I can’t believe we’re going to say this, but please stop thinking about food. These days, Thanksgiving is cherished for its voluminous feast and extensive cooking hours, not to mention the Black Friday shopping that follows it. It seems family reunions and community gatherings fall to the wayside. But what comes in last place? The actual spirit of giving, something that’s often reserved for Christmastime despite the fact that Thanksgiving is a holiday for giving thanks—and the best way to thank someone for their time is to make sure they continue to have time to spend.
This holiday, we’re committed to supporting the music communities that foster Boston’s bright arts scene. Teaching children how to play instruments, providing all-ages spaces for work to be displayed, and giving hands-on opportunities to those most often denied such are crucial ways to keeping the cyclical nature of our music scene thriving. So we gathered some of the overlooked greater Boston-based charities, nonprofits, and organizations that strive to better our musical playground.
The following nine outlets are just a kicking-off point for our city’s music community, but they’re all the right note to start on to help give back this Thanksgiving season. Open up your wallet, pull up your calendar, or pick up the phone to see how you can help them continue to help others.
REVOLUTION OF HOPE
Over in Roxbury, this organization has been helping transform individuals and the community through the high-quality music programs it offers. Thanks to five teachers and 20 volunteer instructors who make it possible, 50 students get to join the Roxbury Youth Orchestra and follow a five-day-a-week program of intense music studies. From chamber orchestra music to gospel choirs, the music they teach leads students toward a stronger path in life both in and outside of academia.
HYDE SQUARE TASK FORCE
Founded in the late 1980s, this youth and family-focused organization offers a wide range of arts-leaning programs to build the development, reputation, and spirit of Jamaica Plain. Did we mention it recently challenged TD Garden? The sports arena failed to hold mandated charity fundraisers for recreational facilities for 22 years, and the organization’s teenagers marched to the State House to demand it follow through on its fund-raising obligation. Show your solidarity with a donation that helps support their efforts.
The East Boston-based nonprofit we dearly love equips youth with the confidence to explore who they are and try new things through music, ranging from songwriting courses to production programs. It’s a creative community other cities should rightfully be inspired by. Your donation could sustain new programs like Play It Forward, which offers $60/hour adult music lessons that subsidize the cost for free or low-cost youth lessons.
INQUILINOS BORICUAS EN ACCIÓN
This nonprofit organization began in the South End back when protesters organized in 1968 to stop displacement and control their community. While IBA has a handful of goals for each department, it’s the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts—the largest Latino arts center in New England—that needs support so it can continue to host music events, dances, and visual arts events that celebrate the diversity of Latino culture.
Ever since it was formed back in 1992 and opened a Somerville branch in 2004, this organization has worked to help low-income, urban youth solve the pressing issues in their lives by getting them involved in their community. Donations will help it continue to host youth conferences that combine music, activism, and theater, as well as its studio program that releases albums of youth-produced music each year.
INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART
Apart from being one of the leading art museums in Boston, the ICA also hosts a variety of music production, poetry, and film programs. Its Teen Arts Education Hub is both a resource and a network for teens interested in the arts, proving that the music-leaning work they see inside the museum is work they can create themselves, too.
RAW ART WORKS
RAW is committed to showing kids that they matter, and not just by existing. From paint to film, the Lynn organization lets them discover how their ideas can bring music to life. Earlier this year, indie rock local Palehound turned to the organization to create a music video for “If You Met Her”—a clip that was entirely conceived of, designed, directed, and built by kids under 17 years old.
GIRLS ROCK CAMPAIGN BOSTON
One of the more well-known organizations on this list, the all-female, primarily volunteer-run outlet aims at empowering girls and women by using music education as a stepping stone in building self-esteem. Each year, it throws a local festival that showcases the talents of New England-based female artists, proving that anyone, no matter what age or gender, can create the next great album.
SHELTER MUSIC BOSTON
Each month, this sustainable nonprofit brings classical music to various homeless shelters around the city thanks to donations and the hard work of its staff. Ever since 2009, the Arlington-based organization has dedicated itself to providing homeless citizens with the self-reflection, intellectual stimulation, community, and hope of music by letting professional classical musicians perform concerts in its space.