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Bowing in the right direction: Hiland Mountain Correctional Center women's string orchestra programme

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The Hiland Mountain Correctional Center, a 400-bed facility for multi-level adult female offenders in Eagle River, Alaska, offers a unique educational programme to its prisoners: an orchestra. Founded in 2003, by volunteer Pati Crofut, orchestra membership grew from eight to 22 female offenders between 2003 and 2009. Crofut has devoted her time and energy to the group and helped initiate the ensemble along with a non-profit organization to promote the programme, Arts on the Edge. Through the efforts of Crofut, the prison and the hired conductors, the all-female orchestra performs twice a year in the facility and the experiences provide opportunities for the inmates to appreciate music. Primary source data included interviews with Pati Crofut and Gabrielle Willis, one of the orchestra conductors. This article offers suggestions for how this programme may guide future community music programmes and be a model for similar programmes in progress.
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Keywords: Alaska; Arts on the Edge; Hiland Mountain Correctional Center; orchestra; prison; women

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Iowa.

Publication date: 2010-03-01

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