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No strings program to thriving strings program

Twenty years ago, the public schools in Redding, California had no strings program. It had been eliminated along with many other strings programs around America as a common solution to budget problems. Mike McLaughlin, the school superintendent, had read about the benefits of young students playing an instrument and decided to try an experiment. He targeted Cypress Elementary School because it had the highest percentage of those living in poverty, the lowest reading scores, and an excellent music teacher on their staff. All third graders received two music lessons per week and the opportunity to become a member of the first performing group called ‘Strings and Things.’

The Cypress experiment was successful from the beginning. Within the first year, reading scores for Cypress students went from the lowest in the district to near the top. Attendance levels increased, parents and other family members became more involved, and behavior improved.

The experiment at Cypress was so successful that after four years it was replicated throughout the entire district. As these students graduated from their elementary schools, they had the opportunity to audition to become members of the elite and award-winning Sequoia Strings.

Now, Redding’s strings program is thriving. There are hundreds of enthusiastic students involved in strings instruction. The Redding School District performed a study of graduating 8th graders who had been involved in the strings program for all three years of middle school. The results clearly favored the strings students on all variables including grades, attendance, and behavior.

In 2000, Classics for Kids Foundation (CFKF) became involved with the Redding schools, offering a grant toward a $22,000 purchase of excellent stringed instruments. CFKF committed afterward to an ongoing relationship with Redding. Local arts champion and CFKF Board President Emeritus Judy Salter organizes fundraising performances featuring renowned artists and students from around Redding that raise more funds for stringed instruments. These events will provide many more quality stringed instruments for years to come for Redding’s young musicians.

2019 2nd Quarter Grants

Congratulations to our 2nd quarter grant recipients:

Charleston, WV: Boulevard Adventist Academy: This new string program has been created to support kids grades K-8 in an underserved area in Charleston with string education. This is the first private school in the area to offer this kind of program. We have offered $1,360 in matching funds to encourage this exciting new program.

Chicago, IL: UIC College Preparatory: This high school program serving almost exclusively students of color has a great success rate for college-bound students (84%). They have concert band, and wish to expand a mariachi program to provide a new musical opportunity and experience for their kids. CFKF has offered matching support for 5 beautiful new violins.

Lewisburg, WV: Carnegie Hall Inc.: This is our second grant to Lewisburg; we gave a grant for 10 harps there last year. Carnegie Hall offers music programs for a variety of schools in the Lewisburg area; they are starting a new program for kids K-7 with strings. They requested support for a 6 violins, which we granted to assist in their program expansion.

Louisville, KY: Newburg Middle School: This school with a growing string program serving kids grades 6-8 needs an infusion of new instruments to keep up with demand. The school, highly rated with their STEM initiative, has made a commitment to expand their music program to complete a well-rounded education. 86% of the students in this program qualify for the Federal free lunch program. They requested support for 12 instruments, and CFKF has offered $4977 in matching funds to encourage this innovative program

Macon, GA: The Academy for Classical Education Orchestra: This program from a school founded in 2014 serves kids grades 6-12 from throughout the county; the student population is ethnically mixed. 100% of the students qualify for the Federal free lunch program. An interesting note is that all students grades 4-5 take violin as a standard part of their curriculum. We’ve offered matching support for 5 new instruments to help this new and innovative program grow.

Mayfield, KY: Graves County Middle School Orchestra: This middle school in a rural area of western Kentucky serves a low-income population; 100% of the students in this program qualify for the Federal free lunch program. They requested support for a 4 cellos, and we’ve offered $1,708 in matching funds to encourage this inspiring program for rural kids.

Monticello, NY: Nesin Cultural Arts: This afterschool program serving kids K-12 needs an infusion of lower strings to balance their program; they offer individual lessons, chamber and larger ensemble instruction. CFKF has offered $2,247 in matching funds to encourage this needed program in an economically challenged area.

Mooresville, NC: Corriher-Lipe MSO: This rural middle school program, in its 3rd year, is experiencing growing interest, and their goal is to create an inventory that makes participation possible. We’ve offered $2,778 in matching support for 10 new instruments to encourage this rural program.

