Songcatchers Inc.

Songcatchers Inc. Logo

Basic Information

Address: (Mailing): 44 Liberty Ave, New Rochelle, NY, 10801 (Site) : St Gabriel's School Basement, 50 Washington Ave, New Rochelle (A former girls' high school now housing and alternative high school, HOPE Community Services ( Soup kitchen, Pantry, Hispanic Outreach) BOCES and Songcatchers.)
Phone Number: 914-654-1178
Fax Number: 914-654-1178

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Songcatchers Inc.
Songcatchers Inc.
Songcatchers Inc.
Songcatchers Inc.

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Additional Information

Focus: After School Music, Art and Drama

We are an independent 501 (c) 3 org. with a Board of Directors

Director: Sr Beth Dowd OSU
Schools Served: Students from all local public and private schools. Volunteer instructors from local and neighboring high schools, colleges and communities
School District: New Rochelle
County: Westchester
Schedule: During week, Tuesday - Friday: 4-5:30; Saturday AM 2 sessions 9:30 and 11: Choir, 12-1 . We coincide with the public school schedules Piano every day, 9 other instruments throughout the week. All sessions include community experiences, lessons (semi private,) and performances. Art on Sat., drama on Friday. Recitals 2x yearly.(March and May) VOlunteer concert (April) COmposers of the Future collaboration with Westchester Chamber ORchestra Levels II ( Concert 3/1) and Level II ( Concert 5/3/08)
Ages: 7 - 13 (through middle school)
Capacity: Varies with instrument
Membership/Pricing: This program is intended to make the arts accessible to low income families, thus: Registration and materials, $20 each, classes $5 each. though we have a few of a little better means

4 rooms. Piano room ( capacity for 9 -- keyboards and one piano)
Circle Room : Gathering, and capacity for larger groups (violin, guitar, flute) Kindermusik Room -- smaller, for groups of 2 -5)
Office/Choir room. Former classroom, used for smaller groups: cello, recorder, Composers....


History and Mission: Songcatchers has a long and wonderful history with roots going back to 1979, to a simple school/parish choir of 35 children. A summer choir camp emerged in July, 1980, and in a few years, alumnae/i, parents, and other interested adults and young adults had become part of a musical community, singing in the choir, helping to run the camp and the events and projects that began to develop. These included, for example, a trip to Holland in an exchange tour suggested by a parishioner with ties to the Netherlands, and other exchanges that followed, both within the US and in Canada. There was inter-parish cooperation as other parishes sent their children to sing in a combined chorus. As the choir became known in the community, the relationships grew and invitations came from civic and inter-faith groups asking them to sing for special occasions. Songcatchers, as the group came to call themselves, still sing annually, for example, at the New Rochelle Thanksgiving Day Parade and Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony, and recently partnered with the Hugh Doyle Senior Center in an intergenerational concert.

As the director was able to devote larger portions of her time, Songcatchers became an independent entity; it was incorporated in 1994, and officially recognized for inclusion in the Kenedy Directory as a work of the Church of New York. The parish of St. Gabriel's, in the midst of the Mexican community at the South End of New Rochelle, welcomed them, offering three rooms for a nominal rental fee. The After School Music Program was begun, Kindermusik® followed, and now, with both choir and camp still going strong, a four part music program has a place in the New Rochelle, Lower Westchester area that is multi-ethnic, multi-generational, and bursting at the seams.

The mission of Songcatchers, "reaching for peace through music," is realized through all these programs, and really modeled by the group itself, which offers an example of diversity, mutual enjoyment and respect. Our aim is to bring beauty into the lives of all involved, especially those who cannot afford costly music instruction elsewhere. In an age where violence is so prevalent, these goals take on deeper significance. We seek to help children recognize and develop their musical talents, believing this will nurture the self-esteem necessary for living full and purposeful lives in their new homeland. The active participation of parents and grandparents in Songcatchers activities is a wonderful support in all of this, providing a family dimension to our efforts, as well as concrete assistance at many levels.

Essential components of Songcatcher Programs are:
- Striving for competence in an atmosphere of respect and mutual appreciation
- A choral repertoire reflecting our goal of being peaceful people who choose to make a difference with their lives
- Leadership training with specific goals and activities: high school volunteers are mentored; middle school students are encouraged to help younger children; camp counselors are engaged in an ongoing training program.
- Service to the local community: provision of lessons to those otherwise unable; performances for local civic, inter-faith, and cultural events.


Lessons, performances -- private, public, civic, inter-faith --, collaboration with local Senior Citizens Center and Westchester Chamber ORchestra; Mentoring for volunteers

Program Information:

See website

Slogan: Reaching for Peace Through Music