The Music Conservatory of Sandpoint understands how significant music is to community and youth development. “Being successful in learning music can provide a foundation for success in a student’s other endeavors, both personal and academic,” said Karin Wedemeyer, executive director of the conservatory.
A $13,500 Equinox Foundation grant from Innovia Foundation aided the conservatory in expanding its programs for educating youth. During the 2016-17 school year, the conservatory provided 32 weeks of after-school instruction to 83 students in grades 2-12. The conservatory loaned instruments to over half of these students, and most of the group kept their instruments over the summer to continue practicing.
The conservatory allowed students to participate in choir and orchestra – the only full instrument youth orchestra in a 60-mile radius – as well as giving them group lessons in voice, music theory and various instruments. The organization was also able to afford new staff, including three section leaders for the orchestra, and the instructors provided valuable mentorship for students.
Throughout the year, the conservatory’s ensembles performed concerts and other outreach productions in the surrounding communities, demonstrating artistic excellence and fostering a sense of social cohesion.
“We are always in awe when the children perform in the semi-annual performances,” said Debbie, mother of two students participating in the program. “The professionalism and compassion of the instructors, the excitement we see in the children, and the appreciation and support of our community… It is clear to us the importance of offering the MCS programs to the children of this community.”