Project RYTMO (Reaching Youth Through Music Opportunities), a free after-school program funded in part by the state and federal governments, has been keeping kids in Anaheim, California off the streets and engaged in music and learning.
Since 2003, the program has served more than 350 at-risk youth, many of whom have been homeless or have had experience in the juvenile justice system.
At the center of many of the endeavors within RYTMO is equipment from Shure Inc.
“As a company, we take pride in giving back to the community,” says Shure president and CEO Sandy LaMantia. “These kids have shown great promise, and we couldn’t be more pleased to lend our support to this program, which is helping them fulfill their artistic and professional potential.”
Project RYTMO offers nine-week sessions for young people between the ages of 14 and 22, with classes including songwriting, digital recording, music history, and live audio production. Students are also taught life skills such as goal setting, project planning, leadership, and professionalism. Most importantly, says Project RYTMO founder and executive director Joey Arreguin, the program gives young people in at-risk environments a healthy, positive outlet for their energy and creativity.
“Music is the tool we use to engage our young people during those critical hours of the day when they wouldn’t otherwise have something to do,” Arreguin said. “We give them a positive, creative outlet where they can express themselves.”
One of the program’s big challenges is finding professional-quality gear for the students to use in class. When Project RYTMO first began, says Arreguin, there was a lack of quality in the students’ performances and recording. Without professional audio gear, the students were getting muffled and distorted results. Shure was one of several manufacturers that Arreguin’s team reached out to for assistance, and while it might not seem like much, a few SM58 microphones have gone a long way toward improving the quality of the kids’ projects.
?“The Shure products are vital to the success of our program,” says Arreguin. “Our students are hungry to learn how to operate professional gear. We’re using the Shure mics for student performances and recording in the studio, and we’re consistently impressed with the sonic quality and clarity. Shure microphones epitomize the high quality that we want RYTMO students to strive for in class and in life.”
Many Project RYTMO graduates have gone on to start their own record labels, video and audio companies, perform live shows, or produce music for themselves or other artists. Arreguin is now looking to expand Project RYTMO into other parts of California and has just entered into a partnership with the Berklee School of Music in Boston that will enable eligible young people to participate in online learning and even apply for music scholarships.
For more information on Project RYTMO, visit www.rytmo.org
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