Impact 100 Metro Detroit 2019 Grant Summary
Grant Finalist: Detroit Children’s Choir (DCC)
Project: DCC In-School Choral Music Education Program Expansion for Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD)

Background: DCC was founded in 2006 by Carol Schoch who identified a need for quality choral musical experiences targeted toward underserved youth in Detroit. Since then, DCC has leveraged the power and discipline of choral singing to bring together students in SE Michigan to foster team building, creativity, and social interaction a
bridge toward greater understanding and connection.

Unmet Need: A strong curriculum that features arts education teaches students how to think critically, problem-solve, and use creativity. Currently, only 39 of 86 school buildings within DPSCD have a music program. This initiative will build on our nine existing programs by adding an additional 15 buildings. This will result in a major impact; it will allow the DCC to offer programs to 27% of the schools within DPSCD.

The need for music education increases each year due to the scarcity of resources being provided by the City/State. Recently, the US Dept. of Education has mandated “arts education” in each school that receives federal funding; however, no additional resources have been allocated.DCC is uniquely positioned to provide this programming with the assistance of Impact100 Metro Detroit.

Project Summary: DCC will provide a quality music education program to DPSCD buildings currently lacking this curriculum. This will be a “model” for guaranteeing a quality, integrated vocal music education program to hundreds of students in approximately 15 additional school buildings. This model will become a true catalyst to cultivate young musicians that may one day develop into artists, music educators, or community leaders with a true passion for the arts.

In subsequent years, we envision that this model can be expanded to other regions of Detroit, conducting additional programs in targeted schools across the City of Detroit.As evidenced throughout the last 60+ years, the DPSCD has not had the ability to provide a quality arts education for all students. Considering myriad reports that show the positive impact of music education on the individual and community levels, this initiative can be a positive and necessary step toward lasting change.

Outcome: Our goals include the ability for students to read and comprehend music, self-development through music making and collaboration with the school’s expanding set of stakeholders. Success will be defined by engagement through:
1) number of students participating in the program;
2) a measured increase in music literacy skills;
3) number of community members involved as volunteers or audience members at events; and
4) the impact of the program on students’ music pursuits and academic achievements.

Sustainability: As of Winter 2019, DCC has invested in 9 choirs at 8 different schools in the Metro Detroit area. Through the receipt of the grant, we will be able to jumpstart the In-school Program Expansion and meet the needs of hundreds of additional students. We have initiated talks with the Erb Family Foundation to provide funding for our initiative in year two – and will seek additional support from individuals and foundations as the project is being implemented. As student participation increases, so will exposure to audience numbers and visibility within the community which will help attract new financial supporters.

By building on this successful initiative, DCC’s long term goal is to expand to more schools and sustain our work in all of them through continual fundraising and grants until all public schools in Detroit have access to a quality music education.

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