Can music help educate and inform the public about important social issues?

Music in the Mountains’ Young Composers Project collaborated with the Hospitality House during the school year. The plan was to learn more about the homeless and the need for a homeless shelter in Nevada County. Students were able to tour the facility multiple times, volunteered in the kitchen, shadowed monitors, interacted with staff and guests, and volunteered to clean up at HH’s annual Empty Bowl fundraiser. These experiences were profound and revelatory for the students and dispelled all preconceived notions of the homeless. HH is a proactive organization giving their guests help and hope. Joanna Robinson, HH co-founder, visited a YCP Saturday class and spawned an engaging conversation with students about being homeless and all the issues that come with it. YCP students wrote about their thoughts, experiences and ideas both musical ideas and ideas about HH. They then set to work composing original music for instrumental chamber groups. This new music was performed by students and professional musicians at the final yearend concert in June 2017 at St. Joseph’s Cultural Center.