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By:  Jeffrey D. Stauffer – Executive Director – Elville Center for the Creative Arts, Inc. 

“Music expresses feeling and thought, without language; it was below and before speech, and it is above and beyond and words.” – Robert G. Ingersol 

As the Elville Center for the Creative Arts celebrated its six-year anniversary in June, the foundation of its mission remains the same as we work to “Make a Musical Difference in the Lives of Children” each day by providing them the opportunity to learn music theory and application, experience cultural events related to the musical and creative arts, and to use music and the promotion of music-related activities to transcend social and economic divisions. The Elville Center partners with school music programs and other music organizations to give the gift of music to children of all ages who want to participate in music but don’t have the means to do so on their own. We do this by refurbishing donated musical instruments, purchasing new instruments for programs, providing rental instruments, offering support to develop music programs, partnering with professional symphonies and other organizations to fund music education initiatives, and much more. 

Though the situation has improved, as we know the COVID discussion has not gone away in schools and now more than ever the support of interested clients and community members like you is critical to the Elville Center’s continued ability to keep music alive, and in many cases, help restore and enhance music to schools and the thousands of student musicians in Maryland that aren’t afforded the opportunities they desire to participate in music. School music programs are being defunded, and countless programs in existence don’t have the necessary funding, instruments, equipment, and supplies to give student musicians the experiences they deserve and desire. Teachers do not have their own money to pour into their programs to pay for needed equipment, supplies, and instruments – but they sometimes pour their own money into their programs anyway for the benefit of their students they believe in and care about so much. To make matters more difficult, music teachers are searching for and finding creative ways to teach music with students in masks in their rooms. The Elville Center must be part of the solution for these programs. 

Before we discuss how we’ve been helping our school music partners this fall semester, let’s talk a bit about some other organizations we support that are making a difference in children’s lives. 

The Baltimore Classical Guitar Society, which offers a groundbreaking “Guitars for Change” program for at-risk youths we’ve discussed in previous charity updates, is adding a new pilot program which will be under the umbrella of “Guitars for Change” – tentatively to be named “Guitars for Veterans.” 

This new initiative will be in collaboration with Perry Point VA Medical Center in Perry Point, Maryland. The program will provide veterans in its outpatient program with free acoustic guitars, lessons and accessories in a 10-week program starting in the spring of 2022. This program will be offered in both the spring and fall semesters with a summer course as well. After the veterans complete the 10-week course the guitars will be theirs to keep. 

Along with the many classical (nylon-string) guitars the Elville Center has provided the Guitars for Change program over the years, we have begun offering acoustic (steel-string) guitars to the new Guitars for Veterans program. I was fortunate to catch up with our good friend, president of the Baltimore Classical Guitar Society Asgerdur Sigurdardottir, the week before Thanksgiving and delivered eight fully refurbished acoustic and classical guitars for the benefit of the Guitars for Change and Guitars for Veterans programs. 

If you have a guitar you would like to donate to the Elville Center, we are actively looking for classical and acoustic guitars to benefit the programs mentioned above. As always, all donations made to the Elville Center are tax-deductible. 

Before moving on, I wanted to share one more item about the Guitars for Change program that made my day recently. The following link is a performance by some of the program participants at a recent concert of the beautiful song “Remember Me” from the hit movie “Coco.” Many of the guitars being used were donated by the Elville Center! I encourage you to watch – it will be the best three minutes of your day! You can view it here — https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=vC-hKrbQmac 

Moving on, as Executive Director of the Elville Center for the Creative Arts, Inc., I am thrilled to announce the Elville Center has signed a five-year commitment to continue as a major sponsor of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. Steve Elville and I were afforded the opportunity to meet with ASO Executive Director Dr. Edgar Herrera, Annapolis Symphony Academy Director Dr. Netanel Draiblate, and ASA Program Coordinator Julie Nolan at the ASA’s home at Temple Beth Shalom in Arnold in early November to learn more about the ASO’s recent activities and initiatives. We also wanted to learn how our support could be make the biggest impact for the ASO community, not just now but over the next several years. 

