Every great idea begins with a thought. In the case of the Maa Sa-Akhi Performing Arts Academy, the thought has blossomed into an institution, and now celebrates in its 21st year.
In 1998, Maa Sa Akhi began by offering private piano and keyboard lessons to children who lived in Brooklyn. Mut Hefen Sa-Akhi, an accomplished teacher and composer, helped youngsters learn how to play the piano and much more. From the start, we have used music to teach over 1000 youngsters (and the young at heart) values necessary to sustain a community and advance its people. Wrapped around music lessons are activities designed to foster a strong sense of community, self-reliance, confidence, and mutual respect as well as information on nutrition, entrepreneurship, and education.
Given our offerings, it was only a matter of time before word spread about our work. Within a short time, Mut Hefen found herself expanding the scope and size of the Academy to meet increased demand. Classes were expanded to include other instruments.
Maa Sa Akhi has been fortunate to have been embraced by a host of talented music instructors. These include Fred Alston, an expert on the African presence in European classical music; Kevin Toney, a renowned jazz pianist and composer; Ankh Ra Amenhetep, the vocal guru of MTV’s Making the Band; versatile guitarist Ron Jackson; and percussionists Bryan Grice and Bernice Brooks. We can now add to this repertoire talented drum instructor Yahoteh Kokayi.
Our students have demonstrated the skills learned from these and other masters in a host of community settings. In recent years, performance venues have included a nursing home, a vendors’ mall, and a community center. TV News 12, Caribbean Life News and Total Black TV are among those having enthusiastically reported on our students' performances.