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Review for Shelter Music Boston, Arlington, MA, USA

Rating: 4 stars  

I took violin lessons with SMB's founder as a kid. When I was back in town for a few months, I got in touch with her, and she invited me to one of SMB's concerts at the Shattuck Center for Homelessness. I was more of the observer than the volunteer.

I had no idea what to expect. Would the homeless people there be interested, or fairly disengaged? The result was some of both. The majority of the people lay in their beds, seemingly more interested in a night indoors than a classical concert. There were a good handful of people who sat and listened patiently, and even a few who were very engaged with the concert, asking the performers questions, and sharing their impressions.

I thought the performers did a good job of explaining each piece, and making the music relatable. They introduced each piece, often with a story about the composer, and answered the listeners' question. Their delivery wasn't high minded at all, avoiding the language often surrounding classical music--presumably this is a good thing. They were generally casual and warm.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would keep working to engage the audience, with more questions and stories. I'd also think about ways to get more people at the shelter to listen to the concert. There were people who were very into it, but there were plenty of open seats too.

Would you volunteer for this group again?


For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?


When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


Role:  Volunteer

Thanks for this feedback, Nat. Staff at the Shattuck Shelter tell us that on concert nights the guests PREFER to go to bed early and listen to the concert from their bunks. As well, when the guests get more rest, relax while listening to the concert, and are in their bunks, shelter staff can deliver services more efficiently to those guests who are up and about, as so many of the guests are in fact being taken care of by the calming impact of the concert. The shelter guests have taught us that there are many ways to engage with the dignity, creativity, and passion of the music we bring each month, and we are grateful for what we have learned from them about how to have the most impact with our monthly concerts.