On a sunny weekday afternoon, students at the Dallas County Juvenile Department's Youth Village filed into a chapel on campus to listen to a sermon told in the universal language of music.
"We want to just start by playing a little bit and getting you guys to hear some hopefully different sounds," said Jonathan Jones, a clarinet player with the Dallas Chamber Symphony. "Music brings together different cultures. It can bring together different types of people."
A trio of clarinet, violin and drums vamped an improv piece and three solo pieces for the audience of boys, all of whom were on probation. They were sent to Youth Village by court order.
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"Some kids, unfortunately, make bad decisions, then there are consequences as a result," said Youth Village Principal Aubrey C. Hooper. "I think that it's an opportunity for them to have a second chance."
"They've gotten in trouble," Jones said. "I'm sure that they can feel at a dead end sometimes."
The interactive concert is meant to get the students in touch with their purpose and their passion, and use that to motivate them to turn around their lives.
"When you have a passion and you put a little bit of work every day, you can actually achieve something and have a happy life," explained violinist Marek Eneti.
"You kind of drop all the other barriers and you just make music," Jones added.
The symphony members invited students on stage to showcase their hidden talents. Two boys got up to rap in front of their classmates.
"Something we do every time, is to give them a chance to feel that spotlight, to feel that attention," Jones said.
"I think we got connected pretty well today. Especially when they were rapping," Eneti said.
A connection through music they hope students will take beyond the razor ribbon fence line when they leave Youth Village.
"Hopefully to give them a little sense of light at the end of the tunnel," Jones said.