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An Interview with Meron of Vurj Media talking about Philly for Philly and the Music & Mentorship Program

Interview by Deesha Dyer
 

Two weeks ago, I attended an event called Philly for Philly at World Café Live. The event was a fundraiser and showcase to benefit the Music and Mentorship Program in West Philadelphia. There were little girls dancing, singing, playing instruments and performing songs that they composed! That’s fly, right? The program fills the void that the elimination of music programs in schools has left. I sat down with singer/songwriter Meron, who helped produced Philly for Philly, and got a little deeper into why the benefit and the Music and Mentorship program is so important.

GeoClan: Tell me a little bit of history behind Philly for Philly?

Meron: This was the first Philly For Philly event. It was a collaboration between Realize Philadelphia (who had a great arts festival last summer) and us, Vurj Media. Their organization and our company wanted to do an event together that gave back to the wonderful city in which we live and work. As we racked our brains to figure out how a concert can make a difference (without being a cliché benefit that doesn't even efficiently benefit the cause), we ran into the Music & Mentorship program, which is part of Intercultural Family Affairs. We wanted to highlight how great Philadelphia is and we were able to by having a line-up of all Philly artists (including our host Cee Knowledge of Digable Planets), Philly vendors and partners, and mostly Philly based sponsors. Events we do in the future under the Philly For Philly name will probably have the same feel. I'm not a Philly native, but I have to admit that it is an amazing city!

GeoClan: What type of programs or activities do you guys do in the Music & Mentorship Program?

Meron: The Music & Mentorship Program provides music lessons, instruments, and mentorship that many youth would otherwise go without. We chose to work with them because we liked that they're not just providing music education, but also a community in which youth can grow as team-members, leaders, and successful members of society. Their program has so many facets, such as songwriting, music theory, group projects, workshops with professional musicians and entertainment businesspeople. From my perspective, it's not necessarily encouraging kids to grow up and work in music or entertainment, but rather equipping them with tools and skills that are applicable to anything else in life--especially the tool of teachability (I don't know if I made that word up or not).

The Music & Mentorship Program at Intercultural Family Affairs in West Philadelphia (Photo courtesy of www.myspace.com/musicmentorshipprogram.)

GeoClan: Why do you think music is being eliminated from so many school curriculums?

Meron: I think that music is being eliminated from so many school curriculums because of limited resources. In any business, organization, or system, we naturally begin budget cuts with the things that we feel are least important (which is a good management practice), but unfortunately we've made a mistake in this case. Music education is very important, not because everyone should know how to play music, but because the process entails learning history, culture, some mathematics, writing, personal interaction, adaptability, and one is left with the desire to learn and achieve more continually.

GeoClan: How can people get involved or support what you all are doing?

Meron: Well, people can contact the Music & Mentorship Program through Shannon Pelcher at www.ifsinc.org or www.myspace.com/musicmentorshipprogram. Realize Philadelphia is headed by multi-media artist Dejha and musician Josh Machiz, and they can be reached at www.realizephiladelphia.org. And I can be reached at www.vurjmedia.com.

 

 

 

Direct any comments to music@geoclan.com

Meron
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