It is hard to imagine that the cozy cluster of rooms tucked just inside the front entrance of Glad Tidings Church on 1280 Webster St. in San Francisco’s Western Addition has 350 art and music students who attend throughout the week.
In just five years, the Northern California Music & Art Culture Center — NCMACC — has already outgrown its current location, since moving from an office suite in the Fillmore Center, where it began.
Founded by Executive Director Young Sook Kim almost 20 years ago, NCMACC was established as a 501(c) nonprofit to provide music, art, and cultural experience to underprivileged children.
Today, NCMACC offers a variety of art, music, and culture-based programs to a wide demographic audience of children in the Western Addition and Richmond districts, as well as in the greater San Francisco area — and both the number of programs and number of students continue to grow.
“We need a bigger facility to accommodate all of the students,” explained Jiyon Son, NCMACC program director. “There are other students who are on the waiting list, but because of this limitation of the facility, we can’t really accept those students. Constantly we see inquiries, and we have a limited number of lesson rooms, so we can accommodate no more than four classes per day.”
NCMACC’s programs include the Studio and Chamber Music program; the Webster Music and Art Day Camp; and the Western Addition and Richmond Education, Arts, Culture Helping to support Open minds, Understanding, and Togetherness program — called WREACHOUT.
The Studio Program offers individualized and group instruction courses in voice, composition, drawing, painting, crafting, and a variety of musical instruments — piano, flute, violin, guitar, drum, cello, clarinet, saxophone, oboe, and trumpet.
“The studio program is more for the serious musicians. About half of our students come from musical backgrounds and families,” Son reflected.
The chamber music program is an ensemble of young performers with the mission of improving abilities in classical music. Young musicians meet weekly and form an ensemble consisting of instruments such as violin, viola, cello, bass, and flute. Students may earn partial or full scholarships based upon their audition results.
“The kids take part in recitals. They learn how to stand in front of a crowd, how to perform, how to present themselves — and I think that’s very valuable knowledge for your adult life,” NCMACC marketing associate Ursula Benesch stated.
The Webster Music and Art Day Camp — NCMACC’s 2-week summer camp — serves as an intensive, introductory course to what the school has to offer in the way of piano, music appreciation, singing and dancing, painting, chamber music, and crafts.
“After the summer intensive 2-week program, my daughter began playing the songs she had learned on the piano all on her own. She developed self-discipline and self-motivation,” observed Anne Matsuno, NCMACC office manager and WREACHOUT coordinator. Matsuno’s three children are enrolled in the school.
“The summer camp is a great introduction to first-time students. It allows them to sample a lot of the classes. This was the first year we were not able to have the camp, due to lack of funding,” claimed Son.
WREACHOUT offers piano, arts and crafts, teakwood, and chorus. Created for the purpose of serving underprivileged children in the community, students are only asked to pay the $80 registration fee. The rest of the course costs are covered by NCMACC.
NCMACC receives its funding through contributions, government and foundation grants, program service revenue, and fundraising. Group and individual donors — NCMACC board members, students, friends, and parents — are credited each year in the NCMACC newsletter.
On November 3, NCMACC will be hosting “Home Sweet Home,” its family fundraising dinner. The event will feature an opening ceremony, cultural exhibition, authentic Korean food tasting and demonstration and dinner. The organization is raising money for a new location.
“We are still searching for a facility, but would like to stay in the Western Addition or Richmond district,” stated Son. “We have outgrown this space. There are 350 children coming here each week. Children love to move around!”
“We still want to maintain our core values, and keep it as personalized as possible,” added Matsuno. “There’s a real sense of family and community here. There are a lot of siblings and families. You meet so many different kinds of people. We all have a common bond through the children and music and art.”
When asked about the importance of music and art education for children, Benesch — who is originally from Germany — replied with a knowing smile.
“Seeing that music and art education, it doesn’t matter which country it is, the children enjoy it in their own special way; it doesn’t depend if it is in the U.S. or Germany. I think it’s a very good thing to have children develop this love for music, because I’m convinced it’s a lifelong love and you will never lose it.”
For more information about NCMACC, please visit www.ncmacc.org