Acclaimed Stamford Youth Music Program Earns $500,000 Grant Award

A Stamford-based organization which teaches music to over 1,000 young people ages 3-17 has been named as recipient of The Lewis Prize for Music’s Accelerator Award, which brings a $500,000 multi-year grant.  The organization is one of four nationally to receive the top award.

The Lewis Prize for Music’s 2022 Awardees are influencing youth-serving systems so young people have access to learning, creating, and performing experiences that reflect their culture and identity.  In the third year of the awards, over $2 million will go to Creative Youth Development (CYD) organizations across the country to give young people access to music education, strengthen the well-being of their communities and put music at the center of efforts to establish equity, according to the organization.

By supporting music leaders across the country to continue their great work, they “hope to inspire other partners to work together to ensure every young person has the opportunity to access transformative music learning, performance and creation.” The mission of The Lewis Prize is to partner with leaders who create positive change by investing in young people through music. Their vision is for every young person, regardless of who they are or where they live, to have the opportunity to access music programs from a young age.

INTEMPO offers children the opportunity to express themselves artistically through traditional and classical music and instrumentation. Founded in 2011 by Angelica Durrell, INTEMPO teaches music to young people ages 3-17. Conceived as a much-needed bridge between the arts sector and marginalized immigrant communities, INTEMPO began with two teachers and 40 students from immigrant backgrounds. Since then, the staff of teaching artists has more than doubled, and their Music School and community outreach events have reached more than 1,625 students and 6,460 community members.

In their core afterschool program and summer music camp, almost every student comes from an immigrant background. Their newest music program at three Stamford public schools is specifically for children who are new arrivals/English Learners—children who have flown largely under the public schools’ radar during the pandemic.

The INTEMPO organization is committed to connecting the dots between intercultural music education and its influence on the socioemotional and intellectual development of children, the Lewis Prize organization explained. They offer a repertoire that reflects the diversity of their students’ cultures and communities. Through the joy of making music together, INTEMPO aims to broaden children’s understanding of the world, as well as build skills that will serve them well in every aspect of their lives.

The INTEMPO website highlights collaborations with community partners and neighbors, including the Norwalk Youth Symphony, Future 5, Building One Community, St. Luke’s Steel Band, the Stamford Public Schools, the Cities of Stamford and Norwalk, and the United Way of Western Connecticut, “all of which are working to inspire, teach, and empower youth in our region.”

In 2016 and 2017, INTEMPO was selected as a finalist for the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, one of only 50 afterschool arts programs in the country to achieve this distinction.

Accelerator Awards provide multi-year support to enable leaders and organizations to make sustained progress toward ambitious community change initiatives that align with The Lewis Prize for Music’s values and vision.

The other top award recipients are in Richmond, CA; Crownpoint, NM; and Detroit, MI.  The Lewis Prize also announced $50,000 grant awards to organizations in New Orleans and Los Angeles, and $25,000 awards to organizations in Baltimore and Seattle, as well as $15,000 grant awards to organizations in 12 cities across the country.