Lifting up our students' voices through music performance, student-driven composition, and community engagement plays a vital role in our work at the Josiah Quincy Orchestra Program (JQOP). Additionally, celebrating the movements in our countries history that have enabled our current and future generations to speak up and out regarding that which is most important to them, their families, and their community is equally important. Thanks to the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, in 2020 our student musicians at our Josiah Quincy Elementary BPS site will have the opportunity to learn about and celebrate the centennial of the women's suffrage movement that gave way to the right for women's voices to be heard in our country. JQOP student musicians will engage in a series of discussions with civic leaders and give special community performances at the Josiah Quincy Elementary and the Massachusetts State House as part of this centennial celebration.
As our students’ skills at JQOP grow, so too does their understanding of how to live in and contribute to their community. We encourage this personal evolution through our Youth Leadership Program for our 5th grade musicians. Our suffrage centennial project focuses on this year's youth cohort and includes our newly-formed, advanced elementary school orchestra, our Newbold Orchestra.
The centennial year is an ideal opportunity to engage these 10- and 11-year-old students in discussions of the history of the suffrage movement and its continuing impact today. Our project will consist of a guided discussion with City Councilor Michelle Wu, the first Asian-American to serve as a Boston City Councilor. Following the conversation, our Newbold Orchestra will present two community performances that will include a brief student presentation on the women’s suffrage movement, its impact on their local community, and a recap of their meeting with Councilor Wu. These performances will take place at the Massachusetts State House in April 2020 and at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School for our Coffee Hour Concert Series in May 2020.
Both performances will feature works by Soon Hee Newbold, Asian-American contemporary composer and internationally recognized educator and conductor. The performances will be free and open to the public. With JQOP based in Chinatown and many of our students coming from immigrant families, a discussion of 100 years of the suffrage movement will aim to give them a valuable perspective on this time in our countries history and better understand how the consequences of this movement resonate in their own lives.
JQOP was one of four organizations throughout Greater Boston to receive grant support from the Barbara Lee Family Foundation to take part in this momentous occasion. Fellow grantees include The Brockton Public Library Foundation, The Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston (CWPPP), The Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (MWPC).
The Barbara Lee Family Foundation advances women’s equality and representation in American politics and in the field of contemporary art. Their work is guided by the core belief that women’s voices strengthen our democracy and enrich our culture. We, at JQOP, our proud to have the opportunity to celebrate this momentous occasion and lift our students' voices through their music-making and community engagement.