The Taos Youth Music School is a shining light on the education scene for local young people. It is a free after-school program taught by a small group of dedicated teachers. But, the program is in need of funds. That’s where the Taos Gospel Choir comes to the rescue.

On St. Patrick’s Day, Sunday (March 17), the Taos Gospel Choir will perform in-concert at the St. James Episcopal Church, 208 Camino de Santiago. Music begins at 4 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are more than welcome at a reception to follow the concert. All proceeds go to support this wonderful after school program.

Opening the concert will be selections by the Taos Youth Music School Choir.

“Bringing kids and music together,” is the motto of Taos Youth Music School . In its 12th year, the program has made waves among the youth in the Taos community, inspiring students to perfect their musicality, and instilling confidence along the way.

Layla Brooks, a student quoted in an April 12, 2012 article for Tempo, benefited greatly from from TYMS instruction. “When I get on stage, it makes me feel so good inside. It’s something I love to do. I hope to become a singer. That’s what I love to do and that’s what makes me feel good,” she said.

Taos Youth Music School is a free after-school program serving students in grades K-12. The nonprofit operates independently of Taos Municipal Schools and relies on grants and donations for funding. Founded in 1999, TYMS has expanded over the years and now serves 75-100 students from Taos County and surrounding areas with a staff of six.

The music school is run out of St. James Episcopal Church (which donates their space and is a key benefactor of the program) but operates independently of the church and any religious denomination.

“At TYMS, students and teachers collaborate on the skills to be learned. We lead students into musical learning by listening to our youth. Efforts to affirm all students’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds are reflected in our school environment,” states the TYMS website, www.taosyouthmusicschool.

Taos Gospel Choir director Mary Bruschini grew up amid gospel music in Brooklyn, New York’s black churches. When she moved to Taos she missed it, so she decided to start a community gospel choir, according to a story in the May 17, 2012 issue of Tempo. The group practices once a week for two hours, and is open to new singers who have an interest in the genre and an ear for pitch and harmonies and a sense of rhythm.

It’s 16-year roll call includes some of Taos’ most beloved voices.

There are a varying number of choir members at any given time, with a core group of members that have remained consistent over the years, as well as those who come and go. Bruschini doesn’t hold formal auditions, but newcomers are welcome to sit in for a rehearsal and try it out.

For more information, visit www.taosyouthmusicschool.org.

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