I have known of and been involved in Hey Mozart! New Mexico since its inception. What most impresses me is the statewide outreach of the organization. New Mexico is one of our nation's poorest states and Hey Mozart! receives applications and has had winners from some of the most rural and poorest parts of the state. It is very emotional to see children from tiny towns come to the concert where they perform with 20 or 30 family members, some of whom have traveled more than 300 miles from Chihuahua Mexico. Teachers of some of the students have said that winning has been a life changing event for some students who have never been successful in the past and have risen vastly in the eyes of peers. At the concerts past winners have become mentors to first time winners, some as young as six. The interplay among the child composers, the adult arrangers and orchestra, band and choral musicians is amazing to watch.
My name is Jeanie McLerie, and I have been involved with Hey Mozart New Mexico since 2008, and a board member since 2010. I teach children fiddle in Silver City, New Mexico. In 2009 I had 3 students submit compositions to the project, and two of them, Ella Jaz Kirk and Ella Myers came in the top sixteen winners. You can see Ella Jaz's song called " The Hand" on youtube by typing in Ellajaz/Hey Mozart. This was filmed at the concert on Nov 6, 2009 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. All the winners played their compositions, and then they heard the arrangement (done by one of the Hey Mozart arrangers) that had been done of their composition. It was a wonderful concert, and it is obvious the see what a boost this is to a young composer. Many of my students continue to write tunes and songs and it was Hey Mozart that really inspired them to do it on a regular basis. This year I had some great compositions by some of the younger ones (between 5- 7 years) but they were not confident to enter the contest yet. And some of my 12 and older students have written some wonderful tunes, but are too old for the project. It doesn't matter because they are tuned into creating and composing now, and will probably always want to do that. I think this is a fantastic non-profit organization and of course it needs financial help. I want to see Hey Mozart continue for the many creative children in New Mexico. I am a believer in giving children a boost in the world of music.
Hey, Mozart! New Mexico is a splendid example of dedication on parade! Dedication on the parts of volunteers who make it run, teachers who have faith and pride in their students, parents who support inspired kids, and, most of all, the dedication of hundreds of youngsters who bravely present their musical creations to a big world. The fact that children who are fine musicians together with children who can't play an instrument are all in this project together is astounding. And some of the winners are, indeed, children who have heard some music in their heads, don't play a musical instrument but they courageously hum their compositions. And a musician then transposes it. It is a miracle for these children.
What a great, positive, exciting, transformative organization.
Pamela Michaelis, Albuquerque, New Mexico