We learned the Annapolis Symphony Academy is the educational arm to the ASO and has expanded from 20 students at its inception to over 60 in just over a few years. I think it is expressed best by ASO Music Director Jose-Luis Nov and Dr. Draiblate in the ASA’s introductory video. In the video they said, among other thoughts, “We have some exciting news to share. ASA launched three years ago and has experienced exponential growth. Students experience private lessons, orchestral training, guest workshops, and access to Annapolis Symphony Orchestra rehearsals and concerts. Teachers are actual ASO musicians, and it is extremely rare to be afforded this opportunity to learn from such experienced teachers. The ASO is equal opportunity to all and has a diverse student body, and financial aid is available. Music is vital to any child’s development, developing and enhancing brain activity and further developing brain activity and allowing better language skills, leadership abilities, and academic abilities. Albert Einstein, Neil Armstrong, and Thomas Edison are just a few examples of incredible individuals who played musical instruments.” 

Dr. Draiblate’s and Maestro Novo’s full message can be found at www.TunedToYouth.org and I strongly encourage you to check it out! 

This is an extremely important endeavor for the Elville Center, as the ASO and its strong educational initiatives through the Annapolis Symphony Academy check every box within the Center’s mission of improving the quality of life of children of all ages by providing them the opportunity to learn music theory and application, experiencing cultural events related to the musical and creative arts, and using music and the promotion of music-related activities to transcend social and economic divisions. When asked to comment on the Elville Center’s new long-term commitment to the ASO, Dr. Draiblate remarked, “We are immensely thankful for the generosity of the Elville Center for the Creative Arts in support of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra’s educational programs, primarily our biggest and newest initiative: The Annapolis Symphony Academy. Over the next five years this gift will provide more students access to high-level musical instruction given by leading Annapolis Symphony Orchestra musicians, regardless of the student’s background or ability to pay. The Annapolis Symphony Academy is an afterschool music program of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, providing private lessons, ensemble training and concert access among other musical opportunities to students in the MD/DC/VA area. The Academy offers need-based financial aid to those who cannot afford musical instruction and is designed to address the lack of diversity in the modern American orchestra. About fifty percent of our student body hails from underrepresented backgrounds in the orchestral landscape. This 50/50 model promotes interaction, the ability to bridge differences, and promote long-lasting relationships through music.” 

We wish to thank Dr. Herrera, Dr. Draiblate, Ms. Nolan and everyone at the ASO and ASA for their partnership and leadership in the music education arena for children of all backgrounds. The best is yet to come! 

As has been the case since our inception, the Elville Center continues to make our school music program partners a primary focus of the work we do on a daily basis. Providing donated refurbished musical instruments to children who want to participate in music but cannot afford an instrument is vital to ensure all students who want to explore music have the opportunity to do so. Most school music programs simply do not have the inventory to provide every student with an instrument that needs one. This fall the Elville Center delivered over 50 instruments to schools throughout central Maryland, which is one of my favorite parts of my role as executive director of the charity. We’ve developed new relationships with many schools over the past several months, including Bodkin Elementary in Lake Shore, Braddock Middle in Cumberland, West Annapolis Elementary in Annapolis, Annapolis Elementary in Annapolis, Germantown Elementary in Annapolis, and Ducketts Lane Elementary in Elkridge, with other new relationships pending. Seeing the smiles on the hardworking teachers’ faces and the gratitude they express when I visit them cannot be overstated. Below are comments from some teachers I visited recently with instruments in hand sharing their thoughts about how the Elville Center have benefitted their school music programs and student musicians: 

Ms. Carol Cox, NBCT – Instrumental Music – Bodkin Elementary (Lake Shore)

 “Elville Center for the Creative Arts, Inc. under the direction of Jeff Stauffer has been nothing short of a huge blessing for my public school programs. Historically, many of the school instruments that are lent to students in need are “well loved” and often older than the student — some are, dare I say, even older than myself. Thanks to the Elville Center, I have been able to accommodate more students with high-quality instruments and have even been able to retire some instruments in my inventory. Without their help, the time and effort to make these upgrades happen would have kept dozens and dozens of children from experiencing the joy of instrumental music! Thank you to Steve Elville, Jeff Stauffer and the Elville Center for the Creative Arts!!” 

Mr. Andrew Ritenour – Band Director – Germantown Elementary, West Annapolis Elementary, and Annapolis Elementary

“As a Title 1 school, Germantown, West Annapolis, and Annapolis Elementary Schools serve many students who are financially unable to rent or buy instruments to participate in Band and Orchestra. Donations like those through the Elville Center for the Creative Arts help to ensure that all students – regardless of economic status – can enjoy the benefits of a well-rounded education inclusive of instrumental music. We are lucky to have the support of Mr. Elville, Mr. Stauffer, and the Elville Center for the Creative Arts and thank all who have supported this foundation to make these experiences accessible to our students!” 

