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Kidznotes Welcomes Shana Tucker as New Executive Director

Shana Tucker, the Kidznotes Executive Director, stands smiling in front of trees.

(DURHAM, NC—October 20, 2020) Kidznotes completes its exhaustive search for a new Executive Director with the selection of Shana Tucker: a renowned cellist, singer-songwriter, and teaching artist who embodies the nonprofit’s mission to change lives and communities through the power of music. In its tenth year providing free instruments and lessons to underprivileged students attending Title I schools, Kidznotes is thrilled to welcome Tucker—a longtime local champion for diversity, equity, inclusion, and transformative arts.

With the selection, Kidznotes gains one of the Triangle’s most inspiring teaching artists and performers. Tucker is a proven leader and advocate whose work with A+ Schools of North Carolina, Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, and Durham Arts Council has prepared her to offer keen insight into the organization’s core program. Tucker is a remarkable talent who has crisscrossed the globe performing her trademarked ChamberSoul. In between a breakout album and lengthy tenure as resident cellist and vocalist for Cirque du Soleil’s KÀ in Las Vegas, Tucker has advocated for future generations of music makers through outreach and engagement efforts with students of all ages. 

Despite not having seen a cellist who looked like her until she reached her twenties, Tucker benefitted from an era when public school music programs were heavily funded, readily available, and robust—and never looked back. Tucker’s eagerness to advance Kidznotes’s philosophy of collaboration, inspiration, and change is evidenced by her quick smiles when discussing the opportunity. “As parents,” she says, “we see the impact music has on a child’s life, and how that transformative power spills out into the community.” She continues, “I’ve witnessed it in all phases of my life in a cycle: as a shy orchestra kid, touring musician, teaching artist, and now, as Executive Director of an organization that centers the power of music to enact change.” At Kidznotes, she is inspired by the opportunity to provide music education to students who need it most. Noting that, “Our work is holding space for future generations to create art in perpetuity, no matter who or what you decide to become professionally. You don’t have to be a musician for a living to be a musician for life.”

Inspired by the “music for social change” ethos of El Sistema—the transformative, Venezuelan arts program that uses free classical music education to promote human opportunity and development for impoverished children—Kidznotes began its first season in September 2010, enrolling sixty kindergarten and first grade students from three elementary schools serving low-income families in East Durham. In the years since, Kidznotes has grown substantially, enrolling hundreds of pre-K-12 students from Title I elementary schools in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. Kidznotes provides full scholarships for each student; multiple hours of orchestral, band, and choral training each week; an instrument of their own; general music lessons; and opportunities throughout the year to excel and perform.

Kidznotes is proud to serve families and support public schools while welcoming its new leader who embodies the organization’s core values of diversity, collaboration, and empowerment. As the world reckons with systemic racism and ways to undo its many pitfalls, Shana Tucker signals a new, purposeful path forward for an organization committed to energizing limitless social change through music.

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