At MOTI’s interactive music and conversation presentation, founder Alina Bloomgarden introduced Music on the Inside. She shared stories about their work bringing music classes with professional musicians into New York’s jails and prisons, and discussed the impact and lessons learned. The program began with a flute solo by Dawud Rahman, who kept his spirit alive through music over 46 years in prison and now has weekly one-on-one music mentorships through MOTI with both a flute and saxophone professional.
Jazz singer and MOTI teacher Antoinette Montague led attendees in a call and response and shared her experience teaching in the prisons with MOTI. She guided attendees in writing their own blues, as she does in the prisons. The program culminated with more live-on-Zoom music by Dawud Rahman, this time on Saxophone with a piano track he created.
Alina Bloomgarden is the founder of Music on the Inside Inc. (MOTI), a nonprofit charitable organization working with professional musicians to bring music education, mentorships and hope to individuals impacted by incarceration. She was a director and producer at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts for over 23 years. Proposing that jazz had a rightful place at the country’s preeminent performing arts center, Alina was the initiating producer of Jazz at Lincoln Center, bringing Wynton Marsalis on as Artistic Advisor. It’s a role he now serves for MOTI which also engages many other distinguished musicians who share empathy and concern for our brothers and sisters impacted by the Criminal Justice. Alina is motivated by the power of music to break down barriers and build immediate connection to our shared humanity, particularly needed by those emerging from the punishing and soul-crushing experience of incarceration.
Shared Charity: Music on the Inside
Sunday Platform is our most important and long-standing community event. These gatherings educate, stimulate personal growth, inspire reflection and action, and strengthen our community. Sunday meetings usually begin with music, followed by greetings and a talk given by a Society Leader, member, or guest. Platforms cover a variety of topics that reflect current events, pressing social issues, and Ethical Culture philosophy. A collection basket is passed and money is shared between the Society and a charity selected for that day. While contributions are always appreciated, Sunday meetings are free and open to the public. Each Sunday meeting is followed by a luncheon and social hour.
To view previous Sunday Platform addresses and interviews, visit the Ethical NYC YouTube channel.