Ms. Christine Brimhall – Director of Instrumental Music – Monarch Academy Annapolis 

Thank you for your donation of instruments to Monarch Annapolis. We have received one saxophone, three trumpets, and a flute. Your donation will be used by the students at our Title 1 School. The students that will use these instruments and materials are students that are unable to rent the necessary items to participate in band or strings. With your donation, more students can participate in instrumental music. In addition, these materials will remain at Monarch Annapolis so that future students can participate in our music program. Again, thank you for your support!”

Dr. Maximus Vanderbeek – Instrumental Music and Band Director – Wiley H. Bates Middle School 

“Bates Middle school in Annapolis has benefited in great ways from the Elville Center for the Creative Arts. They continue to provide funding support for a monthly guest professional artist to visit our band students. They provide much needed funds for things like clarinet and saxophone reeds which our students’ families typically cannot provide. Lastly, they recently donated eight quality refurbished instruments to our band and orchestra. The impact of this cannot be overestimated. Thank you to the Elville Center from all of us at Bates Middle.” 

After speaking with many teachers and organizational leaders in the community over the years, I dare say it is not a stretch to say we are a very unique program here at the Elville Center for the Creative Arts, and we are blessed to have donors and interested readers like you help make our vision of “Making a Musical Difference in the Lives of Children” each day a reality. I constantly here statements to the effect of, “I had no idea there was a program like you around,” and “I’ve been needing something like this for the longest time and am so glad we found each other.” 

The Elville Center needs your support to further its important work and help develop new relationships that are depending on the charity. Every one of the refurbished instruments and equipment the Elville Center provides music programs along with educational initiatives we support are not possible without donor support. We need those instruments that you don’t use anymore and are taking up space. 

And, most importantly, we need your monetary support to help refurbish those instruments, purchase supplies, and facilitate cultural learning experiences for student musicians in need.

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, all donations made to the Elville Center are tax-deductible, and as we start off the new year, now is an ideal time to consider donations for tax deduction purposes – start the year off on the right foot!  To learn even more about the Elville Center for the Creative Arts, please visit www.elvillecenter.org, contact Jeff Stauffer at jeff@elvillecenter.org, or call 443-676- 9691. Or, to donate through Paypal or Venmo (@elvillecenter), visit www.elvillecenter/donate. We value and appreciate your support!

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From left to right, Executive Director Jeff Stauffer delivering instruments to Monarch Academy’s Christine Brimhall, Germantown Elementary’s Andrew Ritenour, and Bodkin Elementary’s Carol Cox.

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By:  Jeffrey D. Stauffer – Executive Director – Elville Center for the Creative Arts, Inc.

Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Mrs. Asgerdur Sigurdardottir, president of the Baltimore Classical Guitar Society.  Did you know that Baltimore is a hub for amazing classical guitar in the world and is home to one of the greatest classical guitarists in the world, Manuel Barrueco?

The Baltimore Classical Guitar Society offers many events, competitions, programs and concerts throughout the year.  It also offers a groundbreaking “Guitars for Change” program for at-risk youths we’ve discussed in previous charity updates and is adding a new pilot program which will be under the umbrella of “Guitars for Change” – tentatively to be named “Guitars for Veterans.”  This new initiative will be in collaboration with Perry Point VA Medical Center in Perry Point, Maryland. 

The program will provide veterans in its outpatient program with free acoustic guitars, lessons and accessories in a 10-week program starting in the spring of 2022.  This program will be offered in both the spring and fall semesters with a summer course as well.  After the veterans complete the 10-week course the guitars will be theirs to keep.

The Elville Center’s Jeff Stauffer and the world famous The Elville Center needs your support to further its important work.

Along with the many classical (nylon-string) guitars the Elville Center has provided the Guitars for Change program over the years, we have begun offering acoustic (steel-string) guitars to the new Guitars for Veterans program.  When I met with Mrs. Sigurdardottir last week I delivered eight fully refurbished acoustic and classical guitars for the benefit of the Guitars for Change and Guitars for Veterans programs.  

If you have a guitar you would like to donate to the Elville Center, we are actively looking for classical and acoustic guitars to benefit the programs mentioned above.  As always, all donations made to the Elville Center are tax-deductible.  

