Outreach Letters

Butler Center Westboro, MA

August, 2015


“If the program could afford it maybe we could have a music group with you guys like twice a month!”

“Yeah you guys were great! I really enjoyed being with you guys. Maybe we all don’t like the same kinds of music. But you guys were good. The old fashion opera made me kind of sad in some ways having flashbacks with family. But you guys were good. I was inspired too see you guys perform. Chase your dreams always! Im going too chase mines as well once I am released from the Butler Center. I wish you guys the best.”

“The piano was cool for me and the big violin fittle instrument with the horse-hair string was something new and was my favorite instrument you brought …”

“…not many people give us open ears too show them our art.”

“I honestly learned about some of the instruments you guys were using. Now being in a generation were everything is based on computers and you can find instrument sympathy’s on youtube or the internet. It was good to see things in front of me in a classic way kind of a real deal instead of just hearing it from a speaker.”

“I felt encouraged because at the time being at the butler center music was not in the picture for me. And I love music. It’s a passion and I love it figuring that I‘m doing time away from home. I really enjoyed easing my mind too you guys. And expressing myself at the end of the classes too you guys with my talent. It was needed my mind needed to be replaced with something different. Music puts life in me. I love too hear other peoples point of views.”

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Pelletier Center Westboro, MA

January, 2010

“Yes I did enjoy the Sarasa Residency very much. They were very accepting, warming, and understanding. They captured everyone’s attention and kept it well. They knew how to entertain teenagers well. I’ve never sang in front of people before, but they made me want to.

I like our performances because it brought us closer together and brought out our talents. It helped us feel for each other more and understand what each one of us was going through. It helped us with our self-esteem and showed us that if you give it your all w/o caring what others think, in the end, others will think even better of you. It gave kids confidence and helped them feel as if they were the center of attention even if it was for only 5 min. at a time; it gave kids hope. I also liked the group singing, and drumming because it taught us to play in unisance [sic] and together. The group discussions taught us more about practice makes perfect and music in general. It also brought out our thinking abilities, and how we think, whether we think alike or not.

I learned that it takes much more than a great voice to sing. Music, I feel, is a way to express yourself. It is a way to show emotion or tell a story. People come out in music, whether the tune/mood is anger, romance, beauty, or sadness, it all sounds beautiful and it is all a part of life. Each emotion makes each song different, just like our emotions make us different.

Sometimes I write poems. I think this helps me with my anger. It’s a great thing to be able to write down your feelings.

I feel that listening to music here calms and soothes me. Also, at funerals of my friends I have gone to, the music is very important. It lets you think about a lot. Also, a song that you listened to with a best friend, no matter how far apart you and that person may be, if you hear that song you come to feel like you’re sitting right next to them. You also start to wonder if your best friend thinks that same as they listen to the song and whether or not they’re listening to it at the same time.

My best friend Sage is an incredible singer. Her voice brings tears to my eyes. However, she comes from a poor household and she just recently got hit by a drunk driver which permanently bruised her physically and mentally. She is absolutely gorgeous but I don’t think she realizes it. When she sings, people listen and I think that in her voice is where she finds her true beauty. Like when she sings her beauty from inside comes out and covers her scars. I love music because she loves music and I love her.She is the true meaning of music coming from within, beauty coming from within. Thank you for opening my eyes to what I hadn’t seen before.”

“You guys really got lots of people to open up and I was one of them. And I never open up. That was the first time I opened up to people.Please come back. You are so great.” ~ Mary-Ann

“I wasn’t bored at all. I know it sounds weird but I was a band geek ever scince [sic] 4th grade. And I am in love with music. I know a lot about music that they were teaching. Music is a life changing experience.I liked the cello, because it was a graceful sounding instrument. I would like to be an orchestra composer, I think.”

“Some of the time I did feel incouraged the way you can get us to participate is by comin to sit with us and trying to make it more funny and not inbarassing. [sic]

I enjoyed the part where we all had to create are own raps and songs and we all where incouraged [sic] each other and some us really came out and helped each other.”

“I thought Sarasa was OK. I’m not into that kind of music. I liked when we sang “No Air” and “Take a Bow”. I also liked the girls poems. I did not feel so encouraged because that’s not my type of music. Don’t get me wrong you guys sang nice.

I like touching music that I can relate to like love songs and songs that mean something, and thair are good rap songs because they talk a lot about how my life was when I was younger.

When I was about 2 years old I always use to sit in the car with my mom and sing “Don’t go chasing water falls” I get upset when I hear this song because I don’t live at home I have my own place now but I still love my mom to death. I also love the song “Butterflie kisses” they played it at my dad’s funeral.

I sing to my fiancée in the shower and when I’m driving. I love going to church and I love that music they play at my church. I love god. I think it’s very important to go to church.”

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Westboro Secure Treatment Westboro, MA

January - February, 2008

“Dear Tim, Maggie, Nathan, and Kristen,

What a treat it was to have you visit Westboro Secure Treatment! I have never seen our residents so happily engaged as they were when you four were here. You brought such joy and peace to our program, and we are forever grateful to you for this experience. Thank you for not only sharing your own talents but for listening to the performances of our residents. It meant so much to us all that your group took the time to come here and inspire our young men through your music. We look forward to a return visit from you in the future.”

