To provide quality music education through the use of native instruments including the charango, marimba, and native percussion, as well as classical violin and viola, and voice, instilling skills, such as focus and discipline, that foster improved academic performance and self-esteem in opportunity youth.


60 students, ages 5 to 16, from Stamford, Norwalk, Danbury, and Bridgeport communities, including one adult class.
10 hours of programming per week.


Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Stamford, our site partners.
The Norwalk Youth Symphony is our symphonic partner for Annual Gala concert featuring our students.


Our program takes place at the Unitarian Universalist Society premises, located at 20 Forest Street, in downtown Stamford. Built in 1820, this historical landmark for residents and visitors has never before been used for a cross-cultural and music education program. this music and culture-based initiative in the midst of rapid gentrification process of Stamford’s downtown and south-end harbor area, this partnership is essential in supporting a more sustainable infrastructure for the arts and making them accessible to the greater community.



Carlos Boltes. Charango, viola
Angelica Durrell. Violin
Maria Luisa Criollo. Singing instructor
Silvia Sforza. Vocal coach


  1. Provide access to music education.
  2. Improve English literacy.
  3. Increase family involvement in education. Improve academic performance.
  4. Foster cultural pride and self-confidence.
  5. Create a unique ensemble integrating native and classical instrumentation.


Over 6,000 audience members in attendance at events throughout Fairfield and New Haven counties.


Tuition free or minimal.
100% of students receive need based scholarships.

Native Instrument Academy
Our Native Instrument Academy teaches basic through advanced music skills and techniques to children ages 6-17. Students may choose to study the violin, viola, guitar, or charango; advanced students may study more than one instrument. Our students participate in twice-weekly small-group instrumental lessons with one of our teaching artists and once-weekly bilingual choir lessons with our choir director. Lessons are 45 minutes, and classes are kept small (average 5:1 student-teacher ratio) to optimize student/teacher interaction. All students perform in an annual large-scale cross-cultural concert as well as in smaller community-oriented outreach concerts, which provide opportunities for them to display their progress and achieve artistic excellence.

INTAKE at the Roxbury School
In the spring of 2017, INTAKE embarked on an 8-week pilot project at the Roxbury School, a Title 1 public elementary school in Stamford. This afterschool program has brought music instruction to 20 4th and 5th grade students, and will be used as a model that can be replicated in more schools (including high schools), so that many more underserved youth may benefit. 

Our Partnerships
INTAKE builds community through partnerships. We have collaborated on projects with the cities of Stamford, Norwalk, and New Haven; the Stamford public school system, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Future 5 of Stamford, Project Music, Stamford Museum and Nature Center, SoundWaters, Band Together, St. Luke’s Steel Band, Mariachi Academy of Connecticut, and the Norwalk Youth Symphony. INTAKE students have performed at outreach events at many local organizations, including the Horizons Academy at the New Canaan Country School, the Boys and Girls Club of Stamford, and the Senior Center of Stamford, some of whose members have joined and contributed to the success of our Multigenerational Community Choir, an initiative that includes the children, parents and grandparents of our Native Instrument Academy students. INTAKE has also joined the United Way of Western Connecticut’s Cradle to Career initiative and is part of its Early Grade Reading Community Action Network (CAN).

 We are fortunate to receive enduring mentoring from our Advisory Board, which is comprised of leading social entrepreneurs who are dedicated to increasing arts opportunities for minority youth, among them Aaron Dworkin, Member of the National Council on the Arts and the first African American Dean of the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance; and Stanford Thompson, Founder and Executive Director of Play On, Philly! We are grateful for renewed funding and support from the State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, the Sphinx Organization, SpreadMusicNow, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.