 I wanted to share one more item about the Guitars for Change program that made my day recently.  The following link is a performance by some of the program participants at a recent concert of the beautiful song “Remember Me” from the hit movie “Coco.”  Many of the guitars being used were donated by the Elville Center!  I encourage you to watch – it will be the best three minutes of your day!  You can view it here — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vC-hKrbQmac

On this Giving Tuesday, the Elville Center needs your support to further its important work and help develop new relationships that are depending on the charity.  Every one of the refurbished instruments and equipment the Elville Center provides music programs along with educational initiatives we support are not possible without donor support.  We need those instruments that you don’t use anymore and are taking up space.  And, most importantly, we need your monetary support to help refurbish those instruments, purchase supplies, and facilitate cultural learning experiences for student musicians in need.  As a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, all donations made to the Elville Center are tax-deductible, and as we approach the end of the year, now is an ideal time to consider those end of year donations for tax deduction purposes.  To learn more about the Elville Center for the Creative Arts, please visit www.elvillecenter.org, contact me at jeff@elvillecenter.org, or call 443-676-9691. Or, to donate through Paypal or Venmo (@elvillecenter), visit www.elvillecenter/donate.  We value and appreciate your support!

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By:  Jeffrey D. Stauffer, Executive Director – Elville Center for the Creative Arts, Inc.

 

Do you have an instrument taking up space in a closet or attic not being used anymore?  Perhaps your son or daughter has moved on to other activities and their instrument could use a good home!

As the fall semester in schools is underway, the Elville Center has developed many new school partnerships that have many, many needs for instruments for students that want to participate in band or orchestra but don’t have the means to do so on their own.  And, that’s where the Elville Center and you come in.

The Elville Center for the Creative Arts depends on people like you to donate musical instruments we then refurbish so they’re like new before we get them in the hands of student musicians in music programs we support in local schools.  We also fund other educational initiatives in schools as well as in organizations such as the Columbia Orchestra and The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, to name just a couple.  Virtually all instruments are gladly accepted – clarinets, trumpets, saxophones, violins, bassoons, flutes, guitars, cellos, baritones – and everything in between (no pianos or recorders, though – sorry!)

The Elville Center is a small charity and we work hard to make a difference in the communities we serve.  Typically, an instrument can cost  anywhere between $75 and $200 to refurbish.  And, as a small charity, we ask anyone looking to donate an instrument to consider making a monetary donation of $50 or more to help with the cost to refurbish the instrument and/or purchase necessary items such as a new case, new mouthpieces, reeds and other supplies.  If this is something you’re willing and able to do, it would be most appreciated and make a tremendous difference; however, if it is not, you’re still welcome to donate the instrument and it will find a good home with one

of our school music partners.

If you’re willing and able to donate, you can do so by visiting here — https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=TPBET4HBSGC6W

which is the donation page on our website.

 

The one instrument we are not accepting at this time are pianos, and this is for many reasons.  To learn how you can donate your piano, please view our suggestions on our website here.

Lastly, if you’d like the Elville Center to furnish a tax receipt for your instrument and/or monetary

donation, as a 501(c)(3) non-profit we’re very happy to do so.  The two pieces of

 

information we need to furnish this receipt are your full name and home address (to be used solely for this letter).

You’re welcome to drop off the instrument at our office, which is located within the office of Elville and Associates, P.C., an estate planning, elder law, and special needs planning firm based in Columbia.  The charity was founded by the firm’s Managing Principal and Lead Attorney, Stephen Elville.  I, Executive Director Jeffrey Stauffer, also work for the firm as its Community Relations Director.

To donate or for more information, please contact me at jeff@elvillecenter.org, or at 443-676-9691.  You can also fill out a contact form on our website home page by clicking here.

Thank you again for your interest in the Elville Center for the Creative Arts and have a wonderful day!  We value your support!

 

With appreciation,

 

Jeffrey D. Stauffer

Executive Director

Elville Center for the Creative Arts, Inc.

7100 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 190 Columbia, Maryland 21046

P:  443-393-7696 (Main)

E:  jeff@elvillecenter.org

W:  jeff@elvillecenter.org

 

 

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By: Jeffrey D. Stauffer – Executive Director – Elville Center for the Creative Arts, Inc.

“Music enhances the education of our children by helping them to make connections and broadening the depth with which they think and feel. If we are to hope for a society of culturally literate people, music must be a vital part of our children’s education.” – Yo-Yo Ma

As the Elville Center for the Creative Arts approaches its six-year anniversary in June, the foundation of its mission remains the same as we work to “Make a Musical Difference in the Lives of Children” each day by providing them the opportunity to learn music theory and application, experience cultural events related to the musical and creative arts, and to use music and the promotion of music-related activities to transcend social and economic divisions. The Elville Center partners with school music programs and local businesses to give the gift of music to children of all ages who want to participate in music but don’t have the means to do so on their own. The Elville Center refurbishes donated musical instruments, purchases new instruments for programs, provides rental instruments, offers support to develop music programs, partners with professional symphonies and other organizations to fund music education initiatives, and much more.

