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Intercultural Music Education


58 Church St, Stamford, CT 06906, USA
Director: Angelica Durrell
Category: Community Engagement Program
Award: Silver, 2020

Project Description

INTEMPO was conceived as a much-needed bridge between the arts sector and marginalized first generation and immigrant communities in Stamford CT. INTEMPO is an intercultural music organization whose objective is to promote classical music, making it relevant and accessible in an inclusive environment.

We make music education relevant to our students using folkloric instruments and featuring composers and a repertoire that reflects their diversity. Our programs are affordable, making music study accessible and inclusive. We remove some of the most common obstacles preventing underappreciated children from studying music.

INTEMPO’s programs build skills and behaviors that position students for long term success. As our students develop their musical talents, they also gain practical life skills (practicing/persevering, interpreting information, identifying patterns and collaboration) and valuable behaviors (self-discipline, focus and creative thinking). In aggregate, INTEMPO’s programs serve 224 children ages 6-17, most of whom come from underappreciated backgrounds.

INTEMPO’s programs include:

  • Our on-site Music School teaching students aged 6-17 violin, viola, cello, guitar, charango, percussion and choir in an inclusive and welcoming environment
  • a Public School-based music education program at a Title 1 Stamford public school for grades Kindergarten through 5th grade
  • a Summer Music Camp aimed at reducing musical and educational slide
  • A Literacy Initiative aimed to help multi-lingual students reach grade level reading scores
  • A pilot music instruction program for New Arrivals to the US aged xxx – xx in collaboration with Stamford Public Schools
  • Workshops for parents and culturally conscious youth development teen meetings
  • A Music Technology pilot program that engages our teen-aged students while developing highly transferable computer skills

Target Audience

Underappreciated children (aged 6-17) in Fairfield County, CT are INTEMPO’s target audience. Many of them are first generation or of immigrant backgrounds. They face financial, social, structural, and musical barriers that make it almost impossible for them to participate in sequential high-quality music education. They attend schools that lack robust instrumental music programs (especially in the early grades) and are disproportionately affected by budget cuts to these programs. Their schools’ afterschool programs often lack instrumental and choral music components. Private music lessons are beyond their families’ financial means, depriving them of the opportunity to gain the skills they need to audition successfully for youth orchestras and other selective music programs and to participate in activities that unite people.

Conceived as a much-needed bridge between the arts sector and marginalized immigrant communities, INTEMPO (then known as INTAKE Organization) was founded in 2011. It began with 2 teachers and 40 students from low-income backgrounds. Since then, our teaching staff has grown to 6, and our educational programs and outreach events have reached more than 1,700 students and 7,000 community members.

Overview of planning and execution process for this project


  • June 1- 4: Executive director, Education Committee, program manager/family advocate, and lead teaching artist meet to plan/finalize curriculum/themes and set dates for all programs and workshops. Enrollment is open throughout the summer.
  • June 25-August 1: Community outreach/partnership programs with New Arrivals and Horizons at Norwalk Community College takes place.
  • July 25- 30 Executive Director and Teaching Artists attend Carnegie Hall PlayUSA professional development workshops.
  • August 5-9: Week-long Summer Camp. Students perform for Stamford Mayor and local dignitaries, attend field trips and other experiential learning experiences.
  • August 26: Monthly, 1-hour critically conscious youth-development meetings for teenagers begin. First) of three) 1-hour parent/caregiver workshop is held at the same venue. These workshop will be facilitated by an external moderator. Both the meeting and the workshops will be documented on video.
  • September3: Primary Music school and Public School based programs begin. Literacy initiative begins.
  • Fourth week of September: Parent workshops begin.
  • December 15: Holiday concert with families and key community members, supporters.
  • March 14-28: Large-scale cultural crossover takes place, Samba & Cumbia theme for 2020. Three rehearsals with the Norwalk Youth Symphony are scheduled. Marketing and Audience development team works to ensure a successful sell-out event.
  • June 7: Final culmination student recital takes place.
  • June 15-30: Student report cards are collected and analyzed to gather student academic improvements. Reading specialist tests students who were reading below-grade-level to determine progress and areas where intervention is needed.

