Helping Young People Discover Early Music

Voice class with Jonathon Hampton

This year marks the 25th anniversary of SFEMS’ special, week-long Workshop entirely for children and youth from grades 1–12. The Music Discovery Workshop & Youth Collegium (MDW-YC) was founded in 1994 by Lee McRae, whose vision and lifelong commitment was to make early music come alive for young people through active participation. You now have an opportunity to share that vision and bring the joy of musical discovery to students who otherwise could not attend the workshop. Our Adopt-a-Student program helps children from all backgrounds explore this wonderful music in a safe and supportive environment.

MDW-YC has earned a reputation as unique gem among music workshops for children, not just here in the Bay Area, but across the nation. The purpose of the workshop is to introduce children to early music from the Middle Ages to the Classical period, while immersing them in the music’s historical and cultural context, all in a fun, hands-on way through songs, theater, and arts and crafts.

All subjects at this fun-filled Workshop are taught by our distinguished faculty, in semi-private classes. We are proud to keep a very low teacher-to-student ratio, between 1:2 and 1:5. Ensembles work together to make their pieces concert-ready in just five days! A highly imaginative and one-of-a-kind theater production is also readied in just five days to delight families and friends. Back by popular demand is the Introduction to Playing the Viola da Gamba class, supported by Viola da Gamba Society America and its Pacifica Chapter.

Not just scraping by! Who knew M. Sainte-Colombe had so many young disciples?

The Bay Area’s remarkable early music community was built by people like you and depends on community support to thrive. There are deserving kids who would love to attend the Music Discovery Workshop & Youth Collegium but need some financial help to make it happen. Adopting a Student at any dollar amount will help these deserving children. All are invited to the Final Performance on Friday, June 21, in the Parish Hall of St. Mary Magdalen in Berkeley, but you who support the students will be our most honored guests. Help give a gift of the the music you love to the next generation!

Written by Jonathan Harris