In 2014, Kirk in the Hills launched a capital campaign, raising funds to be used, in part, for outreach in the Kirk’s neighboring community of Pontiac, Michigan. Soon after, a committee was formed to decide how the funds would be used, ultimately deciding on an El Sistema-inspired music program. The Kirk has a long history of musical excellence as well as a dedication to supporting the Pontiac community. Accent Pontiac was the perfect fit.
In April 2016, Dan Trahey, founder and Artistic Director of OrchKids, joined the team as a consultant, guiding Accent Pontiac through its initial stages and helping to secure Walt Whitman Elementary School as our partner. Tina Rowan was hired as the founding Artistic/Program Director in September 2016, and Accent Pontiac began its soft launch phase. Accent Pontiac’s pilot program launched on January 10, 2017, and served approximately 85 students at Whitman. In September 2017, Accent Pontiac launched its second year of programming and currently serves approximately 125 students at Whitman.
In the upcoming years, Accent Pontiac hopes to refine and expand the amount of its musical programming, the number of students served, the number of partner schools and the variety of instruments offered to Pontiac students.