Sponsors/charities/volunteers/ other groups involved in the project and the benefits to each.

INTEMPO receives major support from: Carnegie Hall, Be Foundation, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, SpreadMusicNow, City of Stamford’s Youth Music Program Grant, CT Dept of Economic & Community Development, New Canaan Community Foundation, Petno Family Charitable Fund, Near & Far Aid, D’Addario Foundation, First County Bank, Pitney Bowes Foundation, St John’s Community Foundation, Benevity Foundation, Northeast Community Innovation Corp, American endowment Foundation, Westport Women’s Club.

We have over 65 volunteers during our Cultural Crossover Concert.

During the summer, we enlisted 3 summer interns, serving over 560 hours of community service. (One intern was paid for 500 hours through a partnership with the Connecticut Office of the Arts).

Our parent volunteers help us with making bilingual phone calls or translations, going to the supermarket to obtain supplies or snacks for students during summer camp.

Community Impact

Through its music education program, INTEMPO has been a leader in closing Fairfield County’s opportunity gap, providing high-quality music education to hundreds of children who would not otherwise have access to it. INTEMPO’s accessible instrumental music program is a vital service that allows underserved children to pursue an active music life, to participate in our common culture, and to attain a rich, well-rounded education.

INTEMPO has established itself as a leading provider of cross-cultural musical experiences and educational programming in Fairfield County. We bring local communities and underserved populations into the cultural mainstream. INTEMPO has engaged Fairfield County’s Peruvian, Guatemalan, Mexican and Nicaraguan diasporic communities, working with them to mine their musical heritages and incorporating their folkloric musical traditions into the organization’s curriculum, use of instruments, and performances.

INTEMPO has given a musical voice to our region’s African American and Afro-Caribbean communities, incorporating African drum (djembe) instruction into its program. The 2018 curriculum included klezmer and Latin music, purposely exploring commonalities of diasporic communities. INTEMPO’s emphasis on creating an inclusive musical environment is reflected in the composition of its student population, its use of cross-cultural instrumentation and repertoire, it’s partnerships with other community nonprofits and its engagement with the parents of its students. INTEMPO’s programs expand the social, cultural and education inclusiveness of our community by inviting volunteers, advisors, families and Board members – many of whom come from immigrant communities – to participate in the discussion about how we can all work together to create an active music life for underserved children.

Overall budget


Specific Budget Breakdown


  • Expenses – personnel
    • Contracts & Direct Assistance 70100
    • Contracts – program related 98,400
    • Non Contracts Fees 19,000
    • Total Contracts & Direct Assistance $117,400
  • Salaries & Related Expenses
    • Executive Director salary 19,950
    • Payroll Taxes
    • Insurance 600
    • State Unemployment 140
    • Payroll FICA 1,600
    • Total 72500
    • Payroll Taxes Total 72000
    • Salaries & Related Expenses 22,290
  • Other Personnel Expenses
    • Payroll Services 950
    • Accounting/Audit fees $1,500
    • Professional Development 3,000
    • Insurance – Liability, D & O Total 75000
    • Other Personnel Expenses 5,450
    • Special Events Fees 2,500
    • Office Supplies 3,500
    • Internet Services 960
    • Postage 200
    • Printing 1,250
  • Total 81000 Non-personnel expenses 13,410
    • Facility & Equipment Expenses
    • Rent, parking, other occupancy 8,250.00
    • Office Equipment 2,000.00
    • Equipment rental & maintenance 900
    • Total Facility & Equipment Expenses 11,150
  • Travel Expenses
    • Transportation/Buses 3,000
    • Meals 1,250
    • Networking Events 800
    • Total Travel Expenses 5,050
  •  Other Expenses
    • Online Services and Subscriptions 1,500
    • Advertising Expenses 750
    • Website Maintenance & Digital Media Services 3,000
    • Total Other Expenses 5,250
  • Total Expenditures 180,000

New or recurring project?