Portland, ME: Palaver Strings: This is our second request from Palaver Strings; we gave a grant there last year. They serve pre-K and kindergarten kids, and they wish to build on the great start we supported in 2018 with an infusion of new instruments, alongside support for a few afterschool program. 60% of the students in this program qualify for the Federal free lunch program, and 70% are first-generation immigrants, coming primarily from Africa. CFKF has offered $4,707 in matching support for 17 instruments to encourage this inspiring new program.

Washington, DC: DC Youth Orchestra Program: This new program, with offerings of both a Saturday and tuition-free strings at 3 Title-One elementary schools, serves kids K-8 in collaboration with the DC Office of Planning. 100% of the students in this program qualify for the Federal free lunch program. CFKF has offered $4,635 in matching support for 10 cellos to encourage this exciting new initiative.

West Carrolton, OH City Schools: This long-established string program, serving kids grades 6-12 in an urban/suburban area of southern Ohio, needs a substantial infusion of new instruments to augment or replace damaged inventory. CFKF has offered $3,000 in matching funds to encourage this well-run program.

Wilmington, DE: The Music School of Delaware: This inspiring new initiative, supporting kids ages 2 and up, has been created to deliver El-Sistema-based learning to nearly 1,000 children in the Wilmington area. CFKF has offered matching support of $3,040 for 15 violins to encourage this program’s exciting beginnings; this is our first grant in Delaware.

2019 First Quarter Grants

Congratulations to our 1st quarter grant recipients:

Bismarck, ND: Bismarck Public Schools: This school serving kids grades 4-12 is building a program called Share the Music to support underserved kids with quality instruments. A significant number of these students are Native American.  CFKF has offered $3000 in matching funds from our Hilger restricted fund to encourage this growing program’s vision for our first grant in North Dakota.

Brooklyn, NY: Vanderveer Park’s Arts Program: This youth program serves kids grades 3-12; they are starting a new program to help bridge the gap in school music programs, and to offer a positive endeavor for the kids. We’ve offered matching support for 6 instruments at a cost of $2,768.

Burlington, VT: ONE Strings: This Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival has created a quickly growing string program in two elementary schools serving kids grades 3-5 in Burlington’s Old North End, where many refugee families from Bhutan, war-torn African countries, and Bosnia to name a few, settle. CFKF has offered $3000 in matching funds to encourage this innovative program, our first in Vermont.

Charlotte, NC: Project Harmony: This free afterschool program, in partnership with the Charlotte Symphony, is in its second year; they seek to create the opportunity for kids grades 1-5 in underserved communities to experience music and the myriad benefits from it.  The kids are predominantly Latino and African-American.  CFKF has offered $2000 in matching funds to encourage this quickly growing program’s vision and help them get 8 beautiful new instruments.

Dallas, TX: Dallas Symphony Orchestra: This new program, entitled the Southern Dallas Residency, has been created by the DSO to provide a transformative pathway through the arts for young people grades 2-5 in economically disadvantaged areas of South Dallas.  93% of the students in this program qualify for the Federal free lunch program.  We’ve offered $4000 in matching funds to encourage this organization’s vision.

El Monte, CA: CA City SD: This new program, the Jose Hernandes Mariachi Academy,, began last year, and wishes to expand to 2 new schools serving kids grades 5-8. The program is immensely popular and has a waiting list. 93% of the students in this program qualify for the Federal free lunch program. CFKF has offered $3000 in matching funds to encourage this quickly growing program created by Jose and Teresa Hernandez.

Greencastle, IN: Depauw University:  In 2018, Depauw University created a new music program in rural Greencastle to provide an arts experience for rural kids; their plan is to soon have this program housed in their University Music School’s community space. In order to continue their expansion, we have offered matching support for their purchase of 10 violins to support this exciting university initiative in a rural area.

