This March we are thrilled to present singing sisters Sharina and Chinyere Cody as our Students of the Month.
Sharina, a freshman at Central High School, participates in DREAM Choir, Otis Music Camp, and was an inaugural member of Camp DREAM. When asked to reflect upon her past two years of involvement with the Otis Redding Center for Creative Arts, she responded, “I like the Center because it gives me a place to express myself in ways that will positively impact my future in the arts.”
Chinyere, a second year student at Miller Magnet Middle School, has been equally involved in the Center for Creative Arts programs since joining last year. She believes, “everybody [in the Center] is so nice and welcoming. The impact it had on me was that I feel more confident with my singing.”
Charline Williams, mother of the Cody sisters, believes the Center is “a place where my girls can hone in on their talent and love of music. I’ve seen them blossom so much since they’ve been involved with the Foundation. As a matter of fact, when planning our summer vacation, the only request they had was to please not go anywhere during the Otis Music Camp weeks.”
Our Instructor of the Month is Sophie Leveille, who has been working with the Otis Redding Foundation for the last two and a half years. She works as the Center Director, Choir Director, Camp Coach, and Private Lesson instructor, and loves working with students every day to enhance their musical capabilities and grow in their confidence.
Sophie believes each program at the Center has unique impacts on the students including learning to perform on new instruments, connecting with other kids of all backgrounds through a love for music, developing teamwork skills and problem solving, self expression through songwriting, and much more:
“Music education is about so much more than learning an instrument or building a strong voice. Music is a real force for change. It has such a big impact on students, providing a positive outlet, allowing them to build unlikely relationships with their peers, and helping to instill patience and focus. Music has always been my safe place and I hope in working with the kids here at the foundation, I am able to continue that tradition.”
In DREAM Choir, Sophie says, Sharnia and Chinyere “are always attentive and working to support their fellow students. The choir gives students such a unique opportunity to take on leadership roles amongst their peers, and they are a great example of its impact. It’s such a pleasure working with them each week!”