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CI Music 'Wows' Arts Council

Joaquim Dixon and
Kendelina Mugambi

By Michael Buss, 2012-04-14
You never quite know what surprises await when you come to a monthly meeting of the Anaheim Arts Council. Thursday April 3rd witnessed a program presented by member organization Creative Identity – already familiar to readers of this site and art connoisseurs at the Art Crawl Experience.

This was also the first time I had ever been in the delightful meeting room at the Anaheim Central Library. And it was packed out!!

Creative Identity is a non-profit Day Program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities specializing in providing therapeutic interventions through music therapy and the expressive arts. Currently with 34 clients all of them are exposed to the music side of the Monday-Friday programs, though not all are in The Pride Band and The Pride Singers. These two entities perform at various venues in Orange County throughout the year.

Program Director Cynthia Smith introduced the principal music therapists.:

Ms. Bobae Lee is the director of the string ensemble. Bobae came to Creative Identity from Colorado State University in August of 2011 to begin her music therapy internship. She formed the ensemble as part of her music therapy internship, which she completed at the end of February, and is now on staff as a music therapist.

Soon Duk Song on keyboard.

Creative Identity’s choir director is Soon Duk Song - a graduate of Chapman University in Music Therapy, and has been with Creative Identity since 2004. She handles much of the vocal training of the clients, provides piano lessons, and collaborates closely with Bobae. She is an accomplished and exquisite pianist.

As Dr Smith introduced the instrumentalists and singers each stood and took a bow with truly consummate poise and confidence. Smiles wreathed the faces of the expectant audience. The String Ensemble then pitched in to Pachelbel’s Canon and Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.

Knowing that some of the players were very new to their instruments made the performance all the more remarkable.

But I think the handkerchiefs came out when Kendelina Mugambi and Joaquim Dixon took the mics to sing. Their vocal qualities were really quite extraordinary. Kendalina brings a powerful, clear soprano voice that never once lost pitch; and Joaquin has a gentle baritone whose vocal idiosyncrasies in his higher range are very compelling. He smiles delightfully as he hits his high notes. Together they performed Time to Say Goodbye (Con te partiro) words and music by Francesco Sartori, Lucio Quarantotto and Frank Peterson, followed by The Prayer by Carole Bayer Sager & David Foster. Italian lyrics by Alberto Testa & Tony Renis.

The Pride String Ensemble

The talented members of The Pride String Ensemble are: Donald Perry on cello, Russell McDonald on cello, Kendelina Mugambi on violin and vocals, and Joaquim Dixon on keyboards and vocals.

You have to reflect on these achievements. Here are people with developmental disabilities discovering that music is an avenue to break through into self-expression, improved self-awareness, a great sense personal pride. Furthermore they now have skills to entertain others.

Although music was in focus at the gathering, the display table to one side also showed of a lovely range of ceramics and paintings form other Creative Identity clients.



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