Hartford, CT: Charter Oak Cultural Center: This is our second grant offering to Charter Oak; the program is growing quickly and will have a new building for their Youth Arts Institute serving kids grades 1-12 this coming fall. The student population is ethnically mixed; 99% of the students in this program qualify for the Federal free lunch program. With their growth, they need more inventory to keep up, and CFKF has offered $3994 in matching funds to encourage this growing program’s vision.

Homestead, FL: Redland Middle School Music Program: This newly formed music program is in dire need of new instruments for their program serving kids grades 6-8.  Most families don’t have the resources to either own or rent instruments. The population is ethnically diverse and almost completely minorities. We’ve offered $3000 in matching funds to encourage this program’s growth in a state we have a growing presence.

New Orleans, LA: Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra: This orchestra has created a program called Music for Life for kids grades 3-8 in economically challenged areas of New Orleans. Their goal is to provide stringed instruments to one of their sites where kids currently have to share them. The majority of the families served are low-income; CFKF has offered $2000 in matching funds to encourage this growing program’s vision.

New Rochelle, NY: Songcatchers: This is our second offering to Songcatchers; the results from our first grant have been very positive, and they have a strong need for more new instruments.  This is an after-school program for children from low-income neighborhoods. They offer strings instruction in the basement of a local church just north of the Bronx. CFKF has offered $3720 in matching funds to encourage this growing program in an economically challenged area and to support their purchase of 20 new violins.

New York City, NY: Harmony Program: This is our second grant offering to Harmony; their afterschool program serve kids K-12 in Chinatown, Washington Heights and Jamaica Plains along with other areas. This well-run program continues to grow, and along with that they have a strong need for more instruments.  The students are ethnically mixed, many are economically challenged, and 84% of the students in this program qualify for the Federal free lunch program. We’ve given then $4000 in matching funds to encourage this program’s continued support for young people

Prescott, AZ: La Tierra Community School: This is a new program for this small school in a very rural area; they wish to create a musical opportunity for all of the students at the school, which serves grades K-7. We’ve offered $2000 in matching funds to encourage this new program in a rural setting.

Richmond, VA: Waldorf School Music Program: This school serves kids grades 3-8; they have an active music program, and students are currently required to own or rent instruments. Their goal is to build an inventory to allow access to instruments for students regardless of their family circumstances. CFKF has offered $2000 in matching funds to encourage this program’s accessibility to new instruments.

Woodland, CA: Woodland Joint USD: This District operates in an agricultural area near Sacramento and serves 4-8 (they plan expansion through grade 12 later on). In order to expand to a new elementary school and a high school, they urgently need to build more inventory. CFKF has offered $3000 in matching funds to encourage this program’s continued growth.

2018 4th Quarter Grants

Congratulations to our 4th quarter grant recipients:

Albany NY High School Strings Program: This public school program serving kids grades 9-12 is growing, and needs more quality inventory to support that growth. Much of their inventory is of lower quality and condition. We’ve offered $3,000 in matching funds to encourage this growing program and help them build a stronger inventory.

Atlanta GA Mt. Vernon Presbyterian School: This school serves kids grades 8-12; the program is growing, and they’re starting a new 4th and 5th grade program. They wish to expand their inventory to support students and families unable to afford rental fees for instruments. The student population is ethnically mixed,. CFKF is offering $2,710 in matching funds in support of 13 instruments to encourage this program’s vision.

Boston MA Boston Arts Academy: This program serves students grades 9-12 as the only visual and performing arts school in Boston; their ensembles perform all over Boston, and an audition is required for admittance. They have a strong need for more new instruments to augment their aging inventory. We’ve offered matching support for 5 instruments with 1,975 to help this unique school in Boston.

Boston MA Boston Bridge Charter School: This is the second grant we’ve offered to Boston Bridge; this charter school’s students are accepted through a lottery system, and the student population is almost entirely students of color. We’ve offered $3,000 in matching funds to encourage this program’s growth and help them grow a sustainable inventory of new instruments.

Bozeman MT Public Schools: This is our first request from Bozeman in some time; the orchestral program there continues to thrive. This school, Chief Joseph Middle School, has no cellos available for use in their building, and CFKF has offered $1,391 in matching funds to encourage this program’s growth in the town of CFKF’s origin.

