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BCF Awards $5,800 Grant for School Music Program

schoolmusicThe Branford Community Foundation, the leader in supporting a variety of local philanthropic needs, programs and services for nearly 35 years, has distributed $5,800 in funding support for the purchase of new instruments for the Branford Public Schools (BPS) String Orchestra Program.

The BPS String Orchestra Program provides string instruments and instruction to children in the Branford community including violin, viola, cello, and string bass beginning in fifth grade and continuing through twelfth grade. 118 students currently benefit from the String Orchestra Program. Students in instrumental music programs typically rent instruments that are often not readily available and at high rental rates (for example: $500 per instrument per school year). BPS meets the challenge by providing all students who have an interest in playing music with instruments for home and in-school practice and concert performances. Distribution of new, high quality instruments enhances students interest in music, encourages regular practice, and increases concert performance quality, collectively motivating students to continue participation in the Program. In school year 2014, 64 fifth and sixth grade students began an unprecedented 400% growth participation over the previous school year in the BPS String Orchestra Program, thereby creating a strong and immediate need for additional instruments.

Support for the BPS String Orchestra Program comes from the Linda Edsall Winward and Walter Winward Fund of the Branford Community Foundation. The Fund was established in 2007 to support the needs of Branford Elementary and Middle School programs for which funding may not otherwise be available. Ms. Edsall Winward was a graduate of Branford High School class of 1960, where she was President of the Future Teachers of America Club. She earned a BA from American University and Masters of Education from Antioch College, leading to a 30+ year global teaching career that lead her to countries including Bahrain, Germany, Japan and Italy. Her spouse, Walter Winward, was an elementary school music teacher.

The Branford Community Foundation benefits all residents by pooling contributions from like-minded citizens, managing these funds with professional guidance, and then carefully granting a portion of the income generated to local, nonprofit organizations. As a multipurpose permanent local charitable endowment, the Branford Community Foundation helps to build a healthy and successful community by supporting everything from basic needs and health services, to local environmental issues and education, to the arts and other programs.

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia, from Ruthin School, Mold Road, Ruthin, Denbighshire, Wales UK http://www.ruthinschool.co.uk/)