Grant provides start for school symphony

Agnes Hapka

November 5, 2013

POINT PLEASANT — A new grant will provide two of Mason County’s elementary schools with some money to purchase stringed instruments with a view to setting up a school orchestra over the next few years.

Suzanne Dickens, superintendent for the county schools, said that the grant for $6,500 from the Mason County Community Foundation and the Jackson Foundation will provide a start for a beginning strings program. The money will enable around 20 students initially to take group violin and viola lessons. The grant includes money to contract an instructor who is affiliated with the Ohio Valley Symphony.

Dickens said that Point Pleasant Primary and Point Pleasant Intermediate Schools applied for the grant and were awarded funds, after which those schools sent home fliers to all of their first through sixth grade students. The students and their parents were invited to attend an informational meeting, and watch and listen to a demonstration of the instruments.

“Students who signed up for the program were measured for their instruments, which have been ordered and will arrive in four to six weeks,” said Dickens.

Mario Liberatore of the Jackson Foundation said that the aim of the grant is to introduce students to stringed instruments at an early age, “in the hopes of starting a youth symphony in Mason County.”

“This is just a start,” Liberatore said. “We hope it will evolve into an orchestra down the road.”

Dickens added that she hopes the program will eventually expand to encompass all the county schools.

“If we are successful with this pilot program, we will encourage additional elementary schools to join the program, as well as our secondary schools,” Dickens said.

“This is just a beginning,” Dickens concluded. “It will take a number of years to grow an orchestra but this is our beginning.”