Trenton Music Makers to Take Up Residence at Union Baptist Church

I Am Trenton Community Foundation
to Fund Family Dinner Series

TRENTON, NJ — Trenton Music Makers and Union Baptist Church announced today that on September 30, the thriving youth orchestra will take up residence on the church’s Pennington Avenue site.

The Trenton Music Makers orchestral music and social development program is in its fifth year, and has grown to include students in the second grade through high school. Formerly on site in four Trenton schools, it will consolidate the orchestra at Union Baptist, and will transport students from throughout the Capital City for rehearsals, lessons, and leadership development, four days per week.

Union Baptist Church is well respected in the City for its commitment to community activism and youth development. This partnership with Trenton Music Makers is the newest addition to its diverse history of community partnerships and support of charitable and non-profit organizations, both local and regional.

To sweeten the mix, Trenton Music Makers has been awarded a grant from the I Am Trenton Community Foundation that will fulfill its goal to host a series of “First Thursday” dinners for the families of young people in the program, sourced from local restaurants. Allowing the families to share a meal and enjoy each other’s multi-generational company, the dinners will also provide information on such topics as supporting children in their practice at home (even if parents don’t play), census participation and health resources, and mini-performances by the young players.

“The leadership of Union Baptist Church has provided us with an extraordinary welcome,” says Trenton Music Makers Board Chairman Julian Grant. “The commitment of its faith community to young people’s growth, and our shared vision of their role as an asset to their city, fills us with anticipation for what we will accomplish together this year.” Union Baptist Church’s Pastor, Rev. Simeon Spencer, shares Mr. Grant’s enthusiasm: “Music is one of God’s most precious gifts. We are tremendously blessed and excited to be a part of this effort to develop the talents of and provide opportunities for young people to share that gift with the larger community.”

Trenton Music Makers receives significant funding from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Carnegie Hall PlayUSA, the George H. and Estelle M. Sands Foundation, El Sistema USA, the Frank & Lydia Bergen Foundation, and many generous individuals and family foundations in the region.

Participation in the Trenton Music Makers Orchestra is available to students in grades 2-12 at no charge, but with a deep time commitment. Orchestra rehearsals, studio-based sectionals, and string instruments are provided to its students, along with leadership training and performance opportunities that highlight their natural role as assets to their community. Registration for new students begins September 15, and pre-registration is available at



Union Baptist Church is a historic congregation in New Jersey’s capital city with over 130 years of unbroken fellowship and worship. While rooted in a rich heritage of the African-American Baptist tradition, the congregation is open and diverse. Its community development corporation has been instrumental in efforts to build housing, open neighborhood business and institute a range of wellness programs for the community. The congregation embraces and celebrates the best of both contemporary and traditional expressions of praise and worship, and are not afraid to “make a joyful noise” even as we reinforce a commitment to ongoing Christian education and sober spiritual reflection.

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The Trenton Music Makers Orchestra was launched in 2015, in space provided by the Trenton Public Schools, and with key funding from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the City of Trenton.  Trenton Music Makers Orchestra is now beginning its fifth year; students learn violin, viola, cello and bass in studio classes, while building peer leadership skills and learning the value of a shared struggle. We are part of the global El Sistema movement, begun in Venezuela in the 1970’s, which uses music and ensembles as a platform for social development. Research conducted by longer-established El Sistema-inspired programs has shown conclusively that its children demonstrate better school attendance, raise their grades, and show improved executive function (self-regulation, selective attention, and the ability to shift mental tasks).

Upholding and strengthening the promising elements already present in children’s lives -- the network of caring parents and teachers, and the desire to develop skills that make them an asset to their school communities – we add proven curricula, access to musical instruments, opportunities to travel outside of their local environment, and gratis instruction by professional teaching artists.

For more information, visit,
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and on Twitter @TTNMusicMakers.