Lisa Badal grew up in Westminster in a musical family. By age 8 she was playing both the piano and the violin. She played both instruments competitively throughout her childhood.
When she went to school at Brigham Young University he majored in Music Education with the violin as her main instrument.
To her shock, when she returned to Colorado about 7 years ago she discovered there were no orchestra programs in the 27J school district. She turned to her husband and said, “One day I will change that.”
Several years passed, and I started accompanying the choirs at Prairie View High School. Through my involvement with the school system, I learned that many teachers had tried to start orchestra programs, but when the middle school would start something, it would fizzle out because there were no orchestras in the high school, so why even bother? Then the high school tried to start something, but there was no feeder program in the middle school, so why bother? It became clear that we just had to start somewhere. Then 27J announced that we would be switching to a 4-day schedule and that students would have Monday off. I thought, “This is our opportunity. There will be a whole district full of kids with nothing to do on Mondays, and I can teach them to play string instruments.”Lisa Badal
That effort led to this unique interview with the local CBS affiliate:
My goal was to get at least 10 kids in the program. That first semester I had 27! I was floored. This semester I have split the kids into an Intermediate and a Beginning Orchestra, and we have 40 kids in the program. My hope is that we can keep growing year by year, until there are enough kids that play string instruments that no one can continue to say, “Why bother?”Lisa Badal
The Orchestra Academy has been a ton of work, but it has been extremely rewarding to create something out of nothing. And I have been so encouraged by the kids’ enthusiasm for music and excitement for learning these instruments. Our biggest setbacks are that we can only offer orchestra to kids who can get a ride on Mondays (not an easy feat), or afford the fee/rent their own instrument. I’m hoping to find solutions to these problems in the future.
You can learn more about Lisa’s program at orchestraacademy.co