The school year is now in full swing! We have just reached the end of our third week of the year and we are finally back on Edwards Elementary campus for the first time in 18 months. While we are grateful for the time and space that Newberg Friends Church provided for us last school year, returning back to the school building where JOY began has been rejuvenating.

That said, the work we do through the pandemic is still not done. We are working through updating our COVID-19 policies based on new guidance that came out last week from the state to make sure our kids, staff, and the school we serve remain healthy.

In terms of what we have been up to the last few months with JOY activities, here’s a brief look:

  • On August 23-27th, we hosted a JOY Summer Day Camp for our incoming 3rd and 4th grade students. We had some special guests from the Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival visit us on the Wednesday of camp to perform a few quartet pieces, answer questions about musicianship, and play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star together.
  • The next evening, some of our summer camp students got to perform Twinkle with our new quartet friends as part of the Yamhill Enrichment Society’s Sponsor Reception. They also performed from memory French Folk Song and Lightly Row during this performance. What a special week! 
  • We hosted our third annual JOY New Student Kick-Off on August 28th, which was an open house-style event where we met the new students and families starting JOY beginning orchestra for the first time! We use this time to also communicate upcoming dates and information about the program and size for instruments. As of June of this year, we had 33 students register for beginning orchestra, which was the highest enrollment turnout for beginning orchestra we’ve had since fall 2019! 
  • The week following summer camp, we hosted orchestra “study hall” time at the Chehalem Cultural Center so we could connect with students who needed extra help on their instrument and to touch base with students and families who were unable to attend summer camp. It ended up being a success and quite helpful for a handful of our students.
  • This fall, we are happy to report that we now serve grades K-4 at Edwards Elementary through both our in-school violin program and after school orchestras! Even two years ago, this sort of progress was a dream. As we enter fall, I know I will be eager to start our fifth year of JOY and continue planning opportunities for the future of our kids and the programs!

As always, dear friend of JOY, thank you for your ongoing support of our project! Your support helps us continue to provide access to musical opportunities to Yamhill County youth.