CHARLESTON - Gilmer County High School and Ravenswood Middle School are among 16 additional schools added to the VH1 Save the Music Foundation Program this fall in West Virginia.
Thirty-five middle and K-8 schools are in the program to build stronger music and band programs. 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."
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," he said. "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 who helps coordinate the West Virginia effort, 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. Reid-Smith said the matching partnership program allows interested organizations and individuals to donate $15,000 for the VH1 Save the Music Foundation match.
Save the Music Foundation
In addition to Gilmer and Ravenswood, schools added this fall were:
* Barboursville Middle School
* Belington Middle School
* Bluefield Middle School
* Clay Middle School
* Geary K to 8 School
* Independence Middle School
* Monongah Middle School
* Mount View Middle School
* Rainelle Middle School
* Shepherdstown Middle School
* Sherman Junior-Senior High School
* Suncrest Middle School
* Washington Irving Middle School
* Wheeling Middle School.
The schools, in turn, complete a comprehensive review of their music programs to demonstrate their eligibility.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.