Watching the beauty unfold (VIDEO)

Ira Glass speaks on the process of creating something beautiful. There are stages where things are not as lovely as you thought they would be, and the product you see doesn’t quite match your initial vision. But, as Ira suggests, you work even harder and pump out an enormous body of work until you find a certain level of satisfaction with what you’ve created. I know this process well. It is indeed a struggle. I’ve experienced it throughout my entire life on some level, as a student, a budding pianist, a choir director and as the Director of AMPlify, the choral program of the Atlanta Music Project.

2015 AMPlify Black History Month Concert

2015 AMPlify Black History Month Concert. Photo by Anthony Alston Jr.

When AMPlify@Ivy Preparatory Academy began 3 years ago, James Dekle and I were a team of two working to realize a dream. We were each other’s accompanists, mentors and sounding board. Our students were wonderful and challenged us to new levels of greatness each day.  Still, I wanted more for our young people. Today, I can say with certainty that what AMPlify produced this year truly matched the vision in my head.

Aisha Bowden and James Dekle at the AMPlify 2015 Spring Concert.

Aisha Bowden and James Dekle at the AMPlify 2015 Spring Concert. Photo by Anthony Alston Jr.

There were overall successes this past school year: our staff grew to 7 dynamic artist-educators. Our ensembles performed their most challenging repertoire to date in some of Atlanta’s finest venues (Spivey Hall,  the Rialto Theatre, etc.). But the biggest triumph was found in AMPlify’s individual stories of success.

The video below is currently my pride and joy – the AMPlify year in review! Watch and share:

Shelby Hall, a first year student in AMPlify, became the first voice student accepted into the AMP Academy, a program of advanced, private musical training reserved for our most talented and dedicated students. It is the only AMP program that requires an audition.

Shelby makes her solo debut at the 2015 AMP Academy Winter Recital.

Shelby makes her solo debut at the 2015 AMP Academy Winter Recital. Photo by Anthony Alston Jr.

Mikayla Dunn, a second year student with AMPlify, overcame her shyness to become one of our lead soloists.

Mikayla smiles during a performance at the Atlanta Film Festival

Mikayla smiles during a performance at the Atlanta Film Festival. Photo by Anthony Alston Jr.

Sedreck Whitaker, a first year student in AMPlify, went from a middle schooler struggling to find his place amongst peers to a group leader in the Young Men’s Ensemble. He also became a star soloist this year.

Sedreck sings lead in "One Day" with the AMPlify@IPA Combined Choirs.

Sedreck sings lead in “One Day” with the AMPlify@IPA Combined Choirs. Photo by Anthony Alston Jr.

These are just a few of the many stories that inspire me to work even harder for our young people each day. And note, this is just the beginning! Follow my blog as we launch the AMPlify Flagship at The Kindezi School’s West Lake Campus this fall.

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