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  • Jada John-Ali

About our parent organization

Updated: Nov 5, 2021

Northern Showstyle Band Coalition is a subsidiary of Big Apple Leadership Academy for the Arts, Inc., otherwise known as BALAA (pronounced BALL-UH). BALAA has been bringing arts exploration to underserved youth in Brooklyn, NY for over two years. The organization has seven major programs under which it executes all activities: BALAA Beauties, BALAA Brawns, BALAA Legacy, BALAA Performing Arts, The Empire Marching Elite (TEME), BALAA Summer Enrichment and BALAA After School Program.


BALAA Beauties is our all-girls program for young ladies ages 5 to 18. This is an empowerment program that not only exposes the girls to various forms of the arts, but offers character development, leadership training, and academic support. Our work included our Home Ec 101 series where the girls learned to sew, healthy cooking and baking, quilting, cross stich, pottery, crafts and t-shirt making, and etiquette, just to name a few.


BALAA Brawns is our male mentor program open to young men ages 9 to 18. Our mentor collective is composed of 25 men across the states who have committed to serving as examples of leadership and sound character, and who contributes to our mentor “toolbox” by offering their expertise in their fields. Our mentor tools include fitness, carpentry, tourism, STEM, communications, photography, television and radio. BALAA Brawns work included a Chat N’ Chew open floor discussion and free writing workshop, a historical walking tour of Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn, and a series of virtual workshops that paired mentees with mentors based on program goals and objectives, and mentee field of interest.


BALAA Legacy is our adult program created for community members ages 18+. The program was created on the notion that healthy adults raise healthy children, and offers programming to promote physical, mental and financial health and wellness. Programming included Fitness Fridays which offered a variety of fitness classes including aerobics, Zumba, Socacise, self-defense, and a heels dancing class. We’ve offered free mammograms in partnership with Project Renewal, credit education workshops, and participated in Active Aging Week at Restoration Plaza, engaging seniors in the community in activities such as modified hopscotch, hula hoops, jump rope and dancing.


BALAA Performing Arts houses all of our performing arts programming except The Empire Marching Elite. This includes our jazz band, step team, drama and theater club and self defense program. Performing arts programs came to life during the pandemic and has offered an outlet to families struggling to find resources and safe activities for their young people, and extended into our Summer Enrichment Program where campers not only learned, but performed in front of a live audience at the end of the 6-week program.


The Empire Marching Elite (TEME) is our traditional HBCU style marching band that works to build band culture in New York City, and create opportunities for young people to prepare and audition for marching band scholarships to HBCUs. Our work included virtual recruitment presentations with various HBCUs including Delaware State University, Virginia State University, Clark Atlanta University, and South Carolina Central University. Our performance history is extensive, but it is worth highlighting some of our major performances which included a virtual fundraiser for the Biden/Harris campaign sponsored by Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman and NYS Black Women for Biden/Harris, the Activate the Mural campaign on the BLM mural at Restoration Plaza, the restorative block party hosted by Assembly Member Stefani Zinerman, Battle of the Bands hosted by Council Member Robert Cornegy, Haitian Flag Day celebration hosted by Life Hope Center and Council Member Farah Louis, Juneteenth celebration hosted in Domino Park, and the Crew Count block activations which included special guests actor Michael K. Williams, Hot 97 DJ Shani Kulture, DJ Fat Man Scoop, and the candidates for mayor, comptroller, and public advocate.


In summer 2021 we piloted our first Summer Enrichment Program. This 6-week program provided instruction in instrumental music for both horns and percussion, music theory, marching band fundamentals, and a series of development classes including art, crafts, life skills, physical education, self defense and step. In life skills, campers learned letter writing, proper salutations, CPR and first aid, nutrition, and etiquette. In self-defense, campers learned the art of Wing Chun taught by Sifu Payne who also served as a Guardian Angel alongside republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa. In art the campers worked with water colors and pencils, and created work that was displayed gallery style at the end of camp showcase. In crafts they engaged in woodwork, clay pottery, made name plates and jewelry, sewed and stuffed pillows by hand, and designed and decorated t-shirts. Additionally, our campers are now authors and entrepreneurs. During academic hour each day, campers participated in the BALAA writers project where they wrote a series of summer stories that will be published by Lauren Simone Publishing House by the end of the calendar year.


We are now in full swing with our first after school program. BALAA After School provides academic support to our membership, followed by marching band fundamentals instruction. Our young people learn to play a horn or percussion instrument, or participate in our dance program. They are learning to read music and growing daily as a young group of motivated musicians.


To get a visual idea of our work, you may visit us online at www.balaa.org, and on our social media pages www.facebook.com/balaaincorporated and www.facebook.com/temenyc. Here you will find photos and videos of our work. We believe you will be pleased with what you discover and hope to have your continued support in the future.


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