How did you update/change this project from its previous occurrence?

INTEMPO is committed to continuous improvement to ensure that we offer high quality programs to the children and families we serve. Our music education program is committed to maintaining a strong connection with our students as they advance in their studies by providing age appropriate learning options that continue to ignite student creativity. We recognize that to do that successfully, we must critically assess our programs often.

We gather data and assess how well we are progressing against our goals.

Following completion of each program that INTEMPO delivers, our leadership team holds meetings to to identify things that went well and things that did not. We also regularly survey our students and their parents. We use all these tools to adapt our programs to make sure that we use those assessments to continually improve our programs.

Challenges/obstacles that were encountered

Challenges included securing financial support required to manage high quality music education programs. Maintaining the right focus on fundraising while simultaneously managing all programs presented frequent prioritization re-calibrations. Building a strong team with a high degree of accountability for their responsibilities is key to functioning optimally and providing the best service and experiences for our students, their families and our greater community.

Measurement of the success/effectiveness of this project?

Success measure for INTEMPO’s programs align with key program outcomes including:

Expanding Impact/# of children served. In school year 2019, 120 children participated in the PS based program, tripling the number of Stamford public school students reached.

Removing financial barriers to access. During school year 2019-20, low socio-economic status children were provided free music instruction and receive quality instruments that they can take home through our primary music school program.

Strengthening partnership with the Stamford Public Schools: During school year 2019-20, two additional Stamford Public Schools principals will provide our program with in-kind support (for example, facilities, custodial/janitorial services, bus transportation)

Committing to long-term/ongoing music education: Students are given the option of remaining in the program beyond school year 2019-20,either at their public school or at our Music School 1 in the Glenbrook section of Stamford, where they can study with us through high school(

Supporting diversity: During school year 2019-20, the majority of children who were served by our program expansion belong to ethnic/racial minority groups that are typically underrepresented in the arts(for example, in our current public school program, 52% of students were Hispanic; 28% were White; 6% were Black; 10% were Asian; and 4% were Multiracial)

Building musical skills: During school year 2019-20, most if not all of the children who will be served by our program expansion will gain their first exposure to the study of instrumental music and will acquire skills and technique commensurate with the beginner level and in accordance with national music education guidelines.

Fostering inclusion and socioemotional growth: During school year 2019-20, all students who will be served by our program expansion will have opportunities to perform in outreach concerts, including our annual large-scale Cross-cultural Concert with the Norwalk Youth Symphony, which will build their sense of connection to their community, their self-esteem and self-discipline, and their confidence as performing artists

Professional/artistic development and arts equity advocacy: During school year 2019-20, Sphinx alumna Angelica Durrell will continue to advocate for equitable access to arts education, will seek additional partnerships with key Stamford Public Schools administrators, and will continue to develop her skills as a music educator and social entrepreneur.

Capacity Growth: In 2019, added 4 administrative staff members (bookkeeper, family advocate, grants manager, executive director), X teaching artists, one reading specialist, and two tutors.
Increase Enrollment: In 2019 our primary Music School grew by 7% and Summer Music Camp by 33%. Two new programs reached an additional 94 of students from Horizon and 20 from New Arrivals .

Advice for someone looking to replicate this project in their own community?

Have a clearly outlined mission and objectives that answer a pressing need within your community. Be tireless in pursuit of your goals and be willing to accept feedback and adapt when needed. Maintain a culture that cultivates cultural identity and keeps diversity, equity and inclusion as key values.

Weigh partnership opportunities carefully, ensuring that they compliment your programs and contribute toward shared goals. Maintain a high level of quality in all programs. Be true to your mission.

Supporting Materials

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