Making a difference through music in Stockton, California

In the summer of 2012, a Mercy Housing volunteer, who is a 7th grade teacher, had the idea of teaching electric violin lessons at Gleason Park Apartments in Stockton, Calif. The Mercy Housing Resident Services staff knew it would offer the young residents at the property an exciting opportunity to learn something new and engage with the community through music, so they formed the Gleason Park Electric Violin Ensemble.

The ensemble meets three times a week for one hour at the property and the 10 program participants range from second graders to eighth graders. The instructors are Dr. Jan Weil and Dr. Darwin Sarnoff. In February, the students participating in the program gave their first concert at the property. The concert was even attended by the state assembly representative and councilperson.

Since their first concert, the Gleason Park Electric Violin Ensemble has been performing all around the area.

“In the summer, we had the opportunity to go out and play at different locations and events: San Joaquin County Fair, Kiwanis meeting, twice at an Assisted Living Senior Facility and at a local baseball team game,” said Erica Plumb, Resident Services Coordinator at Gleason Park Apartments. “It was wonderful summer of getting the ensemble out in the community!”

The Gleason Park Electric Violin ensemble is supported by the United Way and St. Joseph’s Medical Center.