• Ages: Grades 5+ • Length: 60-120 minutes • 3-5 days • Group Size: Please contact us to discuss your objectives

  • What are ways young people can share their stories with greater resonance — especially with those people most likely to dismiss them?

  • What are ways arts like music and animation can be tapped to make these stories come to life even more powerfully?

  • What relationships and conversations are sparked when students from diverse backgrounds and from different communities work together on a joint project?

A Residency in Phases

Phases I & II: Songwriting Workshops & Recording Session
With the guidance of Guy Mendilow, Courtney Swain and Chris Baum, 15 fifth graders from Roslindale MA’s Sumner Elementary School wrote a song that they later recorded at Futura Productions Recording Studio in Roslindale.

Resonance Instead of Dismissal

Young people have stories that are important. Yet all too frequently, stories and young storytellers alike are dismissed, especially by adults. As compassionate artists, we believe it is part of our responsibility to give young people tools to make their stories more resonant, communicating in ways that will draw in and include others in the story, transforming it from the story of “the other” to a story we too can share.

Springboard Songwriting/Storytelling residencies are designed to give young people such tools.

Collaborating Despite Divides

Phase III: Animation
Students from the Lesley Ellis School in Arlington interpreted the lyrics of the song written and recorded by the students of Sumner Elementary School in Roslindale and animated them with the help of teacher Pell Osborn.

These residencies can also spark vital opportunities for participants from different demographics to forge meaningful connections with through collaborative art. 

In such residencies, students from one school create audio that is then animated by a similarly aged cohort of students in a different community. The joint project gives reason for ongoing student conversation (via Skype). A final presentation of the students’ work takes place in a setting that honours the students’ dignity and celebrates the value of their effort.

Final Music & Animation

We believe that it is increasingly important for young people to be able work with, and appreciate, peers from cultural, linguistic and socio-economic backgrounds different from their own. Likewise, it is crucial for young people to navigate their day-to-day lives knowing that there are many possible “correct” perspectives besides their own, and feeling a personal need for social justice and equality. Yet many young people do not have the opportunity to develop relationships with others from vastly different backgrounds. For other students, “diversity” is an abstract concept that doesn’t touch their personal lives, even though it’s touted by adults around them. Springboard Residencies provide a framework for meaningful engagement across cultural, socio-economic and linguistic boundaries. Youth from urban and suburban schools work together on tangible projects in which each person has a stake, to which each person contributes substantially, and from which all derive a feeling of capability and accomplishment. 

"In the long term, both residency and performance gave legitimacy and merit to our overall education goal. Because it was such a successful process with such an overwhelmingly positive outcome, it lends credibility to our continued efforts to expand our educational outreach. And, it should encourage continued giving to the theater.

The residency certainly made strong impact not only on the students but also the faculty and staff. The reaction was so solidly affirming — even students who as a general rule don’t speak up or engage were doing just that by the end of the residency sessions.

The performance made a lasting impact on our patrons. It was thought provoking and not soon forgotten. This was a highly skilled style of musical storytelling, a unique departure from the ordinary, and it surpassed attendance expectation.

Guy Mendilow was not only a pleasure to work with, his process and product exceeded expectations. The ensemble was worldly, interesting and humble. Such a treat for us to have the opportunity to present."

—  Erin Butler, Executive Director, Wyo Theater, Sheridan, WY

Additional Videos & Podcast Interviews

The Wyo Theater (Sheridan, WY) asked the Guy Mendilow Ensemble to lead a songwriting/storytelling residency at the WY Girls School, a therapeutic and educational facility for the treatment of court-ordered “delinquent” girls between the ages of 12-21. The residency purpose was to arm these courageous young people with techniques and tools to make their stories resonate with others, including adults who might ordinarily dismiss them. This is the result.

Guy Mendilow

M.M. Longy School of Music; International Certificate, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Longy School of Music; B.A. Oberlin College

Guy Mendilow is Director of Music and Education for the Guy Mendilow Ensemble, "An international tour de force” (Bethlehem Morning Call) from the Middle-East, South and North America. The Ensemble combines world-class musicianship with cinematic storytelling in shows that “explode with artistry, refinement, and excitement” (Hebrew Union College), whisking audiences to distant times and picturesque places to stir highly resonant connections to contemporary struggles and dilemmas.  

The Guy Mendilow Ensemble was distinguished by the National Endowment for the Arts for public engagement with diverse and excellent art and the strengthening of communities through the arts, and is the recipient of grant awards from foundations like The Boston Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, Arts Midwest and Western Arts Alliance.

Alongside performance, Mendilow is active in music education, pursuing Dalcroze Education as a means of cultivating musicality while fostering vital skills such as deep focus and the sense of contribution, capability and belonging that together form esteem. Mendilow designs custom artist residencies for leading performing arts organizations like Celebrity Series of Boston and including innovative storytelling/songwriting projects with at-risk populations.

Mendilow’s research interests include music and culture of Sephardic communities  of Salónica,in the early twentieth  century.

Mendilow is a guest artist-lecturer in  universities across the U.S. including Harvard University, Cornell University, Brandeis University, Oberlin College, University of Oregon and the University of Washington, leads children's workshops in schools worldwide and directs the Dalcroze School of Boston, offering Dalcroze Education for children and adults in the Boston area.