Orchestra fundraiser to benefit youth
LaGRANGE — Tickets to the Tony award-winning musical “Hamilton” have been sold out practically since its premiere, but on Tuesday the LaGrange Symphony Guild will be selling tickets to see the show and meet the cast in hopes to encourage the next generation of musicians.
The Symphony Guild will be selling tickets to five different trips – including an American Girl shopping spree, a gourmet experience in Napa Valley and Cubs tickets at Wrigley Field – along with silent auction items at the its annual My Favorite Things Luncheon at Del’Avant. The guild is a nonprofit organization, and all the profits from the fundraiser will benefit the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra’s youth programs.
“In the last four years, since the budget cuts happened in the schools and music’s been pulled out, we’ve been charged with a mission to make up for these programs that were dissolved, and we’re taking it very seriously,” said Symphony Guild President Liz Greer. “The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra has put together just unbelievable programs for children. Not just unbelievable for this area, but unbelievable for any area because the quality, the instruction. And these programs are very expensive, and so the guild … takes it very seriously that we help them raise the money that they need to expand these programs to as large as they’d like to expand them.”
The guild funding goes toward a variety of programs for the children of Troup County schools, including private school and home school students, in order to bring music to those children.
“All of work the Symphony Guild does supports our youth initiatives, and our youth initiatives do several things,” said Raylene Carter, the LSO executive director. “We have a youth orchestra, which is high school students. We have a string ensemble, which is (for younger) than high school students. We have a summer music camp. We do a musician in school program every year …”
The list goes on, but programs are not limited to children from high-income households. The guild’s fundraising efforts through events like the My Favorite Things Luncheon make it possible for children from all backgrounds to learn to play instruments.
“We don’t just want children who are privileged to be playing,” Greer said. “We want any child who wants to pick up a violin and play. We want to be able to provide scholarships for them. We want them to be able to rent instruments when they can’t buy them. We want to make it possible for every single child, and that’s what we’re doing.”
The LSO hopes that the programs will help the children who participate gain confidence that will follow them through their lives and will gain a love and appreciation for classical music through the programs.
“It’s been proven so many times what music does for the brain, but I also think music is good for music,” said Celeste Myall, director of education outreach for the LSO and conductor for the youth orchestra. “I think if you don’t start to experience classical music when you’re young, you’re not going to like it when you’re older, and it is so traditionally nondiverse. … Our orchestras are all very diverse, and that makes me happy because we are exposing people of all – not just races, but income levels.”
The funds raised by the Symphony Guild through the luncheon are integral to providing access to the programs to local children, said LSO officials. Vendors from LaGrange, Pine Mountain, Manchester and Columbus will be helping with the My Favorite Things Luncheon, but the event requires the support of the community in order to continue to grow and train LaGrange’s next generation of musicians, officials added.
“There are people who really, financially, cannot afford it, or cannot afford an instrument, but would love for their children to have the opportunities, and we do believe that this should be something that we find a way to make available regardless of someone’s ability to pay,” Carter said. “But when it’s all said and done, we do have to pay for the instruments. We do have to pay the teachers, and so we have to find a way to effectively raise the money that supports the programs.”
My Favorite Things is set for Tuesday at 10 a.m., with the luncheon beginning at noon at Del’Avant. Tickets may be purchased for $55 now through Friday by contacting Liz Greer at 706-333-1482.