Bahama Village Summer Music Program Teaches Keys Children Music

By Emily Bracher

The Bahama Village Music Program is a local non-profit that provides free music lessons to kids ages 6-18 after school. This program has been around for 19 years, the 20th anniversary coming up next year. Four years ago, the Bahama Village Music Summer Program was created, which is a totally free summer camp for students of the program. Currently, there are 35 kids enrolled.

Program Director, Katey Divoll has been with the program for 19 years. She describes the camp as, “ A totally immersive arts and music camp.” The day usually consists of the group doing art projects or music ensemble classes. For example, a local artist came in and worked on ink painting or they have a class for ukulele orchestra. “They’re always doing something fun and creative. That’s the goal,” Divoll explains.

The camp is partnered with multiple other non-profits that keep the program going. The Klaus Murphy Foundation funds the whole summer program. Breakfast, lunch, and snack is provided by S.O.S Food mission. Dance Key West and other professional instructors also pitch in to teach these young minds all different forms of music and art.
Along with professional instructors, some local high school students take on the role as a teacher. Leia Bryan, an incoming senior at Key West High School, has been working with the Bahama Village Music Program for two years. “They say you put into things as much as what you get out of it, and that is 100 percent true. I put in the work for the kids, and I get a lot out of it. I learned how to be in a recording studio and how to record. I learned how to play the drums here. I learned how to sing here. I’m getting a scholarship to go into a summer program. They do a lot for a lot of people,” Leia explains.

Some of the students have been attending the summer program since it started four years ago. Valerie Thene, 14, has been playing piano for seven years with Bahama Village and has been a proud camper since the beginning. Her inspiration to play music was sparked by, “Ms. Katchen Duncan,” who is the executive director.

The summer program is only available to students of Bahama Village Music Program that take classes throughout the school year. To sign up for these classes, enrollment forms can be found at 103 Olivia St. or online, http://www.bvmpkw.org/, starting August 12. As said on the website, “Our target community, Bahama Village, is rich in cultural history and community involvement, inspiring our students to become not only better musicians, but also better human beings.”

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