YES has worked with RUACH, a nonprofit, Milwaukee-based Jewish arts and music organization, for the last twelve-plus years, teaming together to provide our students with multiple creative opportunities.
The relationship began with after-school and extracurricular programing, including music and visual arts programming and music lessons from Wisconsin Conservatory of Music faculty and other local instructors. Students studied such instruments as guitar, drums, piano, violin, flute, recorder, clarinet, and saxophone. These music lessons, in tandem with a thriving RUACH visual arts program, involved an estimated two-thirds of the student body at one time.
Over time, as RUACH became more invested in the Greater Jewish and non-Jewish communities in Milwaukee, YES and RUACH began to explore and collaborate on arts activities that would touch more students at once.
Recent efforts include: a boys choir; a girls choir; K4-2nd grade visual arts classes; a boys ukulele ensemble; and boys musical theater.
In recent years, YES has also teamed with RUACH to integrate curricular music and arts programs into the school day, including professional instruction of RUACH's new all-Jewish-music recorder (songflute) method book for 4th grade boys and girls; K4-2nd grade general music classes; drum circles; vocal technique classes; and visual arts residencies.
The end-of-year celebration of YES-RUACH programs, 'Nachas RUACH,' remains a fixture on the calendar, even as the YES-RUACH dynamic has evolved.
YES and RUACH alumnus and film director Yoeli Margolis, now 15, made the following promotional video to illustrate some of RUACH's successes, including those at YES:
YES and RUACH look forward to continuing to discover new ways to enhance our students' learning and growth through music and the arts!