The Grande Ronde Symphony Association (GRSA) is pleased to announce the receipt of a generous grant from the Fred W. Fields Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation for a two-year project to provide opportunities for La Grande School District students to engage in arts learning related to string and orchestra ensembles. The project dubbed as SOAR – String and Orchestral Arts Revitalization – will ultimately provide a return of orchestral music arts to the La Grande elementary and middle school, after a nearly 35-year vacancy in sixth through twelve grades.
According to GRSA President, Alice Trindle, “The vision of this phased project is to see a diverse array of opportunities for the youth of the La Grande School District to participate in a string and orchestral ensembles.” She continued, “Currently, over 60 students, third through fifth grades, are enrolled in Fiddle Club and there is a clear need to provide the next step in keeping these children engaged with discovering the joy of making music as a life-long pursuit.”
La Grande School District Superintendent, George Mendoza commented, “As Superintendent I am very excited about the implementation of SOAR. The La Grande Schools are dedicated to the vision of fueling a student’s imagination and creativity, and a thriving orchestral program will provide varied, relevant and high-quality opportunities for students to engage in arts learning.” Mr. Mendoza concluded, “This program will not only expose the student to a variety of cultures via music, but there is an abundant amount of research which indicates that students who receive arts and musical instruction tend to have increased attendance, are more engaged, and even strengthens parent and community involvement.”
A SOAR planning team will soon be formalized to assist the Grande Ronde Symphony Assocation and La Grande Schools in administrering the details of the $83,000 two-year grant award. “We will be pulling together the Fiddle Club programs, the Grande Ronde Student Symphony, and existing music programs at the La Grande Middle and elementary schools to develop a continum of music education that will sustain well into the future,” commented Ms. Trindle.