~ Mary Cornell, Teacher Coordinator

“Dear Sarasa,

My reflection of the Sarasa performance is that their really good band they played all different kind of music. When they played it made you think. It made you think of a time in your life. Some music made happy and some music made you upset. All the music that they played it mixed with your feelings. Their performance was really good they knew what they were doing and they knew what exactly songs to play for us. When they played the music they didn’t tell us the title of the song we had to guess the title and we had to pay really close attention to know the title. Tim was really talented to play the cello he knew how to play really good on it. Maggie was really talented to play the piano she knew how to play all different songs. When Maggie heard a song she knew how to pick it right up really fast and that takes a lot of skills and that what she haves. Nathan and Kristin knew how to sing rely well they had really good voices. They knew how to clear their voices and sing really loud I felt I was in an opera house and they sang good songs and funny songs it made us feel happy. Before I really didn’t pay attention to this kind of songs, but now for the Sarasa coming I think now I have in interest in those kind of songs it made me think I only liked rap, but those songs made me think about good times and it made me feel relaxed. Thank you for coming we learned a lot of things we learned how to clear are voices and sing we learned how to play the drums, and we learn all different kind of songs.”

~ Flavio

“Dear Sarasa,

I would like to thank you guys for coming to show us some different types of music, also for coming for free out of your own good will. The things that I really liked were the piano and the duets. It was real cool the way Maggie was playing the piano. I always wanted to learn how to play one. Hopefully one day I will. Also the duets that Nathan and Kristin sang. You guys have some really good singing voices. I see it takes a lot of courage to stand up and perform in front of everybody. Ever since I was little I always had a passion for music, mostly I only listen Rap. I’m starting to listen to r and b. When it was my turn to get up and perform for you I got a little nervous but soon as I got into it I wasn’t nervous anymore. I look at music as a way to let your feelings out in a positive way. For me I could listen to music all day and not get bored. Thank you so much for coming.”

~ Victor

“Dear Sarasa,

I got a lot out of the different music you guys played. I got to hear opera and classical music. I liked the cello when Tim was playing it because I never got to hear or see a cello so I was surprised when I heard how good you played it. Maggie I liked how you played the piano because the different music you played on it. And the way you played the piano was cool. Nathan I liked how you sang the opera and how high and low you could go with your voice. I never heard opera before so I was kind of happy. Kristen I liked how you did the opera and how long you went it must have taken a while to learn. I just want to say thank you for coming and giving us your time to sing and play music for the unit. I just wanted to say I was happy when you guys came.”

Thank you, Sarasa
~ Matt

“Dear Sarasa,

What I thought about the performance was that it was the great to be able to listen to all the different kind of music that is out there that I did not know about. I think that I will listen to all the different kinds of music that is out there. I might find some more kinds of music that I like to listen to. I liked the instruments that MAGGIE was playing. I could not believe the high note that NATHAN hit and it tells me that if I keep trying I can get my voice that high when I sing songs when I am at home. Then at the end of the performance they tried to do something that one of the residents did, and even though they did not get it perfectly it was fun to watch them try it I won’t forget you at all because they left a good impression on me when you were here. I also like to play the drums that they had with them. I also liked one of the songs that they did at the end of their time here. Also what means to me is that there is a lot of kinds of music that is out there for us that we can listen to when we are in a bad mood or just while we are out driving around with our friends or families. I wish that they could come back again so we can have some more fun. I also learned a lot about all the different kinds of instruments that are out there. I could not believe the high notes that Kristen was hitting. I also liked the instruments that Tim was playing, and the name of it is a cello.”

~ James

“Dear Sarasa:

I want to tell you that I really had fun singing, dancing and seeing you perform. I think that your group has a lot of talent singing and are very creative. Also you guys as a group touched our lives in a positive way and made us feel happy and free for an hour. I felt really comfortable with myself singing and dancing in front of an audience. Tim, I think you are really good on the cello. That means to me that there are a lot of kinds of music that is out there for us to enjoy. We can listen to it when we are in a bad mood or just while we are out driving around with our friends or families. I wish that they could come back again so we can have some more fun. I also learned a lot about all the different kinds of instruments that are out there. I could not believe the high notes that Kristen was hitting. I also liked the instrument that Tim was playing, and the name of it is a cello. And you looked like a pretty cool guy. Maggie, you are a good playing piano and a smart woman. Nathan, for a man, you have a good voice and you look like a fun guy. Kristin, you have an amazing voice and a good future if you keep singing because you have a lot of talent. So I want to say thank you for everything and I wish you guys good luck.”

~ Carlos

“Yesterday I enjoyed listening to sarasa. I liked their songs and their music. They are very talented. I liked the women on the piano because she can play and song with any beat. Tim that played the cello plays it well and can play it fast or slow. Nathan sings opera; he has an ok voice but plays ok. Plus Kristen plays show tunes very well at it a she could act pretty well.”

