Paducah Symphony Orchestra raises funds for music academy start-up costs | New

The Paducah Symphony Orchestra has officially launched a campaign to raise funds to cover the start-up costs of its new music academy on the former campus of Walter C. Jetton High School.

“All this money from the launch campaign will be used specifically to have an impact on the education that will be provided at the academy, as it will all be things like pianos, desks and chairs. That’s all the equipment that will be used in this academy, ”PSO executive director Reece King told The Sun.

“This will not be used for operational money because (this) has already been budgeted for, and the budgets have all been established separately from this money.”

The campaign was launched this month, but the symphony already has $ 515,000 pledged by donors – much of which was pledged before the campaign kicked off. The goal is to have $ 600,000 for starter equipment by the end of 2022, as the symphony prepares to open the academy in 2023.

There are still nomination opportunities for donors for areas within the academy.

“I think it shows the passion this project has within the community. We are certainly passionate about this, ”he said, on the commitments.

“We weren’t sure how this passion would translate, but it obviously translates pretty well as there seem to be a lot of people out there who are really excited about this and think it can really change the community, which I really believe is. I am very encouraged by that – that people seem to feel the same way about the project that we are running. ”

The academy’s campaign comes after an official groundbreaking ceremony took place in August, when Louisville-based developer The Marian Group, City of Paducah officials, the symphony, and community members alike. helped celebrate The Marian Group’s $ 14.6 million redevelopment project on the Jetton campus.

“The Dunlap”, located at 401 Walter Jetton Blvd., involves the renovation of existing apartment units, the construction of new apartment units (for 42 in total) and the restoration of the dilapidated Symphony Hall and gymnasium. It will be a mixed-use establishment with accommodation for the workforce and artistic programming.

The construction time is estimated at around 18 months.

The symphony, which signed a lease for a tenant space, will move its administrative offices there and open the academy. It will use Symphony Hall for smaller performances, while also hosting regular concerts at the Carson Center. With the academy, the symphony wants to “fill the void” and offer orchestral instrument lessons at below-market prices in order to create better access to music education.

“We have put in place a subscription to cover some of these costs, which will allow these lessons to be taught at below-market rates,” King said.

Once opened, the academy will be an opportunity for students from the region to stay closer to home and take music lessons on certain instruments. Some instruments currently require going to another city, such as Murray, Clarksville, Tennessee, or Carbondale, Illinois, to obtain private instruction. This type of education can be essential for a student to obtain scholarships at the university.

Steven Page, who teaches orchestra and choir at Heath Middle School, said it would allow students access to the best teachers without having to travel.

“When I was in high school and college, I had to go to Murray to take trombone lessons once a week,” he told The Sun.

“It paid off with scholarships and a future career, but it was only really possible because I had two parents at home, and only one sibling, and grandparents. – they could help me with the rides. So, for many children, traveling to find professional teachers is not an option.

Page said his eldest son, who is now in college, will be traveling to Carbondale for French horn lessons, while his daughter travels to Clarksville about once a month to take harp lessons.

“There is no harp teacher in Paducah, and so for her to learn this instrument, she has to travel to Clarksville for it,” he added.

“Her harp teacher plays with the symphony, so about once a month she’s in Paducah. When we can have the lessons here in Paducah, we have to find a church to have them or something like that because there isn’t really a space to do it.

Lindsey Williams, director of bands and ropes for Paducah Middle School, said she was excited when she heard about the academy.

“We have places in our community where students can take string lessons – violin, viola, cello, bass – but it has been several years since we had official wind and brass lessons available. in town, ”she said, before noting that the academy will open so many doors for students to get individual education.

The most important thing for Williams, when she thinks about the future academy, is the fact that you can have a student who stays with an instrument longer because they will feel more successful with these lessons.

“I’m just thrilled to have more musicians in our community doing educational work with our children. I think it’s going to be really positive, and it’s going to create more musicians for the symphony, you know, as they get older, ”she added. “I am really excited about all he has to offer. “

Anyone interested in more information about the symphony concerts, programs and how to donate can visit

Follow Kelly Farrell on Twitter, @ KellyAFarrell11

Follow Kelly Farrell on Twitter, @ KellyAFarrell11

Follow Kelly Farrell on Twitter, @ KellyAFarrell11

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