Music · published · school

Come see the instruments, but do not feed

This article originally appeared in the Rotunda on 3/26/17. An archive is here.

In correspondence with “Music in your Schools” month, Longwood University’s Gamma Kappa chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota has promoted the Prince Edward County school system’s music programs, working to raise money to support them.

In their latest fundraiser, students could be introduced to clean instruments that they may not have played before in an instrumental petting zoo.

Sigma Alpha Iota is an international women’s music fraternity and the Gamma Chapter’s president is senior Courtney Cunningham, a music education major. She said that the instruments were borrowed from Longwood’s music department.

“Our community service chair set all this up, she outreached to the community, (and) she emailed music teachers from Prince Edward County,” said Cunningham. Cunningham is a vocalist and she is currently taking piano lessons.

The community service chair is Montana Nelson, a sophomore and music performance major.

“They (students) get to try out all the instruments; a lot of them haven’t tried instruments before,” Nelson said. “So they get to play clarinet, flute, coronet, any percussion instrument, piano and then sax.”

Nelson, who plays the clarinet, said the petting zoo and music in your schools month are part of the fraternity’s Music in the Schools Initiative. This is the program through which Sigma Alpha Iota raises money for public K-12 music education. Throughout March, Sigma Alpha Iota held concerts and donation drives to gather funds. This petting zoo event also had a donation jar in which students could donate money for the cause.

“We have woodwinds, brass and percussion,” said Nelson. “So we have clarinet, saxophone, flute, coronet, and then we have mallet instruments, snare drums, bass drums.”

She also added, “We have a gong; one of the kids really liked to play the gong.”

Nelson stated she was very satisfied with the turnout for the event.

“I was happy with the turnout, actually, because it was the first time we’d ever done something like this in a really long time,” she said. “So the amount of people that came, I was happy with. We’re hoping to get more people next year, like advertise it more, make it like an annual type of thing.”

“I think that people will recognize Music in Our Schools Month as March,” said Cunningham. “Then they’ll see what we’re doing, or what the music department’s doing.”

Cunningham emphasized Sigma Alpha Iota is not just for women in a music major, but for any woman who has an interest in music.

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