The Sonic Explorations program at Oakwood Avenue Community School needs your help!


The Sonic Explorations program at Oakwood Avenue Community School needs your help!

I met Doug Farrand at ORNG Ink last year and was able to gain a better appreciation of music. The Sonic Exploration program is special and it is a wonder to see how children respond to it. It is for those kids who like me thought they were not musically inclined. Doug and Jessie make you feel a connection to making music I never thought I would feel.

I was able to talk to Doug as they promote the year-end special event:

P.R.: What makes sonic exploration a unique yet ideal way to educate young people about music?

Doug Farrand: Sonic Explorations is really a space for students and teachers alike to come together each day to immerse themselves in a collaborative, creative music making. I believe music is fundamentally about sharing time with a group of people, and so it is through daily rehearsal, frequent performance, and a truly shared responsibility for the quality of the time spent together that our students have grown not only as musicians but also as resilient advocates for and representatives of their school and their community.

At the end of each school day, after many hours of academic study, our students devote 90 minutes each afternoon to rehearsing and exploring music. Whether practicing violin, participating in dance and song, or learning and connecting through instrument building, improvisation, and composition, the students consistently demonstrate an inspiring curiosity and a drive to discover their creative voices.


So tell me about the New Jersey Performing Arts Sonic Explorations Violin Fundraiser coming up.

First, second and third-grade students, ages 6-9, will be performing at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on May 21st. This event has been a highlight of the program for students and parents for the past 2 years. Expected funding to buy violins for the students has fallen through, so Sonic Explorations is having a flash fundraiser to purchase 15 violins.

Sonic Explorations must raise $2430 for the 15 violins by the end of April. Adding these 15 violins will allow students to double practice time in preparation for the upcoming concert.

Any amount helps. To give, please visit this University of Orange webpage ( and click the PayPal donation button on this page and specify your gift to the Sonic Explorations Violin Fundraiser. All funds donated to the Sonic Explorations Violin Fundraiser will go directly to Sonic Explorations.

Donations can also be made by sending checks to Valley Arts (Sonic Explorations parent organization) with Sonic Explorations Violin Fundraiser in the memo – 400 S. Jefferson, Box 10, Orange, NJ 07050 or by calling Julie Martini at the Valley Arts office at 862-252-7035, MWF 12-5pm

Sonic Explorations after-school music program at Oakwood Avenue Community School (Orange, NJ) began in the fall of 2013, providing violin instruction as well as creative musicianship classes to kindergarten through 3rd grade. Inspired by the Venezuelan El Sistema program, we aim to provide free music education within a social context for the youth of the Oakwood Avenue Community School. Through building a network of shared resources, values, aspirations, and advocacy, this program seeks to inspire youth, increase academic awareness, and move the community-at-large towards a more promising future. The Oakwood Avenue Community School seeks to advance both individuals and the community through the transformational power of music.

Written by Patricia Rogers 

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