Twelve school districts will receive funding through St. Croix Valley Foundation’s competitive Music Education Grants Program. Funds will be used to purchase new instruments and equipment, …
Twelve school districts will receive funding through St. Croix Valley Foundation’s competitive Music Education Grants Program. Funds will be used to purchase new instruments and equipment, broaden cultural connections to music and provide masterclasses to students throughout the St. Croix Valley.
One unique project involved a collaboration between Stillwater and Hudson school districts and UW-River Falls. Funds from the Music Education Grant helped bring the internationally renowned Barcelona Clarinet Players to the area for a weeklong residency. During their time here, the clarinetists led high-energy masterclasses and performed for middle and high school students. The professional ensemble also performed with the UWRF Symphony Band.
“The Barcelona Clarinet Players inspired our students to see what is possible in performing music in small ensembles,” said Tark Katzenmeyer, lead band director at Stillwater Area High School. “The energy, charisma and kindness of the musicians earned instant respect from the musicians at Stillwater Area High School. Additionally, students saw that music is truly an international language that can open doors to travel and other life-changing experiences.”
Turtle Lake School District and St. Patrick School will use their grants to encourage broader understanding of music from around the world. St. Patrick School will introduce students to the music of Siama Matuzungidi, a Congolese musician based in Minnesota who specializes in performing for children. Matuzungidi sings and plays multiple instruments, including guitar and traditional African instruments like mbira (thumb piano), lokole (tone drum) and balafon (marimba).
Several other districts will purchase new instruments and equipment, including a sousaphone (Luck), a euphonium (Spring Valley), marching band equipment (Baldwin-Woodville and Osceola) and microphones (River Falls).
Music Education Grants were established by retired music teacher Nyda Swanson, who generously donated to create a Field of Interest Fund. Swanson envisioned rich opportunities for students throughout the region to connect with music in meaningful ways. In the 20 years since the fund was established, more than $600,000 has been awarded to benefit music education and experiential learning throughout the St. Croix Valley.
“It’s humbling and inspiring to think of the countless ways Nyda’s donation has benefited students in our area,” said Angie Pilgrim, Director of Community Impact at St. Croix Valley Foundation. “School districts use these grants creatively and the result is often the beginning of a lifetime interest in music for their students.”
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Submitted by St. Croix Valley Foundation