RocMusic, a community-based program that provides after-school tuition-free music and string instruction to children in the City of Rochester, will hold its first annual benefit event on Friday, May 16. Funds raised will be used to purchase instruments for current and future students.
The benefit event, which will be held at the David F. Gantt Community Center at 700 North St. in Rochester, begins at 7 p.m. with a dessert reception and silent auction, followed by a concert at 7:45 p.m. featuring RocMusic students and musicians from the Eastman School of Music, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, SUNY Geneseo, Nazareth College, Hochstein School of Music and Dance, and Penfield Symphony Orchestra.
“One of our most expensive operational costs is instrument rental, and we want to ensure a plan for program sustainability while also building a bank of quality instruments for dedicated students to use in their musical development,” said Alexander Peña, director of RocMusic. “We also are hoping to expand our life-changing nonprofit music program to more community centers in downtown Rochester in the future.”
Tickets to the event are $25 and can be reserved online at rocmusic.org .
Launched in 2012, RocMusic is inspired by Venezuela’s “El Sistema” program that produced internationally renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel. It is a partnership of the Hochstein School of Music & Dance, the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, the Eastman Community Music School, the Rochester City School District, the City of Rochester, and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.
RocMusic currently serves more than 50 students ages 6 through 18. Students in grades 1 through 3 receive instruction in singing, reading and writing music, and preparation for future string instrumental study by learning recorder and drums. Students in grades 4 and up receive group ensemble rehearsals and private lessons in violin, viola, cello, or double bass.
Students who have been in the program for the past two years will perform and join professional musicians for Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” Artists for the program of chamber and string orchestra music include double bassist Gaelen McCormick; violists George Taylor, Samantha Rodriguez, and Benjamin Magruder; soprano Joel Dyson, violinists Megan Kemp and Jenny Valitalo; oboist Terry Fonda Smith; cellists Kathleen Kemp and Annie Jacobs-Perkins; and RocMusic director Peña.
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