"In a fiscal and social climate that has eviscerated public support for arts education in nearly all New York City public schools that lack the substantial private funding needed to underwrite it, Soul Tigers Marching Band Inc. has stepped into the breach to offer not just music education but life skills development for some of Brooklyn, New York's most underserved youth populations. "
-Kenyatte Hughes -
Soul Tigers is a Brooklyn-based music education and youth development community nonprofit serving low-income communities as well as economically disadvantaged young people throughout the Tristate area. As the organization’s motto states, Soul Tigers is “building minds through music & arts education;” the only requirement for participation is that children come seeking to learn and willing to broaden their horizons.
Originally begun in the late 1970s by Constance McMillan, Soul Tigers Marching Band, Inc. was re-launched in 2002 by Kenyatte L. Hughes, an alumnus of the program and veteran of the United States Marine Corps. With music education as the conduit for teaching discipline and social skills, building students’ confidence, improving their academic achievement, and enriching the community.
Students fortunate enough to be accepted into Soul Tigers develop the skills necessary for thriving in a knowledge economy: critical thinking and problem-solving, effective communication, and collaboration.
The program objectives and attendant outcomes are comprehensive and use music education as the conduit to develop these young people on the cusp of adulthood so that they may reach their personal potential and be assets to the community at large.
· Musicianship and Performance
· Academic Support, Mentoring, and Monitoring
· Character Development
· Leadership Development and Community Engagement
Soul Tigers recognizes that music education, per se, is not a golden ticket out of poverty or even a likely progression to professional success in music. Rather, by broadening students’ experience and instilling the discipline and skill development that musical performance demands, Soul Tigers is able to capture the imaginations of those it serves, thereby providing a point of entry for the other enrichment that the program offers. Notably, the organization seeks to offer academic tutoring, mentoring relationships, and college/post-secondary educational awareness to students, and by extension, to the community at large.