~ Herve

“To Sarasa

I’m happy you guys came to perform for us and show your talents and music experience this kind of stuff we had a lot of fun singing together. A lot of kids may change their looks about music because of you all. I think your music group is very good. I hope you guys can come back soon. Thank you for coming.”

~ Nick

“Dear Sarasa,

I want to thank you guys for coming to share the music that you like with us. You guys have opened my eyes to music that I thought I would never listen to. When I first found out that you guys were coming to play classical music and share your talents with us I thought that it was going to be boring. But instead it was fun and a great experience for me. I thought that only the music that I listen to was good but after listening to the music you guys showed us it showed me that there are different types of music that are good besides the music I listen to. I just want to thank you guys for coming and opening my eyes to a new kind of music.”

~ Jesse

“What is Music to you?

To me music is a way of expressing my feelings. Whether it is what I been through or what I am going through. Music is life experiences. I use music to my advantage to describe my struggle and how hard everything is and was for me and how pain will never stop. My favorite type of music is rap and R & B. I like this mostly because I feel now and day the rap groups that are out the songs that they write are basically telling people what they’ve been through before they made it big and how a lot of things have changed. The only difference is now they are older, but the similarities are that I am now their age and I’m going through the struggle they’ve been through so I find it interesting to find out how they made it and what’s working for them and maybe can it work me. That’s my definition of music.”

~ Stephan

“Dear Sarasa,

I want to start off by saying thanks for coming to see us and play music for us. I believe you guys have made me a lot more open-minded to different types of music. I really enjoyed playing the drums this helped me see that beats do not only have to come from computerized things. The music that you guys sang for us and played for us made me feel really relaxed. I really appreciate you guys being open-minded and listening to our music. Once again thanks for everything.”

~ Haile

“Dear Sarasa,

I appreciate that you guys came up here and showed us all sorts of music. I liked how we got to play on the hand drums and how you taught us all of the different beats to make on them and how you guys also made different sounds on the keyboard that went with the poems that we sang. I especially like the different kinds of languages that you sang to us because it is always nice to learn new languages. So thank you for all that you have taught me.”

~ Jared

“Dear Sarasa,

I thank you for what you did for us. You gave us a lot of days of entertainment and a lot of days of learning about music. When we were singing with your group I felt relief. I identified that singing is like a coping skill for me because it makes me feel real good. It is like expressing feelings. I noticed that music has a lot of meaning to it. I never thought that the type of music your group performed for us existed. That’s why I thank you for showing me something new in this world. Your group was awesome. I really mean that. I couldn’t get enough of your music. The piano, drums, cello and especially your singing. It was fantastic. It was beautiful music. It really was. I just want to say good luck. We hope that your group keeps inspiring people. And we hope you guys liked our performance.”

~ Nate

“Dear Sarasa, 

Hello Sarasa, I wanted to let you guys know that we all truly really appreciated what you came and did for us. I personally learned a lot of information about music that I never would have even got to learn if it wasn’t for you guys. What I really liked was when we got to sing about the songs you guys performed and stuff. It was also very cool how we got to play on the little hand-drum things, and make beats. I remember seeing you guys at another program, Somerville Transition Shelter, and you guys only played some music for us over there. We didn’t really get involved like we did here at Westboro Secure, which made it more fun for us and more interesting. I really would enjoy if you guys got to come back here from time to time to stop in and show us some new stuff and play music. It was also pretty cool because most of us kids aren’t really familiar with the sort of classical music, and opera and the cool instruments you guys used so it was really cool for a change to see something new other than rap. Thank you guys again for everything you guys do and we know it was volunteering too so which makes it even better. Thank you guys hope to see you again. Bye.”

~ Mike

“Dear Sarasa, 

It’s your friend Joseph. The first thing I want to say is thank you for expanding my horizons with music. You also taught me things about singing that I’ve never knew like when you told us about the different pitches and how to hold notes. I definitely want to say I never knew that the keyboard could switch that many times to make other kinds of sounds. Also that you can make new instruments sound so old. Thank you for teaching me about the cello. But tell both Nate and Kristen for bringing so much extra voices for us. But this last week you all opened my eyes. So thank you and come back soon we’ll be waiting…”


“Dear Sarasa,

One of main things I thought was very interesting was that we had to give our thoughts on now the music was and what we thought was the best meaning that we could put together and the biggest thing that I thought is that we got to learn some new cool things about singing and about the history of certain instrument that we handed down and also what I really enjoyed and like was when we got to stand up and drum and learn new songs and even just the fact that we were able to pay back with our singing and I really thought that was a great experience for me I think this helped me a lot!

Thank you so much.

~ Jeremy

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RFK School Westboro, MA

October, 2006

Residents were asked to respond to these questions:What were your first impressions of Sarasa? How did your impressions change the 2nd and 3rd time? Which component, (drums, singing, musical instrument) did you like best? How did the music make you feel? Please explain. Would you like Sarasa to come back. Please explain.

