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Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra String School

Mission: The Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra (WSO) is an organization of professional, amateur, and student musicians. It provides dedicated instrumentalists with opportunities to collaborate in an intergenerational and educational environment, and to contribute to the cultural vitality of the region. The Orchestra’s String School (OSS) program has as its mission teaching an understanding of written music and an appreciation of classical music through the study of string instruments, as well as demonstrating the importance of cooperation through participation in their ensembles.

Community Need: The Boys and Girls Club serves an essentially at risk population of young boys and girls.  Tyrell McElroy, prior Chief Professional Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Waynesboro, Staunton, and Augusta County, says it well when he comments “this program allows us to put string instruments in the hands of youths who would otherwise not participate or not decide to take up an instrument of any kind. This is one step in reducing the amount of unrealized potential that walks out of their programs year after year. Learning how to read and play music impacts an individual in more ways than just musically; this includes how well they do in the classroom. Sometimes children just need something to occupy their time, something they are good at, and for many youths, music is that something.”  Many of the OSS students are from low income and/or single parent homes and do not have access to this kind of program. The local schools do not offer stringed instrument instruction.

Primary Activities: The OSS sources violins of appropriate sizes to give to over 50 Boys and Girls Club members, provides sheet music and other teaching aids and employs a teacher who gives group lessons each week throughout the school year at both Waynesboro and Staunton locations; this at no cost to the students. The OSS confer with the Boys and Girls Club staff to assess the success of the program as well as to review student school grades. Past years have demonstrated that the violin program has a positive effect on math and science grades.

Constituents Served: The OSS serves all members of the Staunton and Waynesboro Boys and Girls Clubs.  The general age range is 10 to 14.  Last year they served over 50 young girls and boys.

Program Details:  As an extension of the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra’s String School, in 2012, they began working with the Boys and Girls Club and have been doing so for the past five years.  This program provides free violins and free weekly lessons throughout the school year to young boys and girls in the Staunton and Waynesboro Boys and Girls Clubs.   One of the greatest accomplishment of this program is the fact that 70% of the students returned from the previous year.

Amount Requested: $3,000

Operating Budget: $131,100

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