It is no secret that the wafts of music are just as familiar to a young Homer resident as the wafts of salty sea breeze rising up from Kachemak Bay. That said, many in the Homer community strive to keep musical opportunities and programs open to the youth.
One of those organizations is the R.E.C. Room. The R.E.C. Room, located on Ben Walters Lane, is a program dedicated to teaching teens about sexual health and healthy relationships. Used as a place for students to come and hang out after school the R.E.C. Room provides food games, and many creative opportunities to students.
Earlier this month, the R.E.C. Room and Homer Council on the Arts put together a joint effort to bring in a nationally acclaimed band that has been recently touring in Alaska. The Rhythm Future Quartet, a group of four musicians from all around the world dedicated to keeping the sounds of gypsy jazz alive, exchanged music with the Homer Youth String Orchestra Club (HYSOC) on that sunny afternoon. As light poured into the R.E.C. Room windows, glinting on the fingernails and hair of those finger-snapping and head-bobbing to the upbeat rhythm of jazz, the two groups played the classic piece “It Don’t Mean a Thing” and the Rhythm Future Quartet answered any questions that HYSOC had for them.
“We’re always trying to make the music come off the page,” said Jason Anick, the violinist of the Rhythm Future Quartet.
That’s just what Daniel Perry, the conductor of HYSOC, is trying to do for his students. HYSOC has performed all across Homer, including at the Homer Farmers Market and Mariner Theatre, with students ranging from elementary-school age up into high school. Perry strives to keep introducing the youth orchestra to new opportunities and learning experiences in music.
“I’m just trying to give them as much exposure and opportunities as possible” he says.
In a community with members that value music and education for young people, it is no surprise that organizations like HCOA have brought in and continue to bring in wonderful experiences for young people, including national bands like the Rhythm Future Quartet.
Tara Hueper is a 12th grade student at Homer Flex School, an artist and writer.