News…

            CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Entering its third year, the innovative statewide VH1 Save The Music Foundation Program is on track to introduce music instruments to 16 more middle schools this fall, bringing to 35 the number of middle and K-8 schools in the state that are building stronger music and band programs. Generous sponsors throughout the state have contributed $450,000 to match the national VH1 Save The Music partnership program to secure $30,000 worth of instruments for each of these schools.

            “Our goal is to bring musical instruments to every elementary and middle school in the state that has a qualified music teacher,” said Commissioner Randal Reid-Smith of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, whose agency is coordinating the program with VH1 Save The Music Foundation.  “We are seeing success at schools where bands are growing as a result of the additional instruments, and high school bands are excited about the increase in students who are moving up and joining the band.  That renewed appreciation for music education is exactly what we hoped to inspire.”

            This fall, instruments arrived at Barboursville Middle School, Belington Middle School, Bluefield Middle School, Clay Middle School, Geary K to 8 School, Gilmer County High School, Independence Middle School, Monongah Middle School, Mount View Middle School, Rainelle Middle School, Ravenswood Middle School, Shepherdstown Middle School, Sherman Junior-Senior High School, Suncrest Middle School, Washington Irving Middle School and Wheeling Middle School.  On track to receive instruments next year are George Washington Middle School and Milton Middle School.

            The West Virginia program is the first of its kind for VH1 Save The Music Foundation, according to Paul Cothran, executive director and vice president for the VH1 Save The Music Foundation.  “The VH1 Save The Music Foundation generally works in partnership with local districts and community leaders to develop a strategic plan to restore instrumental music education for all students within that district. West Virginia is the largest and first state-wide effort we have undertaken to ensure, over time, greater access to music education in each of the state’s 55 counties.”

            Rob Davidson, director of programs and policy for VH1 Save The Music Foundation, helps coordinate the West Virginia effort.  He said the foundation is delighted to have the commitment of the state leaders and the generous support of local funders that make this initiative possible and undoubtedly will serve as model for other parts of the nation.

            Commissioner Reid-Smith said the matching partnership program allows interested organizations and individuals to donate $15,000 for the VH1 Save The Music Foundation match.  The schools, in turn, complete a comprehensive review of their music programs to demonstrate their eligibility.

            In the 2010-2011 school year, Bridge Street Middle School, Doddridge County Middle School, Follansbee Middle School, Marlinton Middle School, New Martinsville Middle School, Pendleton Middle School, Pleasants County Middle School, Shady Spring Middle School, Sherrard Middle School, Van Devender Middle School and Wellsburg Middle School benefitted from the program.  In the 2009-2010 school year, the schools that received instruments were Capon Bridge Middle School, Davis Thomas Elementary Middle School, Duval PK-8, Guyan Valley Middle School, Harmon School, Hamlin PK-8, Gilbert Elementary School and Kermit K-8. 

            Any traditional West Virginia public elementary or middle school that has a certified music teacher and wants to build its instrumental music program may qualify for a VH1 Save The Music Foundation grant.  “We hope to see programs in every county of the state within the next few years,” Reid-Smith said.  “Having this opportunity is a wonderful way to strengthen our state’s arts focus as we introduce our youth to the pleasures of music in all of its many forms.”

            For more information, contact Jeff Pierson, Arts director for the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, at (304) 558-0240 or [email protected].       

            The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary.  The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums.  For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org.  The Division of Culture and History is an equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education programs in America’s public schools, and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child’s complete education. To date, VH1 Save The Music has provided more than $45 million in new musical instruments to 1,700 public schools in more than 100 cities around the country, impacting the lives of over 1.4 million children. The Foundation’s renewed commitment to donate one hundred million dollars’ worth of new musical instruments to ensure that even a greater number of students receive a comprehensive music education in the coming decade.   Get involved and learn more at www.vh1savethemusic.com <http://www.vh1savethemusic.com.

Contacts for VH1 Save The Music Foundation:
Nick Carcaterra/Susan Blond, Inc. for VH1 Save The Music Foundation
212.333.7728 ext.126
[email protected]

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