The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday August 17th

Local students perform at Musical Empowerment recital

Local students will showcase their musical skills Saturday before friends, family and UNC mentors. 

The Fall Recital will be put on by UNC's Musical Empowerment, a nonprofit organization that provides private music lessons for 125 underprivileged children from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area who might otherwise lack access to lessons. 

The organization’s recital, taking place Saturday, Nov. 11 at the University United Methodist Church, gives students an opportunity to showcase what they have learned throughout the semester. 

At the beginning of the semester, each student from the community was paired up with a UNC student, who has served as their teacher and mentor. 

“It’s really about the one-on-one relationship,” said Lindsay Player, co-president of Musical Empowerment at UNC. “It’s not just about the music, but the mentorship and the fulfillment that these kids get.” 

During the Fall Recital, about 70 out of the 125 students will perform. The group will be divided into three rooms so that students will feel more comfortable with a manageable number of people. Teachers introduce their students to the audience and provide support for them throughout the performance. 

“Performing makes them more confident,” Player said. “The whole point of the recital is to give them the experience. It’s really neat to see them all nervous going up and then leaving beaming.” 

Junior Pragnya Dontu worked as a teacher for Musical Empowerment in the past year before becoming chair of the Community Building Committee. She played in orchestra and band in high school and said she missed playing when she got to college. However, she didn’t have enough time in her schedule to commit to an ensemble and, instead, joined Musical Empowerment. 

Dontu said it turned out to be a great opportunity to help children grow while keeping up her own skills at the same time. She remembers getting to introduce her student at a recital last year. 

“It just made me very proud,” Dontu said. “It gives you such a good feeling.”

Although the Fall Recital is catered toward a family environment, the event is free and open to the public. Members of the UNC community are welcome to attend the recital and support these students. Musical Empowerment will also be accepting donations to continue providing supplies and lessons to all of its students. 

“The recital takes you away from campus,” Player said. “It’s a neat thing to see these kids so happy.” 

If any students are interested in joining Musical Empowerment at UNC, they can volunteer to teach, as the organization does teacher recruitment at the beginning of both the fall and spring semesters. This offers a unique opportunity for UNC students to have a really influential role in the life of a child in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community. 

“As a child, my music teacher was a huge part of my life,” said first-year Ella Luebbe, a member of the a cappella group, the UNC Walk-Ons. “With that, I learned so much, and I wanted to learn so much more because of that.” 


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