The Miami Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic institutions in Greater Miami, launches the first Miami Gardens Youth Music Festival on May 21, an event presented by the Music Access Miami initiative, the Miami Gardens Music Alliance, and City of Miami Gardens Councilwoman Linda Julien.
The four-hour festival held at the Betty T. Ferguson Complex from 3-7 p.m. will feature students and ensembles from 12 Miami Gardens schools, as well as talented youth performers from across Miami-Dade County. Performers range from elementary to high school students, as well as headline acts from the Young Musicians Unite Drumline, The Debut Orchestra + Percussion Ensemble from Carol City Elementary School, the Miami Carol City High School Marching Band, and a final performance by Miami Gardens’ native Claudens Louis and The CieLExperience.
“The Miami Gardens Youth Music Festival represents the culmination of two years of powerful collaborative work with outstanding music organizations and their brilliant team of teaching artists and mentors who bonded with Miami Gardens students to create this milestone, musical experience,” said Kunya Rowley, the Director of Music Access, Arts, and Culture at The Miami Foundation. “The festival is for music lovers of all kinds. Everyone is welcome to enjoy and celebrate the hard work and talent being uplifted right in our own community and classrooms!”
Music Access Miami is a multi-year Miami Foundation initiative, working to ensure every child in Miami-Dade County thrives through access to consistent, high-quality music education. Music education has powerful effects on student learning, achievement, and lifelong success, and should be available to all children and youth. Now in its second year, the initiative’s Miami Gardens Music Alliance consists of local and national nonprofits, working across a dozen Miami Gardens Schools with 4,000+ students to increase academic success, social-emotional benefits through music.
“The Youth Music Festival of May 21 is a crucial moment for the Music Access effort and for the Alliance,” said philanthropist Daniel Lewis, whose $4.5M donation and earnest shared pursuit of music education being accessible and affordable for every young person in Miami-Dade County, started this effort. “It celebrates the collaboration among 12 school principals and seven nonprofits as a model of how to close Miami-Dade County’s music education gap. By showcasing the work of our student musicians, the progress made will be demonstrated, and it will be a benchmark from which future progress will be measured.
“I’m truly excited to partner with The Miami Foundation to bring this incredible event to the City of Miami Gardens,” said Councilwoman Linda Julien. “Our children are the future of our city and providing this platform for them to shine is an important part of my mission of opening doors of opportunity and exposure for our next generation of residents. These kinds of events change the narrative for what is possible for a child from Miami Gardens. As a child I played the piano and this artistic experience taught me about personal discipline, commitment, and tapped into my creativity. These values later contributed to personal success in my chosen endeavors. Music is a language that bonds all of us, improves our quality of life, and inspires life skills for many of us.”
Special festival guests include School Board Vice Chair and District 1 School Board Member Dr. Steve Gallon III, as well as co-hosts artist and writer Arsimmer McCoy, and Miami Gardens native and Broadway star Wilkie Ferguson, III.
The event is free, but registration is encouraged and can be found at Eventbrite.
This is a Hy-Lo News Staff Report.