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BAND Against Bullying

BAND Against Bullying

 

When BAND Against Bullying contacted ECMC #84 Music Teacher Elise Alaimo this past March, the pandemic lockdown had just started. A few weeks before, Ms. Alaimo had the extraordinary experience of a student writing a song spontaneously. Luckily, and like the great teacher she is, Ms. Alaimo documented it on her cell phone. The video will premier in a BAND Against Bullying event October 20 at bandagainstbullying.org. Join in on YouTube and cheer our girl on!

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The BAND Against Bullying Foundation through M&T Bank asked WNEDTV to help Ms. Alaimo write a script and edit her cell phone footage. Then her daughter, Ana Vafai, the Orchestral Strings teacher at Buffalo Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts (BAVPA) helped her to create and play the accompaniment arrangement. “It was great to work together on it, and I think it could be a win/win for our students at 84 to collaborate with students at BAVPA in the future. I’m really grateful it all came together so well, and the students are continuing to write. That’s the gold we look for as educators! The amazing thing is there are so many stories like that coming out of School 84, which is a truly joyful place.”

In over 40 years of teaching, Ms. Alaimo explains that she was always looking for underserved groups who were in need of the restorative gifts of music. “In the 90’s I developed and actualized for 4 years a multi-arts early childhood creativity program in various public and private schools, then co-founded City Strings all-Buffalo Youth Orchestra in response to instrumental cuts. These effectively got my own children started on their music development – including my daughter who now teaches orchestra at BAVPA!”

Looking back, Ms. Alaimo says, “For my refugee students in a time of dwindling instrumental music opportunities, I co-founded Buffalo String Works (BSW) https://www.buffalostringworks.org/leadership using my access to the refugee community from my former position at International School #45. BSW is now in its 6th year, funded by Carnegie Hall, my friends at the Baird Foundation, and an ever-growing network of supporters, providing instruments and after school lessons for over 60 refugee families. But it wasn’t until starting at #84 that I found my true calling: teaching music to exceptional learners with developmental differences. My goal there is to help less verbal students find their voices through music. It’s incredibly enjoyable to be there doing that work, even virtually.”