The Sarasa Ensemble was formed in response to a concert played by its founder, Timothy Merton, in the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in 1997, at the urging of a friend who was a prison volunteer. An inmate who heard that first concert remarked, “When art is well executed, it projects a message that transcends language, culture, and even aesthetic boundaries.” Sarasa took these words to heart and since then has been bringing high-quality music to those who ordinarily have little access to it.
For the last several years Sarasa has been working almost exclusively with teenagers in the greater Boston area. Every concert season the group plays more than twelve outreach concerts and facilitates several residency programs in teenage correctional centers. Through these programs Sarasa seeks to address the spiritual and emotional suffering of incarcerated youth and offer them joy, hope and opportunities for healing through self- expression.