Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Help Montgomery Symphony's Cello Fellow Make Strings Stronger for Alabama's Kids

Laura Usiskin holds the cello fellowship with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and has been active playing and teaching in the Auburn community as well. She is founding an instrumental music program that will start in Montgomery, Alabama's elementary schools. At right is the Montgomery Music Project's first promotional video.

Starting this fall (2011), the program will send highly trained teachers to elementary schools throughout Montgomery to give instruction in violin, viola, and cello, as well as in general musicianship, theory, orchestra, and more. On Saturdays students from all sites will meet in a central location for further instruction.

Laura says that due to the extreme lack of string programs in the Montgomery schools (public or private), the number of kids who play stringed instruments is very small. The program will help to ensure the future of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and to enrich the lives of children in our state's capitol. I am in support of anything that can make stronger Alabama's contribution to the centuries-long, history-making legacy of this music.

Laura has played beautifully here in Auburn at the museum and The Gnu's Room and has subbed for our regular cellist with The Woodfield Trio at Behind the Glass for a photography show. Most recently, she gave us a recital at the Auburn Performing Arts Center. She's a smart woman, with a degree from Columbia in neuroscience and behavior, and music degrees from Julliard and almost Yale (ABD, I think). She seems perfect to spearhead a program like this. Her personal bio reveals a passion for music, and I have seen her with children like a cool aunt, drawing them into the art with an almost startling familiarity.

Support this program. Give through the Montgomery Music Project's page on IndiGoGo. As of today, it needs about $2,300 to reach its initial goal of $9,000 by September 4. This money will go toward buying and repairing enough instruments to allow 40 children to participate. The IndiGoGo page also gives suggestions for in-kind ways you can help.

Click here for the program's website, and click here for a Montgomery Advertiser article by Kym Klass about the program (from July 24, 2011).

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