Rochester Schools receives grant for orchestra

The Rochester Community Schools Foundation awarded the school district with a $137,000 grant to help fund the newly established orchestra program.

The grant marks the largest award ever given by the foundation. The majority of the donation, about $75,000, will be used for buying violins, violas, cellos and double basses for the schools' music libraries. The remaining amount covers the cost of instrument cabinets, music stands, seats, music books and other essential items.

"I am proud that the RCS Foundation board of directors voted unanimously to support the strings program. This gift fully supports our mission to advance learning for RCS students. It also ensures sustainability, allowing the program to build and grow to benefit future students," said Robert Justin, chair of the RCS Foundation board of directors.

The idea of adding a strings program to the orchestra was introduced in 2016 when two community members provided a presentation at a board of education meeting. The district then initiated a task force to research, explore and discuss the feasibility of having a strings program. An orchestra implementation specialist was also employed at that time to study options and produce a cost analysis and logistics report.

"Launching an orchestra program is a significant undertaking that requires a great deal of support," superintendent Robert Shaner said. "It takes time, expertise and funding to build a high quality program. We are truly grateful for the generosity of the RCS Foundation to assist us with the initial start-up of the program."

Students from the inaugural orchestra class will be featured at the regularly scheduled board of education meeting on Monday, December 10, from 7-7:30 p.m. in the Administration Building's Harrison Room, 501 W. University Drive, Rochester.

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