42 F
Thursday, January 14, 2021

A family affair

More by this author

Blacks are the most vulnerable to weather changes

Think back to Hurricane Katrina, the deadliest and most destructive Atlantic hurricane of the 2005 hurricane season. When the storms came, those who tended...

Have Blacks lost their spirit for social activism?

During the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s, African-Americans mobilized and marched for issues such as segregation, racial discrimination and voting rights....

Mary Kay continues to be a household name

Upon graduating college, Jo Latham worked in corporate America as an engineering coordinator for General Motors and didn’t know that selling Mary Kay products...

Experience Louisiana in Fountain Square

Although my family is from Louisiana, I was an adult the first time I visited the state. I have lots of memories from my...

As the quote says, “music speaks what cannot be expressed.” JoAnn Finch-Martin and her family have used the power of music to grow in talent as well as in friendship, love and cohesiveness.

Their musical journey began when Finch-Martin’s oldest son, Jerred Finch, who was in the fifth grade at the time, decided he wanted to learn how to play an instrument. Finch-Martin played the saxophone in middle school, high school, and college and wanted to support her son, who wanted to learn the violin.

Finch-Martin inquired about private lessons and outlets in which her son could display his talent. A co-worker informed her about the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra (MYO).

“I wanted my son to be a part of that orchestra because it was an inner-city program and there were other African-Americans in there and then just the principles that Betty Perry had, not only how to play the instrument but how to be a part of a team,” said Finch-Martin.

Due to her musical background playing the viola and all of the wonderful experiences she had as a professional musician in New York, Betty Perry decided to share her knowledge with inner-city youth and established The Metropolitan Youth Orchestra in 1982.

MYO is a comprehensive music program for all students in kindergarten through 12th grade that fosters the development of musical growth, critical and creative thinking and interpersonal skills.

“I wanted to create a program where parents were reconnected with their children,” said Perry. “This program is not only youth centered, but family centered.”

Perry said her program helps students achieve academically, provides skills that lasts kids their lifetimes and offers discipline.

“She brings out the best in the kids,” added Finch-Martin. “She makes learning fun.”

Jerred wasn’t the only child to learn how to play. Perry approached JoAnn’s other children, Joilyn (cello), Julian (bass), and Jameel (viola), and invited them to also play in the orchestra. The Martin children have been playing music for more than 10 years under Perry’s supervision.

Finch-Martin said her children learning to play instruments is the least of what music has done for her family. Before the MYO, the Martins were spectators in each other’s lives. Now that all of Finch-Martin children are involved and flourishing in the program, it is easy to support one another; their love and talent in music has brought the family together.

“I even have learned how to play the bass, said Finch-Martin. “This orchestra really advocates family bonding. Also, this is not competitive. We want our children to be the best they can be but we don’t want to be too competitive amongst each other or others in the orchestra.”

For the Martin children, learning to play an instrument hasn’t always been a walk in the park. The more skilled they became, the more expensive it became for Finch-Martin and her husband, Charlie Martin.

Finch-Martin believes that the MYO has been a wonderful support group for her family. Although her children have grown in their musical capacity, they haven’t outgrown the MYO. Jerred, who is currently a student at Ball State University, comes back to help with the program and is using the supplementary skills that he’s learned from the program in his college career.

The public can check out the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra on Feb. 8 from 6:45 to 7:15 p.m., prior to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s annual Celebration of Black History concert that begins at 7:30 p.m.

Registration for the MYO is currently closed and a waiting list is being formed for the 2011-2012 school year. Open enrollment for 2011-2012 will begin in May and will close June 30.

For more information, call (317) 229-7079 or visit www.indianapolissymphony.org and click on the Learning community link.

- Advertisement -

Upcoming Online Townhalls

- Advertisement -

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest local news.

Stay connected


Related articles

Popular articles

Our Future is Powerful Voices

This program is closing the opportunity gap for black and brown students. Find out how you can participate.

Sister Soldiers: Black female veterans share stories of military service

Do an image search of the word “soldier” online, and the pictures revealed will be overwhelmingly white and male. However, African-Americans and women have...

Virtual forum: Racism is a Public Health Crisis

The Greater Indianapolis NAACP Branch and the Indianapolis Recorder will host an educational forum — "Racism is a Public Health Crisis" —...

COVID-19 vaccinations begin in Marion County

The Marion County Public Health Department began vaccinating eligible recipients against COVID-19 on Jan. 11. Currently, individuals 80 and...

Art & Soul Fest goes virtual

The Art & Soul Festival, hosted by the Arts Council of Indianapolis, is usually a chance for artists and Indianapolis residents to...
Español + Translate »
Skip to content