By ANDREA SHAY
Saturday, Dec. 10, the “Sounds of the Season,” echoed on the streets on downtown Bradenton. This family-oriented event featured performances by students at Manatee School of the Arts and was held in conjunction with the Del Couch Music Education Foundation.
Vendors lined the streets offering face painting, art and holiday tchotchkes. Then, later in the evening, a film showed for those in the holiday movie spirit. For a few hours snow fell on Main Street and carolers strolled through filling the air with holiday music.
A nonprofit, the Del Couch Music Education Foundation aims to give young people in the community the opportunity to learn and make music, and to give young musicians broader life opportunities. While the organization tends to focus on at-risk and underprivileged youth, it is available to everyone. They work with schools and organizations to offer music education and opportunities in the wake of funding cuts to music education over the years.
The organization has been involved in a wide variety of community events including Sarasota’s “Rock for a Cause,” which raised over $35,000 toward music education for the nonprofit.
According to their website, the Del Couch Music Education Foundation proposes, “Music has the power to enrich our communities, in that music inspires and cultivates creativity, critical thinking and self-expression.”
Manatee School for the Arts is a fully accredited public charter school for middle and high school students. It has won the Gold Seal of Excellence and named as a High Performing Charter School by the Department of Education. The school infuses its curriculum with art education while also meeting Florida Sunshine State Standards. The school’s student body is made up of students from Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties. Theater troupe students who performed at “Sounds of the Season” are also preparing to compete at the state level.
The school offers specializations in visual art, graphic art, theatre, music or dance. Applications for enrollment are available on its website at msfta.org.