In March of 2017, we went behind the scenes at High School for Recording Arts to visit with recipients of the Xperitas Global Learners Scholarship. In April of that year, we hosted the United Voices benefit concert in their honor at the HSRA campus in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The evening began with a welcome by Maureen Foss, instructor at HSRA and leader for their Xperitas Community Partnership Program to Entonet, Kenya, this summer. Next, Beth St. John, Interim Executive Director of Xperitas, welcomed all attendees and spoke about Xperitas’ mission, work and vision, and the significance of the students’ upcoming journey.
Shortly thereafter HSRA students, led by Artistic Director David Hurst, then performed their own original music for an audience for the first time, before being joined onstage by the Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir (TCCGC) for several rousing spirituals. After the lively performance, students, parents, faculty and Xperitas team members socialized over a delicious dessert bar prepared that day by HSRA students.
All of the proceeds of the concert will go toward travel costs associated with their experiential learning project in Kenya. The students will stay and work with the Maasai people, who have invited Xperitas to work with them on challenges that are redefining their nomadic and pastoral way of life in the Amboseli community ranches. We hope to hear more about the students’ experiences upon their return home!
We would like to thank TCCGC, who graciously donated a lot of time and effort to this event, and our sponsors Minneapolis Craft Market and Wells Fargo. We appreciate our donors’ support of this transformative learning experience for these incredibly talented students.
About High School for Recording Arts: The mission of HSRA is to provide youth the opportunity to achieve a high school diploma through the exploration and operation of the music business and other creative endeavors. HSRA changes lives and society one student at a time by connecting with at-risk teens through hip hop music and other forms of creative expression. The school operates within and around two professional recording studios, where students develop life skills through relevant, hands-on learning tailored to their individual talents, strengths and passions. Enrollment at HSRA, which began with 15 learners, now has over 200 students, which is the target enrollment. 92% of HSRA students live at or below the poverty level and qualify for free or reduced fee lunches. 30% of students are currently or have recently been homeless.
Want to see HSRA talent in action? Check out their YouTube channel!
Want to know more about how the students felt about their trip to Kenya? Visit the Global Citizens Blog to read their story here.