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Musical Bridges Around the World brings kids to concerts in outreach program 

Musical Bridges Around the World (MBAW) is not just an organization's name. It is a description of its musical gift to San Antonio. Board Member Suhail Arastu gives a great snapshot of Musical Bridges when he says, "In its 15 years, Musical Bridges Around the World has evolved from piano and chamber music to what now encompasses everything from fusion jazz to Russian folk and classical Indian! Reaching an audience of San Antonians across the spectrum from at-risk children in underprivileged schools to symphony lovers -- it's a true honor to serve with this organization." I say, Musical Bridges concerts are a true pleasure unmatched by any other group in San Antonio.

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Not only about the wonderful music, each concert is carefully planned by Dr. Anya Grokhovski, Founder, CEO and Artistic Director, to open the audiences' minds to the cultural and historical characteristics of the music. Grokhovski's passion to bring music from around the world to entertain and educate, extends to a program developed for children in 1999. Focusing on underprivileged school districts, Kids to Concerts outreach works with different schools in the Southwest Independent School District and San Antonio Independent School District, to introduce children in grades K-12 to music with a global approach. In the 2011-2012 season MBAW presented 10 in-school concerts at three high schools and seven elementary schools. These concerts are funded by donations and grants.

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"We feel that the best way to introduce kids to the world is through folk music and dance. There are a lot of kids in this city who have never been out of San Antonio, or even their school district!" said Grokhovski. "We want to open the minds of these kids to the world by exposing them to the best quality folk performers. Our programs are enhancing their understanding of the world and bringing to life their social studies and music curriculum." Visiting artists are often scheduled for a Kids to Concerts performance in conjunction with their appearances at a MBAW concert.

So far, the Kids to Concerts has been a part of the school day activities, but plans are to bus groups to the "Main Stage" concerts performed at the McAllister Auditorium. Expansion plans are hoping to bring the joy of music and learning to more than 30,000 teens and children in the next year. I can't image how wonderful it must be for these children to have the chance to see and hear such exceptional performances.

Diana Day, projects manager for educational outreach said in an interview, "Awilda Ramos, previous president of the board of directors of MBAW and currently the committee chair for Kids to Concerts puts her heart and soul into this organization, and along with Caleb Gonzalez, a music teacher from Southwest ISD, is the main reason that Kids to Concerts has come so far."

During the upcoming holiday season, grab some real entertainment pleasure by attending the next Musical Bridges concert on Sunday, December 9, 2012, at 3pm at the McAllister Theater. The Rez Abbasi and fellow musicians will blend traditional jazz with influences from India, New YouK and Southern California. Musical Bridges also plays for free six times during the year on Sunday evenings at San Fernando Cathedral. I began attending several years ago and have seen the attendance grow to almost capacity. Check their website for all concert information.

Photo credits: Celtic Queen Cristina Pato with bagpipe and on stage, and Indian Performance are the courtesy of photographer Ken Mahnke and MBAW.

San Antonio activist and nonprofit veteran Laura Carter believes in enabling the community to work from the heart, not just the wallet. Laura is currently Communications Director at Providence Catholic School where her job includes working with traditional, creative, and social media public relations and marketing.



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