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Lorrie Murray

Walk past the San Francisco Bay Area’s Maya Lin School, and you might hear a choir of third-graders singing three-part harmonies, a jubilant roomful of budding percussionists, or the tentative strains of a 9-year-old taking her first violin lesson. For Lorrie Murray, AS’91, founder of the Alameda Music Project—a fun and creative approach to music education for school-age children—this rich and sometimes dissonant sound scape makes all of the administrative difficulties worthwhile.

The project targets those who need it most, whether it’s kids struggling to learn English or simply seeking a safe space. “In the early stages of the program, a student asked me why all of the ‘bad kids’ were there. That’s exactly what I’m setting out to change,” says Murray.

Fundraising for the tuition-free after-school project, which runs four days a week, can be all-consuming, but Murray remains undeterred. “If I waited for all the money to come, I’d be waiting forever. Last year, the principal asked if we could start a choir, and I just jumped in.”