Buffalo NY Buffalo String Works: This is an inspirational program that serves the refugee and immigrant community in Buffalo with music training. These kids come from such countries as Somalia, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iraq and Burma. Their students go to several of the area public schools; we’ve offered $1,486 in matching funds to encourage this growing program’s exciting vision with 4 new instruments.

Chicago IL Chicago West Community Center: This community center serves students pre-K through adult in an area of Chicago plagued by poverty and crime. We gave a grant there several years ago, and the program continues to grow and need more inventory. CFKF is offering $3,316 in matching funds to encourage this Center’s ability to provide the musical experience to kids in a challenging environment.

Flint MI Ballet Folklore: This community program utilizes Mariachi, taught by classically trained musicians, to inspire kids through culturally relevant music. They work with 80 students grades 2-12, and are limited in growth by their small inventory. The population there is predominantly Hispanic. We’ve offered $1,000 in matching funds to support this growing program and help them revitalize that inventory.

Greenfield IN Public School Foundation: This small community near Indianapolis has a growing middle school string program with a need for more instruments for families unable to afford to buy or rent them, as well as a need to augment a very small inventory. CFKF has offered $2,000 in matching funds to encourage this program’s instrumental needs in a fairly rural area.

Kansas City MO Heartland Chamber Music:  This active and growing program serving low-income families and children ages pre-K-5th grade has a large program for violin and viola and wishes to add cello to their offerings. We’ve offered $3,000 in matching funds to expand their instrumental offerings and encourage this growing program’s vision.

Los Angeles CA A Place Called Home: This organization serves low-income families and kids grades 2-12 with string ensemble programs; at this point they are offering violin instruction and wish to expand to include other stringed instruments. The student population is predominantly Latino. CFKF has offered $3,000 in matching funds to encourage this program’s growth.

Memphis TN Redwood Training Group: This organization, serving kids K-12, wishes to expand its music theory program with more instruments. They only have keyboard and percussion at the moment and wish to add guitars to help students with comprehension and support better outcomes for math and English. We’ve offered $1,000 in matching funds to encourage this program’s innovative approach and build an inventory of new guitars.

Milwaukee WI Public Schools: This large district is quite committed to improving the quality of its growing string program and their inventory. CFKF has offered support for 11 beautiful new instruments with a $4,085 matching grant.

New Orleans LA Walter Plessy School: This innovative arts-integrated school in the French Quarter of New Orleans serves a diverse low-income population of students grades 2-7 with an active a growing string program. They have a strong need for an inventory of instruments (they’ve been renting for the past 5 years) and to provide free use of quality instruments; CFKF is offering $3,500 in matching funds to encourage this exciting program’s growth.

Peoria AZ Centennial HS Instrumental Music: This is a new program in the Phoenix metro area that wishes to provide string instruction for students grades 9-12 (they have an active feeder program for earlier grades; our grant will support the creation of a high school program). We’ve offered $1,854 in matching funds for 4 new instruments to encourage this new program’s expansion.

Rapid City SD Chamber Music Festival of the Black Hills: This program, which has traditionally supported high-level chamber music performance throughout western South Dakota, wishes to expand its mission by providing instruments and instruction to children grades 3-5, in particular Native American students in need of instruments and instruction.  The hope is to reduce truancy rates and support better academic performance. The student population being supported is 71% Native American; We’ve offered $3,500 in matching funds to encourage this new program’s vision for our first grant in South Dakota.

Springfield MA Community Music School: This school serves a very low-income and disadvantaged area with a large and inclusive music program; they offer string education to students from around the area ages 7-18. We gave a grant there several years ago, and they’ve grown substantially. The program is large (830 participants), and they have a great need for more inventory (many students have to share instruments). We’re offering $3,000 in matching funds to encourage this program’s expansion.

St. Louis MO Classical Guitar: This is our second grant to this organization; they serve kids grades 4-12 in 15 schools around the economically and socially challenged area of Ferguson. The program has grown substantially since our last grant, and they have a strong need for more guitars to meet that growth. CFKF has offered $2,700 in matching funds to encourage this program’s growth and their purchase of 24 new guitars.

