Check out my fiance and some of his friends in the Baton Rouge Advocate yesterday:
What? You can't read the article from there? Well, here it is online. And here's a picture. You can see our friend Isabel helping a student in the front, and you can see Raul halfway cut off in the background by that same student.
Raul, Isabel, Joanna, and other graduate student friends of mine at LSU and other city musicians work in tandem with Ron Berhimgham, the artistic director of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, to bring violin lessons to a select group of students at Children's Charter in Baton Rouge. The students meet three times a week for two hours each session to pluck and learn. In just the course of this school year, these students have made enormous progress.
The project is, as the article indicates, modeled off of an extremely successful program that now exists in Venezuela. Bringing music to students of this age encourages brain development in logic and math as well as the development of discipline, team work, leadership, commitment, and all that other good stuff. Plus, putting instruments in the hands of Louisianians is always a good idea, as history shows.
As I understand it, the idea of this Baton Rouge project was always to slowly transition from mostly public funding to mostly private sponsors, while expanding the "conservatory" concept to more instruments and more schools. However, due to the economic situation, it appears that the transition will have to occur more quickly. So if you know any generous Baton Rouge-ians, either businesses or individuals, who would like to sponsor the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra conservatory program, send them here and encourage them to talk to Ron Bermingham.
To Ron and all my friends- I am so proud of you guys and all of the hard work you have done to make this possible!