“My first impression of Sarassa was like wow. I really getting in to this stuff. I thout I wasn’t going to get in this stuff.
My impression change by like they was doing thing different every time so I got into it.
The part that I like the best was all of I was very interested.
This music make me fell like a lot of things, like having a good time having fun basically.
Yes I would love to see Sarasa come back again cuz I really had a good time.”~ Sopheara

“My first impressions of Sarasa was that what king of music their playing. The group looked wack and boring. Also that I will not like this group.
My impressions change because they wasn’t as bad as I thought. I liked it right when they started. They play like professionals.
I liked the first singing because she had an amazing voice.
The music made me feel relaxed. It felt like I was in another place, something like I was free at that moment.
I would like Sarasa to come back because it’s good for us. It makes us look forward to something while we sit in this garbage.”

~ Anonymous

“I really enjoyed their music, being that I listen to some classical music.
I wasn’t’ there the first time and any impression didn’t change.
I like the singing the best, especially the girl, Kristen.
The music made me feel good. It made me feel happy.
I would really like for them to come back because I really enjoyed the music.”

~ Chris

“I thought that type of music was strange.
It didn’t really change, because I enjoyed it everytime.
It made me fell relaxed.
Yes, because it’s something new.”

~ Anonymous

“When the Sarasa group first came here I thought it was going to be boring. But then they asking if any one could play any instrument and all the kids volunteered. Then when they started singing again I loved the group and I wanted them to come back.
My impressions did not change. I love Sarasa music.
I like the singing and the musical instruments the most. I like when they sang because it relaxes me. And the musical instruments because I got to play.
The music make me feel like I was on top of the world. Because I like their music.
Yes, I would like them to come back because their music is peacefull, and the rest of my days goes by fast. And peacefull.”

~ Nelson

“My first impression of Sarasa. I enjoy it.
I only meet I’m once.
The singing.
Good! It got me calm down in side.
Yes! Cause I enjoy their music.”

~ Tony

“My first impression of Sarasa was that it was going to be whack.
I wasn’t upstairs the second time and the third time it was still whack.
I didn’t like any of it.
Angry, depressed and more stressed out. I was angry because I didn’t want to be there, I was supposed to be at wood shop. I was depressed because the music was mailing about mourning, and/or loss, and stressed out because every time I was there, I was forced to deal with it, and had no other option.
No, because if I make my 2-7 then I’m leaving in February, and every time we miss woodshop, I fell behind, and I still need to finish up 2 projects I’m doing now, and I still have like 2 more projects in mind.”

~ S

“My first impression was this is wack.
That there here to help us and that it was actually pretty fun.
The drums because we all worked together to make one sound.
The music didn’t make me feel anything it was just noise sometimes it sounded good sometimes it didn’t.
Yes, because I have fun and I learn start about music.”

~ Danny

“My first impression of Sarasa was I love their music and their voice.
My impressions change the 3rd time because I loved them even more.
I loved the cello and the opera.
The music placed me in a trance and made my eyes water.
I would love for Sarasa to come back and if they don’t I’m going on a hunger strike!”

~ Stacy

“My first impressions was the Sarassa was awfil. Becusse it was the first time and I never had the songs befor.
My impression was the same.
I like the drums becusse they bets was hot.
The music made my fell relaxed.
Yes becusse it made my fell relaxed.”

~ Anonymous

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Worcester Secure Boys Unit
Westboro, MA

September, 2006

“I would like to take the time to thank you for taking the time to come up here to play for us. I was in a bad mood but after you played I felt in a better space then I was, so thank you and hope to see you again. Thanks.”

~ Chris

“I think the instruments and classical music that you performed for us was wonderful and education at the same time. The music you sang for us made me feel free to a certain extent. Thank you for letting me show you my talents.”

~ Drake

“The music was unbelievable. It took a lot of stress off of me and helped me relax in a way I havn’t for a long time. Thank you very much for coming.”

~ Josh

“First I want to thank all of you for coming. The music was very soothing. I felt at ease and calm like I was by myself with no cares in the world. Your coices the instruments you played and the array on different assortments of music was lovely and beautiful. I appreciated every moment of it.”  

~ Patrick

“I would like to thank you for coming to play the music for us and I hope you come again.” 

~ Detwan

“Loved it!!! Loved IT!! I was the resident wearing the read and black outfit. But that’s beside the point. I never seen opera in my life, and you added another feeling for music and the gift I saw in the day room. Please come back…Please!”

“Thank you for coming. Also the female singer had a beautiful voice. I hope you guys come back. The beats and every thing else was great. Thank you please come back.”

“Thank you guys for coming the music you guys played was great and I really enjoyed it and I hope you guys come back.”

~ Sam

“Thank you for coming it made me feel a little happier. Also relax because of all the treatment work I been doing made me overwhelm.”

~ Ty

“Thank you for coming I liked the music and it gave me a new outlook on it”
From the sports agent,

~ Anthony

“I thought at first it wasn’t going to be good. Ok interesting. But I was surprised at how good it was. I never heard anyone sing like that in real life. I also enjoyed the piano, cello, and recorder. But my favorite was the drum. I was amazed at the different sound it could make. I enjoyed it and hope you all could come back soon.”

~ Anthony

“I had a good feeling about the bank from the beginning because I interest in akinds of music. You all have the unique skill and keep working tenaciously.”

