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- 09/02 Music Lessons Enhance Brain Function in Disadvantaged Kids
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WCPE's Education Fund: Thank You!
A WCPE Education Fund grant of $500 to the Raleigh Concert Band in the summer of 2012 covered a significant portion of the Band’s costs for music and performance venues. This all-volunteer orchestra provides a means for local non-professional musicians to retain or improve their skills. Concerts are designed to please audiences young and old, but RCB goes the extra mile by providing free tickets to many Raleigh Area Seniors to keep them active and to improve their quality of life.
Hear what Raleigh Concert Band members have to say about the WCPE Education Fund grant:Patty Pearce
Since they began, we have followed the progress of KidzNotes, based on Venezuela’s successful social program called El Sistema. The program provides daily music lessons and regular performance opportunities to at-risk students, building self esteem, musical skill, and sense of community. WCPE helped transport these students to local music camps last summer to retain their skills. For the summer of 2012, $1,000 provided three full scholarships to KidzNotes’ own summer camp. Complete funding for the camp came from a team of community partners, individual donors and local businesses.
Hear what the students have to say about this experience:
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On Thursday, July 28th, Kenneth Bradshaw and I had the opportunity to attend a luncheon for Eastern Music Festival Scholarship donors and recipients on behalf of the WCPE Education Fund. We were seated with a member of the Eastern Music Festival board, a lovely young woman from Birmingham, Alabama and one of the students who benefited from our gift. Aaron is a rising senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a resident of Wake Forest. Your contributions to the WCE Education Fund made it possible for him to attend master classes for five weeks and perform in an orchestra setting. After our polite introductions, he confided that he knew we were practically neighbors.
Of course, I quizzed him (in a way that would make my overly inquisitive mother proud) about his instrument (the tuba), his favorite teachers, and his post-college plans. What I will remember most from this conversation was the unprovoked confession that he had been on the fence about whether or not he wanted to pursue a career as an orchestra member. He had been unsure until this summer, -until this opportunity to play at Eastern Music Festival. Now, he was preparing to return home and apply for graduate school. This summer -and forgive me for saying something so cliché- it changed his life.
During this luncheon, each scholarship donor was asked to stand, introduce himself, and mention his association with EMF. The students were asked to mention their age, instrument and hometown. Many of the donors told us their age, too. It became the running joke of the afternoon- the thing that kept me from crying tears of joy and excitement a few times. How powerful it was to be in the room with students from so many states and foreign countries who had one common love and purpose! Gerard Schwartz spoke briefly and eloquently, as did his wife. We heard from a former ambassador and a donor who had been in the very first class of EMF students… fifty years ago. We met a couple who had come to the festival on dates when they were younger and had chosen to set up a scholarship now that they were older, married and established. When it was my turn to speak, I hardly made it through two proud sentences (the first containing “WCPE” and the second- “Education Fund”) before I choked on my emotions and finished quickly with “How could we not…?” In the end, I was relieved to be one of two “happy criers.” What an amazing collection of individuals! How heartfelt were these short explanations of what brought us together. It was, in the words of Mozart, “love, love, love.”
After the luncheon, we were able to mingle a while. Quite a few people made a point to introduce themselves to us and gush about how much they appreciate The Classical Station. We are bien aimes in Greensboro!
I took Aaron outside to record his thoughts about the experience, only to discover my batteries had failed. So, we synthesized it into a few seconds of video so you could put a face with his name. Meet our new friend, the tuba player, Aaron Robinson.
WCPE Community & Arts Liaison
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In June, Carolyn Zahnow and Tara Lynn attended the Lamar Stringfield Music Camp performance to observe the KidzNotes children as they performed with their new summer camp friends.
Carolyn and Tara congratulated the student on their performance and brought them each a small gift. In the backstage hallway, Tara and Carolyn talked to the grandmother of one rising 4th grade student named Donald. She told us her grandson was so scared he wouldn’t be able to play it all right that he almost didn’t get on stage at all. Luckily, he did and gave a magnificent performance! Tara was thinking about the first time she observed the students in their afterschool lessons in November, holding new tiny violins in their hands.
When Carolyn told Donald that they had come from the radio station that helped pay for the bus which brought him to-and-from camp each day, he exclaimed, “Thank you!”
Then he added, “I’ll pay you back.”
Tara was stunned. It had never occurred to her that he owed them anything, but she thought for a moment and told him, “The way you can repay us is by promising that you’ll always try to get better each time you perform.” Donald scratched his head, then grinned and promised, “I’ll give you a private concert!”
WCPE Community & Arts Liaison
This spring, the WCPE Education Fund announces its second dispensation- a gift in the amount of $2,500 to KidzNotes in Durham, North Carolina to help with their summer mission. Executive Director Katie Wyatt will make arrangements for the children in this program to attend summer camps and classes to prevent attrition. Summer is when the largest gaps begin to develop between children. If skill sets learned during he school year are not practiced over the summer, those skills may atrophy. We want to see the KidzNotes kids return strong and ready to achieve more in the fall. This donation will help with the practical costs associated with transporting the children to their summer learning grounds. To the first sixty children of KidzNotes, we offer our support, congratulations and giant round of applause. Encore!
