Detroit is the heart of music in Michigan, but many schools do not have an arts program for their students. To address this issue, Damien Crutcher created Crescendo, a program where kids can fully immerse themselves in the arts with the support of their local community.“I was born and raised in Detroit and I saw a need for kids to participate in the arts. Most of the schools in this neighborhood in Detroit don’t have Orchestra, choir, art, gym and some of them don’t even have a recess for the kids.”Crescendo has helped kids from ages 5 to 18 reach success since its founding in 2013. In this program, every child takes dance, choir, and learns how to play an instrument. Food is also provided at every meeting.
Damien Crutcher is a native Detroiter and a graduate of Cass Technical High School. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Michigan State University, and a Master’s in Conducting from The University of Michigan.
After graduating from The University of Michigan, Damien served as Director of Bands and Orchestra at Southfield-Lathrup High School. Under his direction, the Southfield-Lathrup ensembles, including the Lathrup Symphony Band have performed in San Francisco, Chicago, the Bahamas, the White House, and Carnegie Hall. Many of his students from Southfield Lathrup are currently professional musicians, music teachers, and artists across the country.
He is currently the co-founder and CEO of Crescendo Detroit. Crescendo Detroit is a nonprofit whose mission is to transform the lives of school-age children, ages 5-18, in Detroit, by engaging kids in intense instrumental music, vocal music and dance programs that promote artistic excellence and character building. It is the goal of Crescendo Detroit to create a neighborhood to college pipeline using the arts.
Part of achieving success for this program was making sure the children had positive role models who looked like them. He emphasizes that seeing successful people who can relate to children in Detroit can help.
“I wanted the kids to make sure that not only did they have really good teachers, but they had African American teachers. Because they got to see people who look like them – conductors, singers, dancers – the kids to see excellence before their eyes.”
As the new year is approaching, Crescendo is looking to expand as more children are joining the program. If you are interested in Crescendo, you can email Damien Crutcher at firstname.lastname@example.org