Musical Sprouts students and teacher taste Ukrainian tea.
Musical Sprouts students hold up a comparison of Ukraine and Texas geography.

Report by Jennifer Reed-Martinez, MBAW Director of Community Engagement

This fall, over 3,300 students traveled virtually to Ukraine with our Kids to Concerts program, with a concert video (seen below) by renowned Ukrainian musician Jurij Fedynskyj. During the pandemic, this program had to shift from live in-person concerts to virtual concert videos. And now, as schools move back to a mix of virtual and/or in-classroom learning, the program adapts to meet that change again as our January concerts covering the music of African American culture & history will be live in the schools. 

In addition, 650 students received five hands-on, STEAM-based lessons centered around the country and culture of Ukraine through our Musical Sprouts program, which brings the cultural learning directly into the classroom curriculum, working to highlight inclusion while creating a safe space for such diverse, cultural education.

A participating teacher reported that “Musical Sprouts exposes our kids to different worlds- to how they dress, what they eat, what they do, how they speak, what instruments they play. Since kids in our area seldom leave San Antonio or even their own neighborhoods and communities, having them see other parts of the world is huge.”

Students explored maps and made connections between Ukraine and Texas geography, as well as using their five senses and travel passports to explore the country. One said that it helped her to see “there was more to explore in the world than just my city- there’s more out there.”

Students sampled uzvar, a traditional Ukrainian tea, which one thought tasted like “warm, melted applesauce.” They also learned about budgeting a trip to Ukraine, about force and motion by launching a rocket, and designing traditional Pysanky eggs. Teachers said that kids enjoyed working in groups and putting the projects together. “It makes them want to travel and see more. Even I learned a lot!”

As a way of showing our appreciation to Musical Sprouts recipient schools, MBAW staff delivered a holiday meal to teachers, who also made it evident that they were really looking forward to the next concert and curriculum to bring to their students.

Musical Sprouts is made possible with the continued dedication and support of donors, sponsors, and partners, which creates opportunities for children that shape their future.

A contribution of $100 can pay for one child to receive three (3) of these cultural segments every school year, each consisting of:

  • A live or virtual musical performance from engaging artists.
  • An e-book with 5 STEAM-based lessons, acting as a resource for teachers, parents, and students.

If you would like to donate to support the Musical Sprouts program, click here to donate.