Bravo Waukegan celebrates anniversary, launches online music library
September marks a major milestone for the Lake Forest-based nonprofit organization Bravo Waukegan. The organization officially celebrates its 10th anniversary of supporting the music programs of District 60 Waukegan Public Schools and is launching its latest free online music initiative.
In honor of Bravo's anniversary, Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham issued a proclamation that Sept. 21 -- 27, 2020, will be designated "Bravo Waukegan Week." Bravo Waukegan Executive Director Karey Walker accepted the proclamation on behalf of Bravo at the Mayor's office, along with Christopher Dador, Bravo board member and sergeant with the Lake County Sheriff's department; and Edgar Castellanos, WPS board member and Bravo advisor.
"We are extremely proud of Bravo Waukegan's impact on the community throughout the years," said Mayor Cunningham. "We want to recognize this milestone anniversary and help to highlight Bravo's many accomplishments through this official Waukegan proclamation."
Sept. 21 also marks the debut of Bravo's newest resource to students, teachers and the general public: a free online Music Library accessible from Bravo's website: www.bravowaukegan.org. In development since early March, the project has involved key collaboration with music partners and local music teachers and offers access to more than 100 music-related videos and materials -- covering topics from Music Composers to Mariachi to Jazz to Teacher Resources. Content has been categorized to allow students and musicians of all ages to find inspiring and appropriate music resources, and new materials will be added regularly.
"We appreciate Waukegan's recognition of our anniversary and our accomplishments," said Glen Roberts, Bravo's board president. "This milestone is a testament to our founder, Pat Sikorovsky. Ten years ago, she heard that Waukegan's school music programs would be cut or substantially reduced due to a lack of funding. From that moment on, the Waukegan music programs became a focus for Pat that has grown into tangible programs which impact thousands of students each year."
"Bravo's mission for the past 10 years has been to support District 60's music programs. We are proud of the impact we have made in partnership with the district," said Karey Walker. "While the pandemic has changed how we can support the district, Bravo remains 100 percent committed to looking for and following through with new and meaningful ways to get music into the hands of Waukegan students. Our online virtual music library is our latest effort to provide both students and teachers with access to important music concepts and ideas."
Bravo's support has included: donating instruments valued at more than $289,000 to the district; establishing and supporting mariachi after-school music programs; enabling 1,000 middle school students to perform at the Genesee Theatre annually; creating an affordable instrument ownership program for students; and funding teacher professional development opportunities and student summer camp scholarships.
The nonprofit also recently completed its 10th year of operating its Bravo Buddies summer music camp. This year, Bravo created a free virtual music program for Waukegan students. The 114 participants were matched with talented college music students who taught them interactive virtual private summer music instruction two times a week. A total of 808 individual virtual music lessons were provided to participants during the month-long program.
About Bravo Waukegan: Bravo Waukegan, a 501(c)(3) organization, began as a grassroots effort to help boost music programs within the Waukegan School District. Ten years later, Bravo has become an integral partner in supporting music education in the schools. In a highly diverse and underserved district, Bravo brings a variety of resources to Waukegan's music students and their teachers. Bravo's office is located at the Gorton Community Center, 400 E. Illinois, Lake Forest, Ill. For more information, visit our website at www.bravowaukegan.org or call (847) 722-5821.