~ Brandon

“Hi this is Nick, the very big black kid. Well I loved your stuff. It is something I learned that I really like. I wish I can do it. But please come up again. Thank you.”

“Today a bank came. I felt like laughing when I heard them. I felt kinda good after I kept listening. They make me feel relaxed I haven’t felt relaxed in a long time I was always tense every minute of my life not since I was born, but the majority of it. They played really well. I like them. There really cool. I think they impact people. I never listened to classical music. They played songs that made me feel calm. I could feel the emotions from the songs. It made me understand that music isn’t always about being cool, but finding inner peace with myself. I hope they come again.”

~ Juan, back row, black and white shirt

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Northeast Family Institute Dorchester, MA

September, 2005

“Your music is full of wonderful sounds You music was fun to sing in rounds You guys are great you deserve the best You guys put my courage to the test. I appreciate you and I send my thanks I hope you return next time with music filled in tanks Good bye farewell until next time The memories you left me are forever mine.”

Yours truly,
~ Jaiyda

“There are many things that I learned from the music group. I learned how to bring our my voice without being scared. I also learned many new music tips for when I become a singer. They taught me a lot of new things. They taught me how to play the piano and taught me breathing techniques for when I get out. Because someday hopefully I will make it in the singing career. They also taught me to believe. Believe that someday I will make it and to never be afraid to get up in front of many people and sing. They even told me that one day in life I will make it only if I believe in the things that you mever thought could be true but those music people told me different. I hope one day that I wil become the singer that I want I just need to learn to have self-control and learn to make the right choices if I want to get that far…I am trying to get the treatment that I need so when I get out I can go to school and become a singer. They played some old and new music that I have never heard of that’s why I was interested and me wanting to become a singer also got me interested in learning and listening from them. One day I pray to god everynight that I will be a singer. I believe I can do it. I realize I have better things to live for and I promise myself when I get out I am going to do the right thing.”

~ Khandee

“I had fun it was pleasant for them to come. To brighten up our day.”

~ La-Lawnnie

“My experience with the musicians was really great I learned new songs and let my silly innerself out.”

~ Vanessa

“The music people were fun after all I do think we should have more things like that! It was great!”

~ Iris

“It was fun and I wanna say thank you.”

~ Shayna

“I had a good time with them it was fun being with them I learned to just have fun and join in it was fun I would to do it again.”

~ Deana

“I loved hearing all of you sing and play music it was super me and my imaginary friends loved hearing you guys.”

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Westboro Reception Unit Westboro, MA

May, 2005

Dear Timothy Merton:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the performance that you and the other members held in our facility on Wednesday, April 27, 2005.

It was really amazing to see how much the residents at our detention facility enjoyed your show. I know it is unlike anything that they listen to while they are out, however, they truly respected your talented group and appreciated the fact that all of you took time out of your day to visit us.

Enclosed are some letters written by some of the residents that attended the performance.

Thank you again.

Very truly yours,
James Poblocki
Program Director

“Hello how are you doing? My name is George and I am a resident at the program you performed at yesterday. First I would like to start out by saying thankyou for coming in and playing for us. We meaning the whole of the population do not get a chance to hear music like that. As for me I was delighted to hear your songs and to hear a different standard of music. Your performance was good and the group has alot of talent. I feel that your group shall do good if you proceed the way you choose. So thanks again for coming in.”

~ George

“This is one of the juvenile kids that you played for at Westboro Mass. I just wanna take my time to thank you and your band. “Timothy Merton, Elizabeth Blumenstock, Jennifer Stirling”, you guys were awesome players. Keep it up and you guys will make perfection.

I also wanna thank Tim and Mr. Chance for taking the time to talk to me and let me know that if you put your mind into your goal you would succeed. They also told me that failure is a no-no, thank you Sarasa. Good luck in the future.”

~ Orlando

“Your performance was mad good. I appreciate you taken the time out to come here and play. It was mad different from what I’m used to. I seen your paper (Sarasa brochure) and if I had 5 g’s it would be all yours but I hope the DYS community give you some money cause ya’ll deserve it. But I just wanted to say thanks. So thanks for coming and good luck on getting the money.”

~ Rob

“I kind of liked it and I liked the part when they were doing the beats and rapping. I don’t like the instrument because that ain’t my type of music. The peano is it – and that is what I like about yesterday.”

~ Marcus

“The show we saw yesterday was good. I never seen nobody play music like that I enjoyed it. I like the way the guy was singing about his girl that he misses alot the way he was doing it.

I also like people that was play the instriments.”

~ Reggie

“I thought it was alright but the reason I didn’t like it alot was because I don’t like that type of music but they were very talented so I respect that but it was fun to watch and it killed time.”

~ Isaac

“What I thought about the concert was that it was great. It takes alot of talent to play those instruments in the kind of pace they played them in. The music was really relaxing. It was something new and interesting for me. Overall I really liked it.”

~ Jeremy

“I thought the show was real interesting. It was interesting to me because I have never heard that type of music live before! I also thought it was nice to see people as good as they were come to a place like this. My favorite part of the show was when Chris and myself went up and did a little something of our own! But anyways I thought the show was awesome and hopefully I won’t be here to see them again but I wouldn’t mind it!”

~ Dave

“I think it was cool, the violin plays a nice sound. The people who performed were excilent, I would love 2 c sumthing like it agen.”

~ Aaron

“I liked your performance yesterday. It was touching. I liked how you guys had your instruments in tune – it was good. I hope to hear from you guys again or hear your CD or see you on TV.”

~ Nashawn

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Spectrum Girls Program Dorchester, MA

May, 2004

To: Sarasa Ensemble

We have had the privilege of having the Sarasa Ensemble visit our unit for the past three weeks. As Program Director, I would like to express our appreciation to the Ensemble, not only for their time, but also for exposing our clients to classical music. I believe that due to this program our girls discovered the beauty and fun of timeless music.

From their very first visit, I noticed the concentration the girls gave to this group and talk all week on the unit centered on their return visit.

I was very impressed with the interaction between the girls and the Ensemble with singing, poetry reading and dancing. One client, in particular, was very proud to find that the Ensemble had put music to her poem. I am confident that she will carry this moment with her the rest of her life. Another client’s interest was elevated to the degree of inquiring about the possibility of taking singing lessons.

I am secure in the knowledge that never have the girls responded to any group as they did the Sarasa Ensemble. The open, fun-filled, positive manner in which the girls reacted has not been witnessed on this unit until the Sarasa Ensemble entered the doors.

I wish to thank the Sarasa Ensemble on behalf of our clients for not only giving of themselves but primarily for encouraging our clients to participate to the fullest in their marvelous program.

This program, I feel, is extremely beneficial in the development of young teenagers and I can only make an appeal that the Sarasa Ensemble come back for more visits when ever possible.

Thank you,

Nancy Carter, Director
Spectrum Girls Detention Unit

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Northeast Family Institute Dorchester, MA

April, 2003

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing this letter in support of the Sarasa Ensemble and the fine work they do bringing music to incarcerated youth. Tim Merton and his fellow musicians have opened the eyes, ears and hearts of our residents and we couldn’t be more grateful. This group has over the past two years taken the time to help our residents come to understand and appreciate classical music. They have done this by allowing them to write, sing, and dance and generally feel like part of a real musical production.As the Program Director for NFI Girls’ Assessment/Treatment Unit I would ask that you strongly consider any request for funding that will allow the ensemble’s work to continue. I would like nothing better than to have this group in once or twice a month to work with our girls. This is the type of programming that enhance the self-esteem of our population and truly makes them believe that they can do anything.

If you require any further information or have any questions at all about the value of this program, please feel free to give me a call.

Trudie Munroe-Signor
Program Director
Northeastern Family Institute

“To the Sarasa Ensemble,

I really enjoyed the one week I spent with you. Im upset because the other two times you came I was unable to join for various reasons. The last week was very exciting to me. I enjoyed the different kinds of music. I liked singing for you. I hope you continue to do this because it helped me. I’ve started writing more and I plan on publishing some of my pieces. Don’t stop doing what you do best.

Love always.

P.S. The Show Must Go On!”

“Dear Sarasa,

Thank you for coming to NFI. I enjoyed your music group alot. I learned that I like different kinds of music and to respect all kinds of music. It was deeply appreciated.
Thanks again.”

“To Whom It May Concern…

The was I felt about the group the Sarasa Ensemble, was that it was something to keep me interested in something. It also served as a motivational tool for me, because its always boring around here, well most of the time. It also let me have a couple of laughs because it seems as if this place makes me feel down. But really it was a wonderful experience.”

“To The Musical Group OK.

Well I think the whole band group was very special and thanks for all the fun and musical things we did and I hope we can have it more often.

P.S. Page to Sarasa and Ensemble and da Group Band.

Sorry for the short note well thank you note I thought we had only a little time but I was wrong well Im saying Im kinda well I am wondering if yall were comeing back anytime soon. Were and I including myself is trying to play the piano the electrical one with the different sound waves and stuff. Im hopeing NFI can get an group song going on and yall record it and play it live on TR or channel 2, TBS, well as far as the musical group I thought yall did an good job teaching the Girls including myself how to sing and play the piano and how one of the ladies taught my hair doer and my friend also how to play the violin and I really hope yall can come back very soon and do an lot of other stuff and stay longer with the group.”

“Dear Sarasa Ensemble

I thought the group was good but we should have more time to make it better cuz I thought we could have done better but other than that I had fun.”

“I liked what u guys did with us. I wasn’t here for the whole Three weeks but what I was here for was Fun and I liked it.”

“I have to say that the music waz wonderful
And I liked It
And I Hope other
People will like
I enjoy everything
And you will learn
New things”

“What I liked about the musical is that you guys came all out of your way just to teach us music, and I was thankful for that. I also liked the little video that we made to go with it. The part that I didn’t like was that you had to leave so soon. But thank-you anyway.”

“Dear, Sarasa Ensemble

I really do thank you for coming and opening my mine, and also my peers mind to something new. I really did enjoy it. It’s good to learn new things while your living. I just wanted to say thank you, and I hope you enjoy it as much as me, and my peers did.”

