New Chapter. New Name. Same Mission.
As we begin our fall 2020 season, we are proud to share that JQOP will begin a new chapter in our history, marked by a new name that reflects our program evolution and long-term vision. Under our new name, we will continue to advance our mission to ensure the long-term social-emotional and musical success of our students with the same passion that we have brought over the past decade. We stand committed to empowering a diverse community of young people by teaching musical skills, nurturing individual expression, celebrating our unique cultures, and creating opportunities for students to have a lasting impact on their peers and communities.
Over the past 10 years, the Josiah Quincy Orchestra Program (JQOP) has evolved and adapted to the changing needs of our community and the students we serve through our creative youth development program that fosters musical skills and social-emotional growth.
JQOP was founded in 2011 to help elementary and middle school students in Boston’s Chinatown and South End neighborhoods build the confidence and executive functions needed for success in school and life through high-quality group music instruction. In 2014, we established our nonprofit status. In 2017, we became a Boston Public Schools Social-Emotional Learning & Wellness Portfolio Partner. In 2018, we welcomed our first full time Executive Director, Christopher Schroeder; since then our board of directors has grown more diverse and our operating budget increased over 30%. Over the decade, our program expanded from 50 students and 6 staff to over 300 students and a dynamic team of 28 teaching artists and 7 college volunteers.
BPS Principal Cynthia Soo Hoo reflected on our impact: “[JQOP] has had a positive effect on academic success, helped to combat chronic absenteeism, and improved our school culture. Our students participating in JQOP are equipped with the tools to express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication.”
JQOP is a leader in Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and Special Education inclusion programming and has a demonstrated impact on our students and community. Inspired by the El Sistema model of music education, we pursue social justice through music and work alongside the more than 111 U.S. and 300+ global El Sistema partners. A mainstay of El Sistema is a commitment to community, and JQOP creates opportunities for students to participate in community-building activities and performances across the city.
Despite progress the Boston community has made over the past decades, the City of Boston and the Boston Public School (BPS) system remain one of the most racially and socioeconomically segregated in the nation. A 2020 study from the Boston Foundation found that, “two thirds (66 percent) of all students of color in 2019 attended intensely segregated schools—a share dramatically higher than even a few decades ago.” A 2018 Boston Globe Article cited that, “the gaps in performance and opportunities at BPS’s majority-white schools and intensely segregated ones can be stark.” Disparities in academic programs, enrichment opportunities, and resources are extensive. Continued cuts in education funding, especially in the arts, have left too many students without access to music enrichment opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated racial and socio-economic disparities in Boston, and made it even harder for students to access high-quality education and enrichment opportunities. As part of a strategy to close gaps in achievement and educational opportunity, BPS is partnering with JQOP to bring our programming to more students in more grade levels.
Drum Roll, Please
It is with this news that we are proud to announce that today, the Josiah Quincy Orchestra Program will become the Boston Music Project. This new name reflects our commitment to providing students throughout Boston with a combination of high-quality music instruction, life skills development, and dynamic opportunities for artistic expression and performance. We are playing with purpose. We are the Boston Music Project.
Now, more than ever, youth need reliable and supportive adults and peers in their lives and ways to express themselves. During the COVID crisis, we have adapted to deliver our program virtually, both during and outside of the school year, which has provided a source of connection and community to our students during this difficult time. We have recently released our new online registration system in three languages (English, Spanish, and Mandarin) for our 2021-2021 season. We will offer programming for students from K1 through 12th grade, including more individualized and small group music instruction, added utilization of digital music applications and resources for remote learning, and an increased focus on SEL and youth leadership training.
The entire board of directors, staff, and teaching artists are thrilled to bring our program to more students, schools, and corners of the Boston community. We invite you to learn more about the Boston Music Project by exploring our website and by emailing Executive Director Christopher Schroeder.
With great enthusiasm for the future,
Chairwoman, Board of Directors