Soundscapes to Perform at Kennedy Center

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Students from Newport News will perform at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. on April 16. The student musicians are part of Soundscapes, one of a select group of music education programs invited to perform together at the 2018 Kennedy Center Arts Summit.

“Every musician dreams of performing at the Kennedy Center,” said Program Director and Co-Founder Rey Ramirez, “and we are thrilled to be able to take 12 of our students in April.” At the Arts Summit, students from Soundscapes will spend their day rehearsing with student musicians from three other programs. At 5 p.m., they will perform together on a Kennedy Center stage as the grand finale for the summit.

“In first grade, I’d get in trouble every single day. … So that’s when my dad put me in Soundscapes,” shared sixth grader Madison Davis, who will be playing her clarinet. “So then I had to come here, and play my instrument after school every single day. And I liked my instrument, so it kept me out of trouble and stuff … so then my life started to get good, and now I’m in sixth grade, and I’m in the Peninsula Youth Orchestra and in the band,” she explained. “Now I’m going to be going to the Kennedy Center, and it’s going to be fun! … I just want to do a good performance, don’t let anybody down, and play good, and have a good experience.”

Soundscapes is a nonprofit organization that provides free after school and summer music education programs for disadvantaged Newport News youth. Soundscapes uses intensive group music study and frequent ensemble performance as tools to instill self-esteem, concentration, curiosity, and determination in some of the community’s most at-risk children. Soundscapes is a part of the international El Sistema movement, and will perform at the Arts Summit with other El Sistema-inspired programs.

For more information on the planned trip to the Kennedy Center, or to find out more about Soundscapes, contact Rey Ramirez at 757-310-9734 or visit

Video of Soundscapes students talking about the trip:

Soundscapes is a nonprofit, educational, intervention organization that instills transformative life skills in underserved children in our community, using intensive music study and frequent ensemble performances. Over time, Soundscapes students show positive social behaviors, better school attendance and a drop in disciplinary actions. As they advance, they demonstrate civic leadership skills, improve test scores, and attain confidence from success in multiple endeavors. Soundscapes launched in 2009 and now serves more than 400 area youth in grades 1-9 in five public schools. The largest portion of the program takes place for two hours after school every weekday at Carver Elementary School, a Title I school where 82% of students live in poverty. Soundscapes is supported in part by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Download press release here.