“Music With A Message”
Reported, shot and produced by Carl V. Lewis.
Bervine Smith, co-founder of Renaissance Education, Music and Sports program in the Morisannia section of the Bronx, dedicates his spare time to teaching a group of local youth the power of song through his “Music With a Message” program. For 12 weeks each summer, students from 21 different schools across the Bronx, Harlem and Queens gather together for the program, learning and rehearsing original material written by Bervine. After they’ve polished their set list, they travel to various schools across all five boroughs to perform.
“If we weren’t here doing this service, that means 1300 young people wouldn’t be exposed to music,” said Bervine, who coaches the students at the Bronx studio. “I believe that music has a message to it . . . it’s way more powerful than getting a check, it’s way more powerful than you getting off the stage and having three or four girls waiting on you. It takes a while for them to get that concept, but when they embrace it and get it, they run with it.”
“To me, [Music With a Message] has brought growth and change to my life,” one 14-year-old participant in the program said. “It took me off the streets and put me in a place where I don’t have to be in trouble. It’s like a lifesaver.”