Wilson NC Save Our Youth Program: This is a new string program being offered though the elementary schools in Wilson; they want to build a program that supports better outcomes for academics as well. We’ve offered $1,423 in matching funds to encourage this new program’s vision and help them purchase 9 new stringed instruments.

Winston-Salem NC IBF Solutions: This is a new program that provides after-school initiatives for blind and vision-impaired kids grades 4-11. They wish to build a starter inventory to help these students explore music. At this point, 11 students are involved from schools around the area. We’ve offered $952 in matching funds to encourage this innovative program’s ability to provide the musical experience to these kids and to purchase 2 violins and 2 guitars.

Since 1998…

Help us help string programs throughout all of the 50 states!  If you know of a string program that would benefit from matching grants to purchase high-quality instruments, tell them about Classics for Kids!

States not yet served

  • North Dakota
  • Delaware

States with only one grant

  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada

 

2018 3rd Quarter Grants

Congratulations to our 3rd quarter grant recipients:

Charleston, SC: Allegro Charter School: This is the second grant we’ve offered Allegro; this program serves students grades 6-12 with an immersive musical experience (students learn several different kinds of instruments as part of their study). We gave our first grant there in 2015 when this was a new program; they’ve grown substantially since then and need more instruments.  We’ve offered them $2,600 in matching funds to encourage this program’s growth.

Greenville, SC: Legacy Early College Middle School: This growing program serves kids grades 5-8 in an area with significant poverty. They are requesting a new infusion of instruments to meet their growth and reduce rental costs for instruments. (we gave our first grant there in 2017). 100% of the students in this program qualify for the Federal free lunch program. We’ve offered $3,046 in matching funds to encourage this program’s growth for a program serving particularly disadvantaged kids.

Leesville, NC: Loure Orchestra Boosters Club: This active orchestra program for kids grades 6-12 in the Raleigh NC suburbs is in need of a growing inventory to keep up with student demand, and to be able to offer instruments free of rental charge.  CFKF’s offered them $2,000 in matching funds to encourage this program’s growth.

New York City, NY: Harmony Program: This is the second grant CFKF’s offered the NYC Harmony Program (which is one of several Harmony Projects we’ve supported nationally). They’re expanding in Harlem, Chinatown and Queens, and need more instruments to support kids grades 3 and 6 they provide instruction for. The population is multiethnic (mainly Black, Hispanic and Asian), and 84% of the students in this program qualify for the Federal free lunch program. CFKF’s offered  $5,000 in matching funds to encourage this growing program’s needs.

Portland, ME: Palaver Strings: up until now, this group has been performance-based, but they’re starting a strings instruction program to expand their mission. They’re serving kids ages 4-6, and the student population is ethnically mixed with a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. This grant will constitute their initial inventory of instruments., and we’re offering $4,000 in matching funds to encourage this innovative new program’s beginning.

San Jose, CA: School of Arts and Culture at MHP: This school serves students ages Pre-K through grade 12 in a very low-income area with considerable crime and poverty around East San Jose, helping them achieve developmental and educational milestones through music study.  The focus is on the Mariachi culture and musical traditions. The population is predominantly Hispanic, and 80% of the students in this program qualify for the Federal free lunch program. They are requesting support for 6 violins, and CFKF’s offered $1,306 in matching funds to encourage this program’s growth.

Santa Fe, CA: Youth Symphony Assoc.: This organization offers training for kids grades K-5 from around Santa Fe.; they serve an age group that doesn’t have offerings for strings instruction there.  The student population is ethnically mixed, and 71% of the students in the general area qualify for the Federal free lunch program. CFKF’s offered $2,500 in matching funds to encourage this well-run program’s growth.

Stockton, CA: Colonial Heights School: This public-school string program serves kids grades 4-8; they have a need for more inventory so that families unable to afford rental costs can participate in strings. We’ve offered $1,500 in matching funds to encourage this program’s growth.