“To whom it concerns,

I appreciate the fact that you came up here on yall time and played music for us and was very patient when we were disrespectful at times the last day was very fun I enjoyed it very much we made little videos. I didn’t like the first day I thought it was boreing and no point but it got better and we had fun once again I thank yall and I also thank you for teaching some of us how to play certain instruments.”

“TO: Sarasa Ensemble

I like the idea that the Group was willing to come and work with us, teach us, cooperate with us I thought i would never participate in such a thing but i liked it very much. I liked the things they played for us. It sounded Real Good. I would like for them to come back and teach us more.”

“Dear Sarasa Ensemble

I is writing you guy for coming to NFI to teach each other of my Peers. When you an your crew came you guys probably that these group of girls wasn’t gonna like the music group exactly we love the group alot. You group help me love music even more than what I personally thought I was. Hopefully I can move.”

“TO: Sarasa Ensemble

I very like the band. I learned alot from you guyz. I would like if yo came more or came again. I like the dude who sings well. I like all of you guyz. Can yo try to came again please. Yo a very good band.
Hope to came again. Yo try
Try hard
We love the band.”

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Brighton Treatment Center Brighton, MA

Dear Tim,

On behalf of all the residents and staff at Brighton Treatment Center, I would like to thank you for taking the time to come to our program. Everyone greatly enjoyed your performance of selections from Schubert. For many residents this was their first time hearing classical music; your presentation has opened their eyes to a whole new world of music.
Again, thanks you for your time and artistry.

Joshua Grant
Program Director

“TO: The Music People
To me the people that came here to play music for us were very good as far as skill and inspiration goes.
My actual favorite was the lady that played the violin. There was just something so beautiful about the way she played. The melodies she played enabled me to see all sorts of images in my mind’s eye. To me the violin is a difficult instrument. So I respect anyone that even comes close to playing it well, and in my eyes she is an expert. I would like to learn more about the instrument, and hopefully she could be my teacher and put me to the test. I would like to like to thank her for enlightening me.”

“The positive thing that I know is that they play some music instrument for the whole unit that was here and that it was good and it made me sleepy but I still stay awake and listen to the music they were great and I like how they play it fast and calm and they know it by heart or something.”

“The music made me feel positive and good about myself and good to my peers around me. It made me think about things I did to people that hurt them very bad that regret.”

“I want to thank you for coming and showing us y’all talent. My favorite part was when the lady on the keyboard was playing I liked how she played and I think all of y’all did great and I want to say thank you for coming.”

“Yesterday it was all right im not really into classical music But it was nice hearing something new for a change and at the end they were letting people play the instruments and stuff but I like listen to it and hearing them play.”

“The concert was kind of boring. Classical Music is not My kind of Music but theyre good at what they do. They like it and seriously get down to it. When they started to make the beats some of it was actually hot. I couldn’t play the violin chello or piano so their little concert made me earn a little more respect for instrumentalists and classical music. When they were making music to people freestyling and Ruel making beats wit hhis mouth it was nasty. They got mad skills and if I had as much skills as them in things im interested in I’de be out of trouble and in better shape wit my life.”

“I wonna thank you for coming and blessing us with that beautiful classical music. Me as a music lover respect it and every aspect of it. Exspicially da keyboard which is one of my favorite instrument.
When I was listening to it I love the way the music send me to different places and time to war and back it was better than thinking about where we was at you know
Thank you”

“To Sarasa music group,
I would first like to thank you for coming and visiting B.T.C. Normally I am not the type for your music, no offense, but in here it made me feel very peaceful and calm which helped me through another day. It really put me in a positive spirit which was what I really needed. I hope you continue to help kids to feel a little better while doing their time at a D.Y.S. Facility like you did for me. Thanks again.”

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Somerville Transition Shelter
Somerville, MA

Dear Sarasa,

Thank you very much for coming to our unit (Somerville Transition Shelter) and performing. These young men don’t have an opportunity to see this type of music often and I think they have a new respect for it. I have included the thoughts about your program from these young men. I also look forward to hearing from you again!

Alicia White (teacher)


Thank you very much for coming. I really enjoy it. It was a pleasure to have ya1ll come in and play for us. I learn new things from all of you. The instruments look old but in very good condition. It is very interesting what people can make out of bird and wood. People really have a smart brain. Well the music make me feel relax. It calm me down from my rough day. These music can put you to sleep very easily. The music make me feel jumpy at certain times. Well i heard it before like on t.v. and movies. I would like to hear it again because it good to learn about others.”

“Dear Sarasa

Your performance today was very educational. You taught me alot today about the musical instruments and when they were made. The music that was played was very delightful and enjoying. It made me feel as though I was there in the 17th century and in a very old video game. I was glad yall came up to visit and your welcomed back anytime.”

“Dear Sarasa,

How do you do? I really appreciate you guyz coming to do that little gig. Im not really use to that type of music, but I enjoyed it. I like how you guyz fit in when we were beat boxing. Thank you for coming thankz.”

