Thursday, November 10, 2016

'Gift of music' to East End schools

The Richmond Symphony is donating instruments, valued at more than $100,000, to five elementary schools in the East End of Richmond – Bellevue, Chimborazo, Fairfield Court, George Mason and Woodville – enabling them to provide music lessons and organize ensembles.

Instruments and music-related equipment also will be purchased for for Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, Armstrong High School and Franklin Military Academy.

The funds were raised through the RVA East End Festival: the Gift of Music, staged in May, one of the first community outreach events by the orchestra under its Big Tent portable concert stage.

The concert and fundraising were supported by Bon Secours Richmond Health System and other corporate, foundation and individual donors.

“When we started this project with Councilwoman Cynthia Newbille and Bon Secours, we learned that there were only seven instruments to be shared among all of the East End’s elementary schools,” said David Fisk, the symphony’s executive director. “The community came together and saw a tremendous opportunity to make a substantial impact in the lives of these children.”

Following the donation, there will be enough instruments for each school to have a full string orchestra, Fisk said.

“Because of programs like the RVA East End Festival, music is no longer a privilege for a lucky few, but a part of every child[’s] world of possibility,” said Kim Hutchinson, executive director of the Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation.