In 1999, Kaylie took her first class in Balinese gamelan and dance at Museum School in San Diego. It was a new charter school with a new vision: to incorporate music and other creative arts—seen as fundamental to child development—into the standard curriculum. The Museum School reached out to the Center for World Music (CWM) for help. It was the very first year of the CWM’s youth education program, World Music in the Schools, and the beginning of what would become some of the organization’s most rewarding work: matching accomplished and experienced teaching artists to residency programs within San Diego area K–12 schools.
Kaylie Kirby was in 5th grade when the Balinese gamelan program was initiated at Museum School, where she studied under I Nyoman Sumandhi (music) and Ni Putu Sutiati (dance), and later Alex Khalil (music) and Kaori Okado (dance). Training in music and dance was offered to students at Museum School, which at the time included 3rd through 6th grade. There was also an after-school program for intermediate and advanced students. Kaylie thrived in this program, taking lessons during school hours and participating in the after-school program during her years attending Museum School.
Upon graduation from 6th grade, Kaylie continued her involvement with the Museum School’s gamelan and dance program by attending weekly rehearsals after school. Alex and Kaori had created a performing group with the advanced students called Puspa Warsa, in which Kaylie had the opportunity to perform for numerous universities, festivals, and news stations all over Southern California for several years. Throughout this time, she continued to assist with the intermediate students’ after-school program at the Museum School. She also had the opportunity to study under other Balinese masters, including Dr. I Nyoman Wenten, renowned Balinese performing arts director at CalArts and UCLA. In 2018–19, she was a member of the Balinese gamelan anklung ensemble at the University of San Diego, directed by Dr. David Harnish.
Fast forward to today; Kaylie’s daughter is currently a kindergarten student at Museum School and a member of their Balinese gamelan program, now in its 22nd year. We are excited to welcome Kaylie, as she shares her expertise and passion for Balinese arts as a teaching artist of the gamelan ensemble at Museum School!
This is a true full-circle story that humbly reminds us that the work we do and have been doing for decades in the CWM’s World Music in the Schools program is valuable, important, and to many, life-changing.
Welcome back, Kaylie!