“Dear Sarasa,

I’m writing this in regards to your performance at the Sommerville Transitional Shelter. Myself and many others really enjoyed your performance. I learned alot of things i never knew about music back in the 1600’s. By you guys (and girls) coming in and playing for us really lifted my spirits and made me feel like a better person. I believe that you all can really make a difference in alot of communities and make alot of peoples days better and more glorious. I hope to attend one of your up-coming concerts. Thank you for your time and performance.”

“To: Whom It May Concern

The music I heard Today was an uplifting experience. I am currently incarsarated and The daily routine has become a bit repetitive and tedious. When I saw The instruments at First a Figured This will be some cliche attempt from some privately funded musitians to present a haphazard musical presentation to break-up The day. But to my suprise when I heard all of the instruments collaborate to make a quite enchanting melody I was more Than impressed, it was a momentary epifamy That was overwhelmingly delightful. I nevor appreciated The instruments nor the musitians to This degree befor. Thank you For exposing me to somthing New.”

“Dear Sarasa

Your music gave me some ideas between hip hop music and classical music. Putting them together. The music ya played bring emotions. The music could make you feel sad, happy, and mad. Ive heard the music before but not in person. It was a new feeling and a new experience for me. In the beginning I felt depress. I’d like how ya tried to work with some residence in making beats.”


How are you doing? I hope when you receive this letter it finds you in the best of health. Me, I’m okay, just trying to maintain while I’m here. Anyways, thank you for coming to our program and performing for us. Most of the music your group played left me in a calm & peaceful state of mind. It gave me a chance to rap on different types of beats. It was good to hear how the instruments sounded individually. I’m hoping that you come back again to perform again. So, I hope I see you in the future at a concert.”

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Northeast Family Institute
Dorchester, MA

May, 2002

“Dear Tim

I like the music it made me happy. The way that the three of all played together sounded good. I appreciate the fact that you Janet and Maggie have been playing your instrauments for many years and I like it and it is good that you Maggie and Janet are doing something good for the girls in here.”

“Today was a good day. Janet Tim and Maggie preformed magnificently for us. The music made me feel calm and relaxed and for a moment took my troubles away from mind, body and soul. I appriceated they coming, it uplifted my spirits high off the ground. It’s funny though because I never usually listen to the kind of music that they played but I really enjoyed it because it took me to a state of relaxed tranquility.”

“I really liked the assembly. It was really good. I really liked the keyboard because I have a keyboard at home I play. Furthermore you guys are really talented and very good. Maggie, Janet and Tim you all are great musicians and you inspire other people like myself. Good luck in the future, have fun. Thanks.”

“I Think it was OK I Think They SHould of played a little more. When my peers were Dancing I was Phat.”

“My experience with the mucisians that came here to show us their thalent well me I thought it was a great time of the day we all had fun and also, it was weird that we started to ask questions. They were shocked I thought it was fun if we can get them to come again I will be happy and I think everyone else will too. We had a great time I’m sure they had a great time too. And I know they would love to come back down and show a little more talent. All I know we had fun and I know they did too. And I’ll will always remember that day and their names are Tim, Maggy and Janet they were pretty nice I had a nice time.”

“I like it alot and I learned alot about the cello, flute, and piano. I liked ti especially when Maggie played “Lean On Me” with her piano.”

“My experience with the assembly on May 6, 02 was terrific. I enjoyed every part of the musical ensemble. All of the the insturments were played very proffesional. The music was also very relaxing.”

“I hope and wish that Tim, Janet and Maggy would come back to perform for us again.
Thank U

“I enjoyed the musical ensemble. When I was on the out, I like going to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The music is very relaxing. It free’s your mind. I think it was very memorable. It was interesting to see how some of the residents got up and starting dancing, and enjoying themselves. I felt proud of myself because I had the courage to get up in front of everyone and read my poems. I was very nervous.”

“The Musical Ensemble in my opinion it was good, it made me feel relaxed because it was something that I never heard before. And it is something that I would like to hear again, and I think that the music they played made me forget about all of the bad things and think about the good things. But I also think that each and every time I would hear this type of music would make me feel the same way it did the first time.”

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Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility
South Burlington, VT

July, 2002

To Whom It May Concern:

On July 19, 2002 the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility (CRCF) was fortunate to have the Sarasa Chamber Musical Ensemble perform at our facility.

Everyone in the group was very professional in both their dealings with the staff and the inmates. The performance was well received by the twenty-four inmates who took part.

I am very pleased to recommend the Ensemble and look forward to having them return to our facility.

Brent J. Mott
CRCF Recreation Coordinator

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Inner City Horizons
Roxbury, MA

November, 2001

To Whom It May Concern:

The SARASA musical group appeared at Inner City Horizons on September 17th and November 5th, 2001. Our school and treatment center for DYS teenage boys greatly enjoyed the performances provided by SARASA. This musical group effectively introduced classical music via violins, a viola, a cello, an oboe, an opera singer, and even a harpsichord! SARASA’s very talented musicians also provided interesting commentary in a group setting and talked to students individually. SARASA was most generous in their presentation.

Any school which might be looking for a way to introduce their students to classical music should contact SARASA. Our student population of rappers were ‘enraptured’ by Tim Merton’s marvelous group of musicians!

Laura R. Duggan
Teacher at Inner City Horizons

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