SDMC: Outreach Program Transformation

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
San Diego Master Chorale
City & State:
San Diego, 
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

Our mission is "To promote and preserve chorale music through performance, education, and diverse community outreach". Performances with the San Diego Symphony, as well as our own performances, attract over 35,000 people yearly, many from outside the County. We will reach approximately 3,000 children this year through our school outreach program, and an additional 750 people each year through our senior citizen outreach program.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

"Slowly, their faces transform from benign disinterest, to intrigue, to delight. Children, immersed in the pop culture of their generation, enter murmuring a cacophony of skepticism and leave singing a chorus of Gregorian chant. Their music horizons forever broadened by the experience, as they add a performance of Beethoven’s 9th next to the latest American Idol Winner on their IPOD's. Mission accomplished." - Elementary School Parent Volunteer The San Diego Master Chorale Outreach program was started over 40 years ago in an effort to provide choral music education to the children in our community. These efforts have been increased in the past five years; budget cuts have all but disseminated music education in K-12 schools. As the outreach program began, tools available at the time were used (flip charts, chalkboards and record players), to engage students on a lyrical journey through time, following the milestones in musical achievement from monks, to the masters, to modern music. However, as time passed and our dedicated volunteers made modest adjustments in the programs presented to children technology, too, was marching along. Suddenly, we realized we were using analog presentation methods in an era of digitally-savvy children. We needed a dramatic makeover to make our program relevant to our young, hip, technologically savvy elementary school audience. A generational transformation was desperately needed. The transformation has begun. Through the use of new technology, we transformed our outreach program to maximize the impact on the students we serve in the community by engaging them with the technologies with which they live. The dramatic result of our technological improvements was aptly described by a parent in the above quote. The impact on the children is visible, audible, and lasting. With every outreach program we perform, we witness a physical change, and sense an attitudinal change, come over our young audience. It is not that children are unresponsive to “classical” types of music: on the contrary, they respond enthusiastically when given an opportunity to hear and learn about such music. Our new Outreach Program includes a high-tech mix of audio, video, and live, interactive performance. We bring these performances to many of the historically underserved communities. Many of these students have never attended a live classical or choral music performance. They are drawn in the by the modern presentation and hooked by the live performers. As word spread through the education community, our program became hotly sought after for classrooms throughout the county. Our Outreach Program expanded from 811 students in 2008 to 3,104 students so far in 2009. A very dramatic 383% increase in students reached over the past 6 month. The demographic of a typical population of students of our local schools is approximately 22% Hispanic, 10% African American, 11% Asian, 2% Middle East, and 55% Caucasian. This dramatic increase and success of the program has strengthened our resolve to expand our programming to middle school students, one of our goals for the coming year. Thank you Microsoft and TechSoup for helping us to achieve success.

Submission Category
Transformations to Maximize Impact
Project Image
Monks Image Outreach.jpg