Groton Hill proudly takes our nonprofit mission – to share the transformative power of music – out into the community and into under-resourced school districts. Our thriving partnerships with public schools in Fitchburg, Lawrence, Lowell, and Clinton provide band, string, and percussion programs to students who might not otherwise have the chance to learn to play. Our after-school program at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, and Gardner features year-round drumming and ukulele classes, and our partnership with Littleton Academy brings music therapy to children who have experienced severe trauma. Under the direction of Laura Altenor, our Community Engagement & Summer Programs Manager, Groton Hill currently offers 13 active programs with 32 classes serving over 1000 students.
Public School & Community Partnerships
Lowell Public Schools
Our exciting work in Lowell is a part of their Afternoons in the Arts (AITA), a free after-school enrichment program for Lowell Public School students in grades 5 – 8. Groton Hill faculty offer in-school world drumming instruction and after-school band and string orchestra lessons and ensembles. Dr. David Garcia leads the Lowell HS Afterschool Band, Dr. Derek Voight leads the Lowell HS Afterschool String Orchestra, and the World Drumming Djembe Class is led by Derek Hayden at Sullivan Middle School.
“Teaching in Afternoon in the Arts has been nothing but phenomenal. I meet with this group of students twice a week and it’s been the thrill of a lifetime. The kids come in not knowing how to hold an instrument to actually playing Beethoven and concert marches. They have a great attitude and they are always eager to learn.”
— Dr. David M. Garcia, band instructor
Fitchburg Public Schools
In response to their need for a school band program, we began partnering with the McKay Arts Academy in Fitchburg in 2017 to provide free instrument and band instruction to students in grades 5 – 7 each week during the school day. In 2019, we began serving the two other Fitchburg middle schools (Memorial and Longsjo) with weekly lessons to their violin students. By 2021, the success of the program allowed for expanded funding for a full-time school music teacher to take over the program, and in 2022, we partnered with Fitchburg High School to establish a new strings program, which has allowed students to continue the string instruction and ensemble playing they began in middle school.
Groton Hill instructor Peter Hughes conducts Violin Group Classes at both the Longsjo and Memorial Middle Schools. Our newest Fitchburg initiative, the Orchestra Strings Afterschool Program, is led by Groton Hill ensemble conductor Ken Culver.
Lawrence Public Schools
Since 2018 our partnership with Lawrence High School music teachers has accommodated their specific needs, providing band sectionals in woodwinds and brass to raise student proficiency and prepare for concerts. We have also offered vocal coaching and music production for Guillmette Middle School’s musical theater program, weekly music production and bucket drumming classes, plus remote beat-making and electronic music classes (during the COVID pandemic).
In the current program, Groton Hill instructor Derek Hayden leads Percussion Sectionals in Drumline and Concert Band.
Clinton Public Schools
We have provided professional instruction to the percussion, brass, and woodwind sections of the Clinton High School band since 2019 in preparation for their spring concert, and added weekly instruction to Clinton Middle School students in 2022.
Groton Hill instructor Alexei Doohovskoy conducts Brass Sectionals at Clinton Middle School and High School.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Fitchburg and Leominster, and Gardner
Since 2019, we have provided year-round ukulele classes for approximately 30 kids and teens per year at the clubs, where they strengthen their music offerings as a part of their STEAM curriculum. The ukulele lends itself beautifully to an introduction to music, because the instruments are inexpensive and portable, easy to learn, and fun to play in groups. In 2021, we introduced bucket drumming and added classes at the Gardner BGC.
Today, the program features Groton Hill instructors Thomas Bilodeau (Ukulele Group Classes) and Josh Weinburg (Bucket Drumming Group Class).
Our partnership programs at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fitchburg, Leominster, and Gardner are made possible through the generous support of the following Local Cultural Councils, funded by Massachusetts Cultural Council: Fitchburg, Gardner, and Leominster.
Littleton Academy is a therapeutic residential school that provides comprehensive clinical treatment and education to latency age children (ages 6-12) who have a history of complex trauma and significant behavioral/mental health issues and learning difficulties. In one of our newest programs, Groton Hill instructor Shannon Laine offers on-site adaptive music lessons.