The Sarasa Ensemble announces that the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services unanimously chose to award the group the 2018 Commissioner’s Community Partner Award for the Boston Metro Region in recognition of outstanding service.
Sarasa is well known to audiences for its critically acclaimed concert series. The Cambridge-based ensemble is equally praised for its mission in sharing music with the incarcerated teen population. For the last 17 years, Sarasa’s founding director Timothy Merton and the roster of Sarasa musicians have been visiting teen detention centers, providing classical music as a mode of communication across cultural barriers, promoting and encouraging self-expression and empowerment through music.
The issue of incarceration is getting more attention from the public and media today. But it is in these teen detention centers where rehabilitation can occur, and reduce recidivism. Made up of mostly minority groups, incarcerated young people tend to be a less visible segment of our society.
Tim Merton commented, “We are very honored to be recognized for our outreach work, which is a core part of our organization. Some might believe that the beneficiaries of our outreach are just the teens, but it also impacts the staff working with these teens and is an equally profound experience for the musicians. We are grateful to be able to continue this work thanks to the financial support we receive from foundations and individuals.”
One DYS employee’s reaction to Sarasa’s impact on the residents:“Enlightening. They got to experience music they would not normally listen to… [between visits] they were excited about what they were going to sing the next time you came… The kids said that they really enjoyed going to Sarasa and that they were surprised that they enjoyed it so much and that they had fun.”