ZUMIX Closes Its 25th Anniversary Year With A Fundraiser By Boston DJs
[Boston, MA – February 21, 2017] “It’s been a busy and rich quarter century for the creative youth development East Boston nonprofit ZUMIX. Founded in 1991, its leaders set out to empower youth through music to make strong positive change in their lives, their communities, and the world. At the 25 year mark, ZUMIX celebrates many milestones including serving over 10,000 youth and becoming the “second home” for many; winning the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award in 2011, presented by First Lady Michelle Obama; expanding into its 3-floor Firehouse location which houses its many types of music instruction, a state of the art recording studio and an all ages live concert venue; and in September 2016, after 10 years of streaming its youth radio station online, launched 94.9 ZUMIX Radio, a community radio station. Further, last year Boston Landmark’s Orchestra commissioned Grammy-nominated composer Gonzalo Grau to work with ZUMIX students over 8 months, culminating with a live concert performance on Boston’s Hatch Shell.
To close out the 25th anniversary, ZUMIX will host Boston DJs for ZUMIX, a fundraising party where DJs from Boston’s radio past and present will spin short sets. The event will be broadcast live on 94.9 ZUMIX Radio. Boston DJs for ZUMIX takes place Friday, March 31 at 8pm at ZUMIX, located at 260 Sumner Street in East Boston. General admission tickets are $25 and VIP tickets are $40 and include a private reception. Tickets may be purchased online at ZUMIX or by calling (617) 568-9777.
“ZUMIX is so lucky to have made so many friends and built so many bridges throughout Boston and beyond,” says Madeleine Steczynski, Co-Founder and Executive Director of ZUMIX, “from the staff, instructors, participants, schools, area businesses, foundations, to corporate support. It’s been my true pleasure to watch so many youth find themselves and develop into confident, authentic young adults. We’re thrilled that alumni keep in touch, share their accomplishments, and make it a point to give back.”
“In addition,” Steczynski continues, “as a second home for many youth, ZUMIX provides a safe space for young people, support for working parents, and vital neighborhood stability. In the current time of political unrest, especially among East Boston’s immigrant community, we are proud to support youth and their families, and provide an outlet for the community to come together, create, collaborate, and have their voices heard.”
“Kids find positive reinforcement, build community, and learn skills year after year, shares ZUMIX Board President Steven Snyder.
“ZUMIX’s staff and teaching artists have been able to be part of helping kids develop their goals and dreams, and bear witness to overcoming struggles and succeeding. We plan on ZUMIX thriving into the next quarter century of serving our youth.”
ZUMIX after-school programs serve youth ages 7 through 18. The teen programs are free of cost and the “Sprouts” classes for kids 7-12 are $5 each. Areas of instruction include live sound engineering, studio recording, radio broadcasting, songwriting, piano, vocal instruction, African drums, bass guitar, drums, guitar, dance, and more. ZUMIX teaching artists are professional musicians and teachers from Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, Harvard University, and other acclaimed colleges.
ZUMIX’s in-school programs (made possible by EdVestors) take place at East Boston High School and Mario Umana Academy in East Boston. In 2016, 100% of ZUMIX youth graduated high school and over the last five years, 90% were accepted to college. ZUMIX serves the families of East Boston and surrounding neighborhoods, including many of Latino and immigrant descent; 95% of its youth are low-income.
94.9 ZUMIX Radio, “Powered by Youth,” is ZUMIX’s community radio station broadcasting the voices and culture of Boston’s youth through music, stories, and bilingual conversation. After streaming online for 10 years, ZUMIX Radio began broadcasting as a low power FM station (LPFM) 24 hours daily. One goal is to air diverse music and content that reflects the many voices and perspectives of the community. Another is to help youth build communication and leadership skills, and increase media literacy among the next generation of community leaders.
Over the years, ZUMIX has been supported by professional musicians including Will Dailey, Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz, The Ballroom Thieves, Ali McGuirk, Pile, Latrell James, Tim Gearan, Dr. Loco, Peter Mulvey, Speedy Ortiz, Akrobatic, and Debo Band. And, in 2016 international recording artists Pearl Jam donated a percentage of their two concerts at Fenway Park to the nonprofit, similar to their 2006 TD Garden concerts donation.
Since 2014, ZUMIX has provided in-house academic support, as well as college and career readiness support, through its Pathways Program, open to all participants. Pathways has hosted career panels featuring notable Boston leaders in the music industry such as Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz (Women In Music), Maura Johnston of The Boston Globe (Women In Music), Brendon Downey, The Sinclair (Audio Tech), Danny Mekonnen of Debo Band (Performance), Rafi Sofer of Q Division Studios (Audio Tech), Audrey Harrer of Berklee College of Music (Music Therapy and Education), Adam 12 of RadioBDC (Radio and Broadcast) among others. Local groups like The Ballroom Thieves and Pile have additionally led songwriting workshops in collaboration with ZUMIX’s Rock Ed Program.
For many youth, ZUMIX is the inspiration to further their studies and the opportunity for further development in the music and the arts. Starr Desmond began studying music at ZUMIX when she was 6 years old, and is now a sophomore at Berklee School of Music on full scholarship. Hector Medina studied sound engineering at ZUMIX and now works doing audio-visual support work at Harvard University. Kadahj Bennett studied songwriting at ZUMIX, attended Hamilton College on a full Posse scholarship, and is a company member at Company One Theatre. Justin Zullo studied music production at ZUMIX, went on to study film scoring at the Art Institute of New England, and is now an ethnomusicology PhD candidate at Northwestern University.
A testament to the strength of the ZUMIX community is that many program alumni return years later to work at ZUMIX. Omar Sosa began studying guitar at ZUMIX at age six and has since graduated from Berklee School of Music on a full scholarship, and become a full-time ZUMIX staff member. Ramsel Gonzalez studied drums and guitar at ZUMIX as a teenager and is a program coordinator and instructor for ZUMIX. Corey DePina studied songwriting beginning in the early 90s at ZUMIX and is currently the organization’s Youth Development and Performance Manager. Both Gonzalez and DePina are currently participating in the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Klarman Family Foundation META Fellowship through their work at ZUMIX.”