NTN funds free FFY music lessons

At right, Vanessa Edwards, the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic education director, and Molly Dye, left, perform with the Columbus Philharmonic Youth Ensemble. Mike Wolanin | The Republic

The Columbus Indiana Philharmonic’s youth music education programs are reaching out to another part of the local community with the help of a local manufacturer.

NTN Driveshaft Inc. is funding the initiative that begins as a free violin program — with take-home instruments — Sept. 16 at Foundation For Youth, 405 Hope Ave. That news, which Philharmonic Music Director David Bowden called “a major announcement,” was made at the Philharmonic’s annual meeting Monday at the Columbus Area Visitors Center downtown.

The local professional orchestra has earned accolades from music leaders, other orchestras nationally, Grammy-winning artists such as Sylvia McNair and others for devoting about 20 percent of its $943,000 annual budget to youth music education.

The orchestra’s before-school and after-school strings classes are in every public elementary school in Bartholomew County, according to orchestra leaders. Vanessa Edwards, also the Philharmonic’s principal second violin, coordinates the program.

“This is something about which NTN is very, very passionate,” said David Bowden, the Philharmonic music director. “And we are delighted that we can work with them at Foundation for Youth.”

Barry Parkhurst, NTN’s vice president for administration and chief financial officer, said the commitment is in line with the company’s other community endeavors focusing on youth and education.

Since the orchestra’s beginnings, Bowden has stressed that the organization is about far more than concerts. In fact, in the orchestra’s early days, he frequently encouraged concert attendees to themselves learn an instrument for their own enjoyment, growth and health.

In the past few years, he has spent time speaking to community groups about the huge impact music has on everything from youngsters’ learning ability to older people’s memory and mental sharpness.

Besides the strings program, the Philharmonic also boasts a youth orchestra, an annual Adventure Concert for younger students, a strings camp, a choral festival camp, an early childhood program and a Columbus Indiana Children’s Choir that has toured Europe and elsewhere and has performed at Carnegie Hall.

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To find out more about the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic’s new music program at Foundation for Youth, or any other of its youth music efforts: 812-0376-2638 or thecip.org.

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For more on the Philharmonic Orchestra’s annual meeting and speaker, see Page A3.