About the program
The Salvation Army has a long history of music. The founder recognized the importance of music within the organization as early as 1879. In observance of the deep roots of Salvation Army music, The Kroc Center chose to dedicate itself to the education of children in the Hampton Roads area before the building even opened its doors. In partnership with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, The Kroc Center developed the HeartStrings Program. The program is open to any child in grades 1-6 who would like to learn music. With the help of Norfolk Public Schools and Virginia Beach City Public Schools music departments, Kroc Center administrators chose to target Title 1 schools for enrollment due to the overwhelming evidence that music education positively influences the lives of children socially, emotionally, and educationally.
The program began in Fall 2014 using violins only. Since that initial year, brass instruments have been added to the program. Until Fall of 2020 the enrolled students would receive homework assistance when they arrived to the facility, followed by a hot meal provided by the USDA’s Foodbank Program, then three days per week students received an hour of music instruction provided by licensed music educators and college student music majors. The Virginia Symphony Orchestra provided small group or private instruction once a month.