Rochester, N.Y. — A local company is putting world-class music education in the hands of students who may not otherwise be able to attain it.
First Niagara has given the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music a $10,000 gift to support music lessons and mentorship of Rochester City School District students, many of whom wouldn’t be able to afford private music lessons. The support will make a tremendous impact on the lives of musically inclined students who come from a district where 80 percent of the families are below the federal poverty line, according to statistics posted on the Rochester City School District’s web site.
The gift is part of First Niagara’s statewide “Mentoring Matters” initiative, and the funding will go to the Eastman Community Music School’s Eastman Pathways program. This is the second year in a row First Niagara has supported Eastman Pathways.
The Eastman Pathways program, a partnership between the Eastman Community Music School and the Rochester City School District, provides approximately 70 outstanding Rochester 5th through 12th grade students with scholarship aid to pursue an education from a world-renowned music school located right in their hometown. Each week, the students receive private music lessons and classes in music theory, music history, or piano. The school matches recommended students with experienced mentors who work closely with these children, their families, and teachers to help ensure student success.
The program has been in existence since 1997, but the new funding will add new Eastman student mentors and allow increased mentoring hours. The Eastman students will tutor and mentor the city school district students, and be matched with them based on instrument. By receiving direct encouragement to be diligent about their practice habits, students will be increasingly prepared for the rigors of further education and life pursuits.
Eastman Pathways provides music lessons at no or low cost to students. Students are recommended for the program by their public school music teachers, and accepted on the basis of an audition.
“There’s no doubt that lessons learned at an early age stay with you throughout your life,” said Jan Angus, a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and coordinator for Eastman Pathways. “These students are at a vital crossroad in their musical life, whether this is a future profession or hobby. We hope to guide them both in life and in their musical education.”
“The quality of our Pathways students continues to achieve ever higher levels,” said Howard Potter, associate dean for Community and Continuing Education and director of Eastman Pathways. “We are proud to say that in its twelfth year, the Eastman Pathways program has inspired many Rochester City School District students to pursue higher education. Highlighting the importance of mentorship at the Eastman Community Music School, we now have two alumni from the Eastman Pathways program who are currently pursuing their college degrees at the Eastman School of Music.”
First Niagara’s latest gift to the Eastman Pathways program occurs during National Mentoring Month. Since 2002, President George W. Bush has proclaimed January as National Mentoring Month to recognize the importance of mentoring in helping young people achieve their full potential.
About First Niagara
Founded as a community bank more than 139 years ago in Lockport, N.Y., First Niagara is a financial services company offering a range of personal and commercial banking solutions, as well as investment and insurance products. While dedicated to the same community-oriented philosophy, First Niagara is able to serve a greater number of customers with added products, services and convenience. First Niagara is located in 23 counties, with a workforce of 2,000 and 114 branches that span across New York State. The parent company, First Niagara Financial Group, Inc., trades on the NASDAQ National Market System under the symbol FNFG.
About the Eastman Community Music School
The Eastman Community Music School (www.esm.rochester.edu/community) opened in 1921, at the same time as the Eastman School of Music. George Eastman’s vision was to create both a world-class music conservatory and a community music school dedicated to the musical education of area residents. Approximately 1,300 area citizens, ranging in age from 4 months to well over 90 years of age, enroll annually for classes, lessons, and ensembles in the Eastman Community Music School. The Eastman Community Music School receives many benefits from its affiliation with the world-class Eastman School of Music, such as shared faculty, extensive facilities (including concert/rehearsal halls and the world-famous Sibley Music Library), and an artistic environment which includes recitals, concerts, lectures, and master classes.
About the Eastman School of Music
The Eastman School of Music (www.esm.rochester.edu), located in Rochester, N.Y., is one of the world’s leading and top ranked music schools, educating 500 undergraduate and 400 graduate students annually in performance, composition, jazz studies and contemporary media, music education, theory, conducting, and musicology. The Eastman School was established in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Company, as the first professional school of the University of Rochester. The School’s more than 95 full-time faculty members include Grammy winners, Guggenheim Fellows, ASCAP Award recipients, and recording artists. Eastman’s prominent alumni include opera singers Renée Fleming, Anthony Dean Griffey, and the late William Warfield; jazz musicians Maria Schneider, Ron Carter, and Chuck Mangione; and composers Charles Strouse, Michael Torke, and the late Alexander Courage.
The school has 900 students enrolled in the collegiate division of the Eastman School, with 500 undergraduate and 400 graduate students. Students come from almost every state of the country with about 25 percent coming from abroad. About 260 new students enroll each year selected from more than 2,000 applicants.
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