Living up to our motto of "creating musicians, one student at a
time." the teachers and coordinators involved in MusicLink realize
the importance of decent instruments for
students as they grow in the program. We are pleased to work with
business partners and community donors to bring instruments to
students through our Instrument Request
Program. We have successfully matched $15,000 worth of donated
instruments with students over the past year. We want to share
a few wonderful stories with you.
North Dakota: A Cello for Alicia
(excerpts from an article by
Carla Kelly, Times Record, Valley City)
It's a well-known fact of life that young musicians grow,
but their instruments don't.
For clarinet players, flutists, or oboists this isn't an issue:
one size fits all. Not so for a cello player. Alicia Rohde is now
in 9th grade and has been using a three-quarter sized instrument
since she started playing cello in the 4th grade. She's also 5'
6" tall now, which makes a difference. Alicia's old cello is four
inches smaller than a full-sized instrument. Although it has a
nice tone, playing it was becoming awkward, now that Alicia is
Alicia is a MusicLink scholarship student at the VCSU Community,
studying cello from Margaret Dahlberg. Beth Klingenstein, school
director and North Dakota MusicLink coordinator, realized the dilemma
and applied for a full sized instrument for Alicia through the
instrument request program. The new full sized cello, donated by
William Weaver of the Violin House of Weaver located in Bethesda
MD, arrived at 6:30 am several months later as a surprise for Alicia.
As Alicia opened the case, it was an "Ohh ahh" moment, followed
by what appeared to be instant bonding between musician and cello.
Cellos are to be listened to, but they are also to be touched.
Both Alicia and Dahlberg ran their hands over the curving lines.
Both musicians played it next. Dahlberg gave it her seal of approval. "
This is nice," she said. "It has a beautiful tone." When asked
to use one word to describe her new gift, Alicia didn't even hesitate. "
California: Sunny's Violin
by Diane Worthy
I have been teaching Sunny Tran for three years and recently nominated
him as the first MusicLink student from my studio. He is a hard-working
student and has much musical potential. However, his poor
quality instrument was holding him back. At a recital last year,
he approached me after he performed a Seitz Violin Concerto. He
had noticed that other students had nice violins and that the tone
of his instrument was poor. The fact that he noticed this on his
own prompted me to request an instrument from MusicLink to help
him acquire a nicer instrument.
I am extremely grateful to the MusicLink Foundation for finding
a beautiful violin donated by Eastman Strings to help Sunny pursue
his passion and talent. He will eventually outgrow the instrument,
but it gives his mother time to save for a nice full sized violin.
The violin will remain in my studio for use by a future MusicLink
student - so it will help more than one student. I think this is fabulous.
I appreciate the way this foundation connects sponsors with teachers
and students who are in need. I am delighted to reduce tuition
for Sunny by half, knowing that we (the foundation, sponsors, teachers,
parents) are all working together to help a hard working student in need.
Washington DC & Newark DE:
The DC Metropolitan MusicLink program kicked off its new group
lesson program at the Atlas Performing Arts Center showing off
electric guitars worth over $7,000 donated to the program by the
Gibson Foundation. MusicLink students are shown with Atlas teachers,
DC Coordinator Matt Grason and Verdine White of Earth Wind and
Fire. Some of these donated guitars will also be used by the Greater
Newark Boys and Girls Club MusicLink program, coordinated by Chuck
Leatherbury. Our thanks to Nina Miller of the Gibson Foundation
and development consultants, Carroll and Beth Hauptle for making
this contribution possible.
Ten year old Hobnir Laventure of Haiti received a piano
and scholarship lessons thanks to the Steinway Piano Gallery in
Bonita Springs. Sue Wege, our Southeast Regional Coordinator works
with owner, Greg Billings to locate eligible MusicLink students
for their program, which provides pianos and sponsored lessons
through their Steinway Society. Billings states, "We believe that
music education has tangible benefits for students, and we don'
t want any students to miss this opportunity because of financial
need." The Laventure family agrees and loves the sound of the
piano now in their living room. For the full story from the Naples
News, click here:
Naples News Article
Now is the time of year for our "talent search" for outstanding
students, with special emphasis on current SEVENTH GRADERS who
show outstanding musical talent, academic achievement, and are
in financial need. Students do not necessarily have to be enrolled
in MusicLink. The Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars award supports
those chosen throughout their secondary school musical and educational
training, equaling thousands of dollars each year. DEADLINE is
May 7th. Contact our Talent Coordinator with names of teachers
with students who may qualify -
for application details.
