By: Jeffrey D. Stauffer – Director, [email protected], 443-393-7696
The very best relationships are those that grow over time.
For those that have followed The Elville Center since its inception in June of 2014, you may recall the Center’s first relationship developed with Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie. A student at the school, Daniel Coleman, heard about The Elville Center after listening to his favorite station, 91.5 WBJC, and contacted us because he wanted to help his school’s band get better-equipped with more musical instruments. Our relationship with the school continues to this day, as we work with the school to provide instruments and other support to its music program, including working with the school’s music and orchestra director, Mr. Kevin Gillis, to help develop an orchestra program for the 2016-17 school year.
Daniel, meanwhile, has moved on to Central High School in Capitol Heights, and he is not only growing up but also expanding his talents by learning to play the violin. He also recognized the same need for help within Central High’s music department as Tasker’s, and reached out to The Elville Center again to see if we’d be interested in supporting his new school’s music program. Of course, our answer was a resounding “Yes!”
A meeting with set with John Bridgeo, scheduler, tech coordinator and math teacher at the school, and Band Director John Byass —- who immediately introduced us to the school’s gem, a vintage Steinway M grand piano that was in need of multiple repairs.
Though not directly involved in the music department, Mr. Bridgeo has a keen interest in the music program’s success as he has a storied background in music so long it could be put into book form. Mr. Bridgeo gave us a tour of the school, including its auditorium, which is home to five other schools’ concert performances along with Central High’s throughout the school year. It was very clear how much the Steinway meant to the school as well as other Prince George’s County’s music departments as so many schools benefit from its amazing sound during their performances in Central High’s auditorium.
We also discussed the need for additional pianos for the school, as over time all four of the upright pianos in the school’s music rooms broke down and were no longer functional.
Over the past couple months, The Elville Center got to work. Jordan Kitt’s Music was called upon to refurbish the Steinway, and a piano dolly was purchased and delivered to the school to place the Steinway on and protect it during its moves between performances. Further, two upright pianos were kindly donated to the charity (with a third on the way) and delivered to the school by Johnson’s Piano Moving and instruments and supplies have been donated to the school to improve the school’s musical instrument inventory.
“We have benefited twofold from our experience with the Elville Center,” noted Mr. Bridgeo. “The obvious major aspect of the help has been the financial boost from donated instruments and services that cover missing mouthpieces and reeds to refurbished instruments to a grand piano dolly and refurbishing of a Steinway grand piano for recitals, concerts and expanding list of uses. The other aspect of this two fold benefit has been the more personal partnership with The Elville Center who cuts through the usual misery of red tape and produces RESULTS. No vouchers or purchase orders with mounds of paperwork just what is, within reason, needed delivered often by The Elville Center. We couldn’t imagine a more effective relationship to help staff and students reach individual and institutional goals.”
It has been indeed our pleasure to work with such a fine group of teachers and students at Central High School in providing support to its music program. We are looking forward to our continued relationship with Central High School for many years to come!
If you know of a school or organization that could benefit from the assistance The Elville Center offers, please contact us. And, to learn how to make a musical difference in the life of a child by making a monetary pledge or donating a musical instrument, please visit our donate page.