Evaluations from New West Symphony Harmony Project

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Due to funding from Classics for Kids Foundation, we have been able to create a new viola class. This has not only enabled more children to join the program (7 students in the viola class), but has also added greater depth to our orchestra and chamber ensembles (previously there were only violins, cellos, and jaranas in the string section). Our sound is fuller and richer, which is exciting for the students. We have also been able to add one more chamber group since we now have more string students. Lastly, our violin teacher was able to teach more hours with the addition of a viola class.

I love music. When I play, I don’t worry about anything. I forget the rest of the world and get lost in the music. It’s just so interesting and it keeps me focused and entertained.

There are now more options for string instruments, which has added an element of enthusiasm and curiosity. Most students had not previously known what a viola was. There is also a wonderful bond among our violists as being the “first ever Harmony viola class” and also for being the “unique” ones. Parents have been learning about the instruments alongside their children. We currently have 40 string player students, compared to the 30 we had last year.

Kroc Center Partnership

Partnership between Classics for Kids Foundation and Salvation Army Kroc Centers

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Classics for Kids Foundation (CFKF) has been given the unique opportunity to
explore a formative partnership with the Salvation Army’s Ray and Joan Kroc
Community Centers. In 1998, Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, donated $90 million to the Salvation Army (TSA) to build a comprehensive community center in San Diego, CA. When Mrs. Kroc passed away in 2003, she left $1.8 billion to TSA, the largest single gift given to any single charity at one time. The money was designated to build a series of state-of-the-art community centers in the four Army Territories. No other US charity has ever undertaken such a sweeping fundraising or construction effort with the potential to impact millions of people.

Shared Missions

This partnership realizes an alignment of visions between CFKF’s mission of supporting string education programs through matching string instrument grants and support for program creation, and realization of the Kroc family’s vision of music being central to the experience of children involved at all Kroc Centers nationally.

Individual Programs

  • Boston String Project
  • Coachella Valley String Program

2015 Second Quarter Grants

Many grants awarded in the second quarter!

Aurora, CO: Vanguard Classical School: This new charter school for grades 6-11 serves mainly low-income and minority families; we are giving support for several new instruments to students otherwise unable to participate in a small ensemble

Bloomington, IN: Habitat4Kids: This new program aims to support underserved kids with strings instruction for kindergartners. It was created by renowned violinist and conductor Joseph Swenson and will be taught by graduate students at Indiana University. CFKF is giving support for many new instruments for this innovative new program.

Brooklyn, NY: Noel Pointer Foundation: This organization provides music instruction and support to music programs around NYC; their program is building an inventory of high-quality instruments for their more advanced students in the Saturday Strings program. The great majority of students are African-American and Hispanic. We are giving them support for 10 new violins.

Burlington, NC: Williams HSO: This school has an active string program serving a diverse population in a Title I school; CFKF is supporting their need for several new instruments.

Charlotte, NC: Piedmont Middle School: This middle school program serves an ethnically diverse population; they receive very little support for instrument acquisition, and students typically have to share instruments. CFKF has offered grant support for 2 violas and 1 bass for this program.

Chicago, IL: Chicago West Community Music Center: This program is one of the few in this geographic area that supports music in a very challenging environment. They wish to begin a community orchestra with strings, and our support for 6 cellos will allow access to strings for those otherwise unable to participate.

East St. Louis, IL: Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School: This program serves children ages 5-14 in one of the most impoverished areas in the U.S. Students there are involved in a curriculum aimed at helping them break the cycle of poverty; 98% of the families involved are eligible for the Federal Free Lunch program. CFKF has offered support for their purchase of 15 violins.

Hawthorne, CA: Arts Alive: This program, in one of the most economically challenged areas of Los Angeles, CA, is growing quickly and wishes to expand accessibility to an after-schools string program. They are beginning a new string ensemble this coming fall, while providing access to violins otherwise inaccessible to the families there. We supported their request for 14 violins.

Larkspur, CA: Enriching Lives Through Music (ELM): This quickly growing string program, serving Title I schools located in the Canal area of San Rafael, needed an influx of new instruments to keep pace with demand and allow access to families there to strings programs. CFKF has offered support for a varied package of new instruments.

Madera, CA: This Title I school, Monroe Elementary, in the most impoverished area of Madera, has a goal of starting a string program with our support for instruments. 100% of the 4th and 5th grade students there qualify for the Federal Free Lunch program. We are supporting this exciting new program’s need for many new instruments.

New York City, NY: Harmony Program: This large program provides strings instruction to kids grades 3-6 in the Washington Heights and Flatbush areas of NYC. 87% of the students qualify for the Federal Free Lunch program. The goal of this grant is to expand offerings in an area that has very little strings instruction opportunity otherwise. CFKF is supporting this organization with a matching grant for many new instruments.

Robertsdale, AL: Robertsdale Elementary: This new program, serving an ethnically mixed population of students grades 4-6, is creating a new string program in this economically impoverished area. 70% of the students there qualify for the Federal Free Lunch program. CFKF has offered support for their purchase of 20 violins.

Rochester, NY: Rochester City School District: This large urban district is embarking on a very large initiative to greatly expand access to strings instruction across the entire district over the next five years. The city of Rochester has the 7th highest child poverty rate in the U.S.; 87% of the students qualify for the Federal Free Lunch program. CFKF has given an initial matching grant to support their development of this important new initiative.

Santa Barbara, CA: Harding University Partnership Elementary School: This program offers strings instruction to students grades 4-6 in an economically challenged area of Santa Barbara; 63% qualify for the Federal Free Lunch program. CFKF supported their need for a new cello for their program.

Santa Rosa, CA: Symphony Simply Strings: This afterschool program, run by the Santa Rosa Symphony, is introducing El Sistema-based strings to kids grades 2-4 in the Roseland area, which has a very high poverty rate This program integrates music with other mentorship and healthy snacks. They are receiving support for 21 new violins.

2015 First Quarter Grants

We have awarded numerous matching grants this year. The following were awarded in the first quarter:

Adams, MA: Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter School serves mainly low-income families from rural areas in Berkshire County grades 6-11; they received matching support for 2 double basses.

Austin, TX: Kealing Middle School received matching support for 2 violins and one cello.

Austin, TX: Soundwaves provides string instruction in Title 1 schools in the Austin area. 3rd graders are served; the plan is to expand the program to the 4th grade while continuing the program for 3rd graders. They received a matching grant to provide new instruments for this growing program.

Bridge Boston Charter School received a second matching grant for several more new instruments for their growing program.

Bridgeport, CT: KEYS offers free music instruction to kids unable to otherwise have access to music lessons. In order to expand their offering and provide a badly needed increase in inventory, they received a matching grant for many new violins.

Manitowoc, WI: Manitowoc Public School District: This large orchestral program serving students grades 5-12 has an inventory in serious need of revitalization; many of their instruments are beyond repair. They received a matching grant toward rebuilding an exciting new inventory of instruments.

The Salvation Army Los Angeles Red Shield Kroc Center: This is the fourth request from TSA’s Kroc Centers; Boston is thriving, and programs are beginning in San Francisco and Phoenix. They received support for a grant of 20 instruments (10 violins, 5 violas and 5 cellos) for this new and quickly growing program.