MW! Sings the National Anthem

On halloween night, 10/31, 2014 MusicWorks students sang the Star Spangled Banner for a cold and wet crowd at Asheville High School. Students were treated to the AHS Band's pre-game ritual as well.

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Pianist Alexander Schwarzkopf visits MW!

First Baptist Church of Asheville

MW! students performed works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Georges Bizet along with members of the Asheville Symphony in our first-ever performance. Internationally known pianist Alexander Schwarzkopf performed alongside MW! students in a rousing rendition of Mozart's variation on the theme "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."

This perfomance was a partnership with the Academy of the Arts at First Baptist Church of Asheville and sponsored by Robert and Carol Deutsch of Asheville.


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Asheville music teachers receive national recognition
(Photo: Citizen-Times File Photo)

(Photo: Citizen-Times File Photo)

Julie Ball, 2:38 p.m. EDT April 17, 2015

ASHEVILLE – Two Asheville music teachers will be recognized with the Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award at a symposium this summer.
Melody McGarrahan and Emily Talley work with students at Hall Fletcher Elementary’s MusicWorks! program. They have been invited to attend a symposium on music in the schools at Yale University in June.
They are among teachers from across the nation who are involved in programs that partner with professional music organizations. Teachers from 38 programs in 19 states were invited to take part in the symposium and will be recognized.
“It’s obviously a huge honor,” Talley said.
Talley is the assistant band director at Asheville High. She also works with students at Hall Fletcher after school.
McGarrahan is the site coordinator for the MusicWorks! Program. She is also the music teacher at Hall Fletcher.
The free afterschool program is a partnership between the Asheville Symphony, the Leever Foundation and the school.
The foundation provided $610,000 to fully fund the program for three years. The program began last summer, working mainly with kindergarten and first graders. Next year, it will include second graders.
“We have a few older students in it and they act as mentors, but predominantly, it’s kindergarten and first graders,” McGarrahan said.
Students get academic support and a snack after school, and then they get an hour and a half of music lessons.
McGarrahan said she is looking forward to the summer symposium.
“There’s going to be guest speakers from all over the country because this is a national meeting place,” she said. “There will be music teachers that I get to work with and learn from.”
Talley hopes to learn more about ways schools can expose students to music before they reach middle school.
“I think for us it’s a huge opportunity to kind of expand what we’re doing with MusicWorks! Not only that, but also to expand what we’re doing throughout our school system at Asheville High School and in connection with the other elementary schools and the middle school,” she said.


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Two WNC Teachers Named Distinguished Music Educators

By David Hurand

Two area public school teachers have been named Distinguished Music Educators by Yale University.  Melody McGarrhan and Emily Talley work with students at Hall Fletcher Elementary. Talley is also  an assistant band leader at Asheville High. Thirty five programs from nineteen states were recognized by the Ivy League University.   The two teachers will travel to New Haven, Connecticut for  the symposium at Yale in early June.  The teachers spoke with David Hurand.

Melody McGarrhan and Emily Talley of Music Works program in Asheville named Distinguished Educators by Yale University. 

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Symphonettes, MusicWorks! introduce children to music - CITIZEN-TIMES.COM

Symphonettes, MusicWorks! introduce children to music

Nicole Broeffle, OPINION 1:26 p.m. EDT March 20, 2015

symphonette nicole broeffle

(Photo: Special to the Citizen-Times)

Would you be able to distinguish a cello from other string instruments by listening to just four small clues? Because a group of 30 kindergarten and first-graders sure can.

The Asheville Symphonettes is excited to take part in MusicWorks!, an El Sistema-inspired program of the Asheville symphony. The program was founded in Venezuela, the birthplace of many talented musicians. A similar program has been developed in our area with the goal of introducing more young children to music. A $600,000 grant, funded by Leever Foundation, was given to Asheville's MusicWorks! program, offered after school at Hall Fletcher Elementary. The program proudly supports music education as a tool to transform and empower.

Many of the lessons taught in Musicworks! can be translated to teach life skills as well.

As a member of the Asheville Symphonettes, and a young musician myself, I am passionate about this after-school program. I am amazed at the rhythmic vocabulary that the 5- and 6-year-olds obtain. As a group of high school girls, we use our energy to tutor the youngsters with their homework before they begin their music lessons.

After homework is completed, we move on to further advance the students' music abilities. The children break up into three different groups, where they receive high-quality instruction from professional music educators. The patience these teachers and artists exemplify is remarkable. Rhythm and volume is demonstrated on bucket drums. I was blown away that the group of children remained in unison and followed a certain beat. Also just as astonishing, they reach a crescendo on their instructor's orders. Then, they bring their volume down from forte to a pianissimo with decrescendo. Of course, groups of tiny musicians were cognizant of the musical terms used in their performance. Then they move to a rhythm class where they work on timing and learn different beats. The last group works hands on with the violin itself. While I was there, we used cardboard violins as stand-ins for the real thing so that when the time comes, the children know how to treat their instruments with care.

We are so privileged to have an opportunity to collaboratively work with such a unique program. With our 30 members, the Symphonettes too is expanding awareness of classical music among young people as well as raising money for the symphony and MusicWorks! During our lock-in last month, we raised $3,800. I feel that MusicWorks! is not only beneficial to the students, but also everyone in the community. Youngsters from Hall Fletcher's MusicWorks! have performed at the First Baptist Church, Pisgah View Apartments, an Asheville High football game, the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, and the Covenant Presbyterian Church. We are looking forward to seeing the students grow and are eager to deepen our relations with the young musicians.

Nicole Broeffle is a cellist in the Roberson High School orchestra. The Asheville Symphonettes is a club open to all high school girls in Buncombe County. For more information about the Symphonettes, email Broeffle at or club supervisor Marilyn Brown at

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