To find out more about KidzNotes, please visit KidzNotes.org
During our Spring Membership Drive we will be asking for your contributions to the Education Fund. We have set a goal to raise funds enough to sponsor a North Carolina high school student to take masterclasses with a world class musician at the Eastern Music Festival. We will be working with the staff at Eastern Music Festival to identify a student who would not otherwise be able to cover tuition. The cost for tuition for one student is $2,226, but additional fees (including room and board, private lessons, and other general fees) bring the cost for each student to $5,275. Each member of the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra must agree to teach 2 students in masterclasses in order to be included in the Festival’s orchestra. These top-notch players come from all over the world. Students in the masterclass program also come from all over the world, passing rigorous auditions and a competitive application process. What’s even more exciting is that the five best overall students in the masterclass program will get to perform with the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra in their concerts!
More information: easternmusicfestival.org
We are also hoping to sponsor a student from the Community Music School for the Side-By-Side program at the Cross Currents Chamber Music Festival in Cary this July. The festival, now in its 5th year, is the summer project of the Brussels Chamber Orchestra and it includes many free and educational events. The student we hope to sponsor will receive masterclasses with a member of the Brussels Chamber Orchestra and will perform with the orchestra in their festival concerts. The cost per student is $400, and we are working to identify a strong student who would benefit from and enjoy this opportunity. Community Music School provides music lessons for $1 to students who qualify for Wake County's Free and Reduced Lunch program.
More information about the Cross Currents Chamber Music Festival: brusselschamberorchestra.com/crosscurrentsfestival
More information about Community Music School: cmsraleigh.org
Stay Tuned: The WCPE Education Fund committee is interviewing to find our next project. We look forward to telling you more about it during our Spring Membership Drive!
Remember, we need YOUR help! Tell us about classical music educators in the community and we may be able to help them achieve more (as long as they are a non-profit organization). Thank you!
Sarah Hicks on the WCPE Education Fund.
For tickets, program notes, podcasts, the blog and more, visit the North Carolina Symphony Web site at www.ncsymphony.org. Call North Carolina Symphony Audience Services at 919.733.2750 or toll free 877.627.6724.
If you joined us during the Fall Membership Drive, you know that the Education Fund committee has been hard at work! We now have official guidelines in place, and we dispensed our first round of funds. The decision to support the pilot year of the North Carolina Symphony’s educational concerts for middle- and high-school students is one that makes us proud. We hear from so many listeners telling us that their childhood trips to the symphony were monumental. Some of those listeners went on to play instruments themselves, while others waited until adulthood to revisit the magic of classical music. Then, that process of rediscovery is a beautiful one because we remember how to open the doors of our imagination. We find ourselves remembering how to listen, how to earnestly connect to our emotions, and how to understand our innate yearning for harmony. Just think of what a helpful tool music can be during the tumultuous teen years!
On September 28, 2010, the WCPE Education Fund committee awarded $2,500 to the North Carolina Symphony to reduce or cover ticket prices for educational concerts for middle- and high-school students who otherwise could not afford to attend the performances. NC Symphony Education Manager, Jessica Nalbone, is working with teachers who enrolled their classes to attend concerts. Together, they will target the students who need financial assistance to participate in this exciting field trip. What we love most is the creativity involved in starting this trial run with no budget! The symphony piggybacked this pilot year onto its (already educationally natured) Friday Favorites series, which will focus on art, dance, and Shakespeare…in music.
Ms. Nalbone put out a statewide call for writers. From thousands of responses, she chose experts who were eager to volunteer their time in support of this mission. In teams, they crafted lesson plans for teachers to help prepare students and maximize the benefits of attending the concerts. We expect to see some incredible cross-curriculum cooperation! In fact, we hope teachers open their doors and invite cross-classroom cooperation. Already we have seen successful learning and development in this program.
Thank you for helping WCPE reach this underserved age group and target the students who would not have been able to partake in this monumental opportunity. We hope that this pilot year goes well enough for middle- and high-school educational concerts to go solo and state-wide next year.
Here’s another piece of great news: the Education Fund facilitated the donation of a piano belonging to a WCPE member. We covered the cost of moving the piano safely to its new home at the Holton Center in Durham. The new El Sistema–based program KidzNotes will use this piano for their lessons and performances. KidzNotes’ mission is to provide classical orchestral music training beginning in the preschool years. As does the successful social program El Sistema, created by José Antonio Abreu in Venezuela in 1975, KidzNotes aims to combat poverty, strengthen inner-city education, and foster positive decision-making to unlock the world. Find out more about the program in Durham at KidzNotes.org. We wish KidzNotes a successful first year!
The Education Fund committee welcomes your recommendations for classical music education opportunities. Tell us what (and who!) works well in your community, or let us know about a project that might need funding. With you acting as our eyes and ears, we will be better able to serve the community. Together, we can make a difference!
Listen to Jessica Nalbone of the WCPE Education Fund give her personal thanks to all participants here! (MP3 Format)
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