CSU, Chico News

North State Symphony Receives Grant from McConnell Foundation to Support Classical Music for Children

Date: 04-06-2011

Joe Wills
Public Affairs
Keith Herritt
Executive Director, North State Symphony

The North State Symphony will launch a four-year project to provide an interactive experience between visiting classical music artists and local school students, thanks to a $96,000 grant from the McConnell Foundation.

The Classical Music for Children grant begins immediately by helping to underwrite student ticket and transportation costs this spring to the North State Symphony’s youth concert. However, the core focus of the grant begins next fall, when children’s music star Dr. Noize (aka Cory Cullinan) and North State Symphony Conductor Kyle Pickett work intensively with students at Redding School of the Arts to create an original classical music composition that will premiere at Redding School of the Arts next spring and play at youth concerts in fall of 2012.

“We are designing this to be a hands-on experience – students will be writing and performing a new piece of music that will be memorable and relative to their life and experiences,” said Pickett.

Redding School of the Arts, which expects to open at its new location next fall, hopes the partnership will excite students and encourage participation in its new Classics for Kidsprogram.

“This grant supports our key belief at Redding School of the Arts that when it comes to young minds, art enriches, expands and prepares students for a full life,” said Jean Hatch, co-admininistrator of Redding School of the Arts.

The grant also provides for guest artist visits at other Classics for Strings programs in the Redding area, and provides funding to support guest artist performances at the North State Symphony subscription concerts.

“Research shows music improves critical thinking and academic performance. The presence of classical music has also been a cornerstone of our civic society,” said Ann Prater, director of advancement for the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. “By offering an inspired musical experience, this grant supports today’s students while seeding a future audience to sustain classical music and the cultural arts of the North State.”

The project’s first guest artist, Dr. Noize, is a top children’s music artist on Sirius Xm, including his album “The Ballad of Phineas McBoof” with its No.1 hit song “Banana” and “Welcome to Grammaropolis.” This grant, imagined originally by Dr. Noize and Conductor Pickett, promises to make classical music as fun and accessible as Dr. Noize’s other good-humored productions.

“We can’t wait to show students the magic of a symphony, and believe once they touch and feel it, they will be transformed and become classical music fans for life,” said Pickett.

The North State Symphony is a program of the Department of Music at California State University, Chico. The Classical Music for Children project is funded in part by The McConnell Foundation, Redding, California. The McConnell Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to help build better communities through philanthropy. For more information on the project or the North State Symphony, phone the symphony office at 530-898-5984, or visit the North State Symphony website at www.northstatesymphony.org.