele is a very accessible instrument to both children and adult learners. It also comes in many colors, which she thinks the kids like. She considers it a “terrific” tool for learning.
Barry and Hodge are very thankful to the Sherborn Arts Council for making it possible for them to have ukuleles for all the students in the class. While the local organization played a big part in making this possible, it wouldn’t have happened without state-level help.
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Sherborn Arts Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
Robert Rosen is an Editor for Hometown Weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at @roberterosen.