Virginia: Post Christmas
Piano for Connor
by Gabriella Ryan
Connor Wood's a special kid. You'd know that if you met him.
He speaks as eloquently as an adult, even though he's only in the
fourth grade at Three-Chopt Elementary. And his grades are as high
as the sky. Put him in front of a piano, and Connor becomes a
talented musician who can perform for hours, improvising songs
he's heard and songs he's learned. He's always ready to perform
at special events and even plays at a retirement home for Christmas.
I recognized Connor's talent right away and knew that
piano lessons were far beyond his family's means. That's why I
volunteered to teach him - for free. And his little sister Keely
too. For years I taught Connor how to make the music come alive
under his fingers. And Connor made terrific progress.
But then the progress stopped. I knew what the problem was. Connor
didn't have a piano to practice on. He'd never had one. He'd been
using a small keyboard, without a pedal, that didn't even have
all the keys he needed. That had worked in the beginning. But
now that he was playing more advanced pieces, he needed practice
time at the piano. What he really needed was a piano of his own.
But his mom couldn't possibly afford one. Not even a used one.
I couldn't bear the thought of such talent going to waste. I had
to do something to get a piano for Connor. I sought help from the
Richmond Music Teachers Association, the MusicLink Foundation,
and local piano dealers.
A post Christmas celebration occurred when Paul King of the Piano
Gallery of Richmond, a MusicLink business partner, personally
delivered a Kawaii piano to the Wood family as a gift for a deserving
student. Connor's and his little sister Keely's eyes popped open
and their jaws dropped as they watched the piano roll into their
grandmother's home. Connor rushed to play it even before the bench
was brought in, and didn't stop until his sister forced her way
onto the bench to play as well. It was a happy, exciting event
that all of us will remember forever. It warms my heart to see
something like this.
Across the Country
From AZ to CA: When our migrant teenager violin
in Arizona several years ago, we were left with instruments that
were in a closet, waiting to be used.
Thanks to our regional coordinators,
always on the lookout for deserving students, we were able to put
several of these violins in the hands of MusicLink students who
are cousins and immigrants from Viet Nam. Elaine, Stephanie, and
Emily Duong of Riverside CA are multi-talented students who study
violin with Laura Balisky and piano with Nancy Buck.
VA: A mother from Arlington VA carefully handed the violin played
by her teenage daughter to Martha Smith, Virginia's MusicLink coordinator.
She knew how her daughter, now deceased, had loved to play the
instrument and wanted to have another deserving student share that
joy. Martha sought out the perfect student for this instrument -
Dulguun Khaltar a multiply talented teenager recently emigrated
from Mongolia who is studying violin and piano through MusicLink
with Jeanne Lowe, and will soon start voice lessons as well. Martha
will be sure to invite this mother to the annual MusicLink recital
this Spring to hear the violin sing once more under the fingers
of a talented teenager.
CO: Vladislav Boguinia is an exceptionally talented MusicLink student
of Barbara Barber of Estes Park. Vladislav received a violin and
bow from the House of Weaver through the instrument request program
that will make a real difference in his musical training. He and
his brother, Yuri, are members of a string quartet called Novus
Amadeus Quartet. They both play violin, viola, and piano, have
won numerous competitions and perform in the Boulder Youth Symphony.
WA: What a difference a bench can make! Valerie Tedrow of Tacoma
could tell that A'lasia had musical potential and her mother managed
to save enough for a digital piano. However, it had no bench and
Valerie discovered that A'lasia was actually standing up to practice.
To the rescue, Kerry Prosser of Prosser Piano and Organ, a MusicLink
The new bench was a surprise at the next lesson, bringing a smile
to A'lasia's face. Prosser agrees, noting that "Seeing the joy
in a child's face is what it is all about. Keep up the good work,
you will be blessed by your giving many times over! Glad I could
participate in a positive way."
We also love to see the smiles on the faces of our thriving young
musicians and wish to thank all the business and public donors
who have generously provided instruments and funding to support
our students. We are making beautiful music together!