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 the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program, 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 in September 2016, and Accent Pontiac began its soft launch phase. Accent Pontiac’s pilot program launched on January 10, 2017, and served approximately 105 students at Whitman. Now in its third year, Accent Pontiac serves approximately 260 students at Whitman and Alcott Elementary Schools. In addition to the student participants in our program, Accent Pontiac serves all students at Whitman and Alcott Elementary schools by bringing assemblies and guest artist performances to the schools, approximately 750 students. 

In the upcoming years, Accent Pontiac hopes to expand to support all schools in the Pontiac School District.