Staff Spotlight, July 2020, KIDS 4 HARMONY

Kids 4 Harmony Staff Spotlight

By Courtney Clark, Artistic Director

The mark of a great team is having not just one or a few people that stand out and contribute to its overall success, but having a team of the most caring, dedicated, and motivated individuals who go above and beyond every day. Not because they have to, but because they love what they do so much that they just don’t know any other way. Choosing only one staff member from Kids 4 Harmony to feature in an employee spotlight proved to be impossible. There was really no one person to choose above the others.

Every staff member has something special that they bring to the table, and every person on this team deserves their own spotlight. Recognition should go to…..

Jorge: for constantly holding every student up to the highest standards of musical excellence every single day while making everything fun all of the time. You always come in ready to go, you always make sure that every single student feels supported, and you are always enthusiastic about sharing your experiences with the rest of the staff and trying out new ideas to make our kids and program stronger and better than ever before. Your energy, enthusiasm, dedication to the kids, and love for teaching is an inspiration to every student and teacher.

Ignacy: for always looking for new teaching methods and curriculum ideas, and always looking for more opportunities to advance our student’s musical progress. You are always reminding us that learning and performing a piece is not just about playing the correct notes and rhythms, but about learning more about the composer and being aware of the historical context. You are able to give our kids another point of view on the performance of a piece that they find inspiring and challenges their musical and personal growth.

Alicia: for the most creative approaches to teaching and always finding the strengths in every student, especially when they are having bad days. Your patience seems endless, and you bring joy into every lesson. While you were the Artistic Director for eight years, you created the most supportive work environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their teaching experiences, insights, ideas, and curriculum, which is what built this fabulous team. During the transition in leadership last summer, you always offered words of encouragement and support.

Gerdlie: for embracing so many new experiences and taking on so many new challenges. You have grown so much over this past year, and it is because you took advantage of every opportunity that has come your way with enthusiasm and a thirst for learning and growth. It is obvious that you put these experiences into how you teach and interact with our students every day, and your accomplishments are an inspiration to all of them.

Gerdrose: for the powerful connections and relationships that you are building with our students every day. Our cellists love working with you because you inspire them to become better musicians, you are able to build authentic relationships, and you often mix in some really fantastic jokes into your lessons, which are always appreciated. You are able to speak to the needs and perspectives of our students so well, which has been invaluable in developing our online curriculum and schedule, and keeping our staff on track in regards to the expectations we have of our students.

Don: for always coming in with a positive attitude, an infectious smile, and always being up for anything no matter what crazy last minute schedule change lies ahead. The sense of humor, playfulness, and enthusiasm that you bring to your work lifts the spirits of the kids and staff every day. You always remind us of the importance of team building and community engagement, and always bring our conversations back to the larger goals of the program and to what really matters: the growth of our students into young adults who will contribute to our society in a productive and meaningful way. You often ask, “What is this all really about?” A question that we tend to lose sight of in the nitty-gritty of concert preparation.

Susan: for always being able to get our young musicians ready to learn after such a long school day! Snack time is the craziest 20 minutes of the day, and a time that will either make or break our lessons. Helping our kids reset and get ready for more class time after an already long day is always a challenge, and you never shy away from it. You are always seeking out resources and connecting with staff in order to help our families, which has been incredibly valuable during this pandemic.

Kathy: for reminding us to celebrate our successes, whether they are big or small. For always gently steering the staff and the kids towards using growth mindset language so we can always work towards becoming the best versions of ourselves. For reminding everyone to love themselves and be kind to others. For constantly connecting to our families in the most respectful, kind, and thoughtful way possible. You always celebrate the strengths in everyone, and are always thoughtful about when to take a step back, redirect, and then keep moving forward. Your calming presence and the way that you really take the time to listen to others has always been very grounding and reassuring.

Jimmy: for your enthusiasm about teaching and what I would call a barely contained excitement about everything music related.  Jimmy’s mind is moving a mile a minute just thinking about all the possibilities about an upcoming concert or new teaching technique. Whether Jimmy is teaching a class, organizing a concert to raise money for his community (and the K4H community), or exchanging ideas with a colleague, his energy and love for music are infectious.

Sean: for always knowing the right things to say and do to support every student and staff member. You not only work tirelessly to develop meaningful lessons for our kids that cover a crazy broad range of ages and ability levels, but you also take the time to develop the important relationships that ultimately make the most impact. Your creativity with developing composition projects to strengthen our sense of community is phenomenal, especially during this pandemic. This virtual Gala would certainly not be possible without your photography and videography skills.

Bravo to all of you! – Courtney