Due to COVID, now more than ever the support of interested clients and community members like you is critical to the Elville Center’s continued ability to keep music alive, and in many cases, help restore music to schools and the thousands of student musicians in Maryland that aren’t afforded the opportunities they desire to participate in music. School music programs are being defunded, and countless programs in existence don’t have the necessities to function properly to give student musicians the experiences they deserve. Teachers do not have their own money to pour into their programs to pay for needed equipment, supplies, and instruments. With COVID having affected schools since early 2020, music programs have been deemphasized even more with music teachers having to find creative ways to offer music remotely and in person. As schools prepare for full-time in person learning in the fall, the Elville Center is being counted on to support our school music partners so they are fully prepared for a successful fall semester.

Since our last update, the Elville Center has been busy strengthening current relationships and building new ones as we work to assist as many music programs and student musicians as possible. Some of our stories are below. And to reiterate – these stories would not be possible without donations from people like you who support organizations like the Elville Center!

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra Sponsorship and Educational Initiatives

For a fifth consecutive season, the Elville Center is continuing its support as a major sponsor of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, a professional orchestra in Annapolis based in the historic Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. In 2019, the Center’s sponsorship paid for the bus transportation and tickets for 625 children, all from Title 1 schools, to attend the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Concerts for School- 22 children. The Symphony performs annual education concerts for more than 2,600 elementary schoolchildren from Anne Arundel County Public Schools. Taking place during the school day, these educational performances expose students to symphonic music in a theater setting, regardless of their socio-economic status. The Symphony strives to introduce elementary schoolchildren to live music performed by a professional orchestra; to teach students about the four instrument families; to engage young listeners with multi-media elements, such as theater, dance, magic or puppetry; and to reinforce that music is fun and accessible. Continuing our funding for this ASO’s educational initiative is our largest and arguably most important venture of the year, as it positively affects so many underprivileged students and directly fulfills our mission to give children the opportunity to experience cultural events related to music they never would have experienced otherwise.

The Annapolis Symphony Academy

As an offshoot to our relationship with the ASO, the Elville Center was recently introduced to the Annapolis Symphony Academy. Led by Founder and Director Netanel Draiblate, the

Academy’s mission is to provide high-level music education to students of all cultural and economic backgrounds, while addressing the under-representation of minority musicians in the classical music field.

According to the Academy’s “Model for Diversity” on its website, “Half of the Annapolis Symphony Academy student body is comprised of underrepresented minorities (in today’s U.S. orchestras) in a model that emphasizes interaction and mutual respect. Regardless of a student’s cultural background, and through the incredible generosity of our donors, the Academy awards up to fifty percent of its annual tuition revenue in need-based scholarships. We believe this model provides a truly diverse student body, as it merges two overlapping, yet nonidentical, concepts of equality onto one program. Students are selected for the program strictly based on merit as well as their drive to learn and become better musicians.”

Beginning in June, the Elville Center will be providing high-level donated refurbished musical instruments of all kinds to support the Academy’s mission and student musicians as they pursue their musical dreams through this groundbreaking educational opportunity.

Wiley H. Bates Middle School

The Elville Center continues to partner with its good friends at Bates Middle School, led by Director of Bands Dr. Maximus Vanderbeek and Orchestral Program Director Ms. Kirsten Taylor. This longstanding partnership is important as the instruments we provide Dr. Vanderbeek are divided among Bates Middle’s feeder elementary schools, expanding our reach to hundreds of additional student musicians in Anne Arundel County. Along with our continuing monthly financial support of its guest artist/student teacher program, over the past several months the Elville Center has provided Bates with over 20 instruments for the school’s large band program and Performing Visual Arts Program, and has begun to offer instruments to its orchestral program as well. A beautiful cello, a long-sought euphonium, tuba, violins, trumpets, flutes, and a rare cornet with a remarkable sound are now in the hands of Bates’ student musicians as music resonates through its halls in preparation for its next performance in the fall.

The Elville Center also orchestrated the delivery of a fine Roland KR-7 digital piano to Bates in May, which was donated to the charity by a former music instructor at Loyola University. While pianos are not typically something we delve into at the charity, when there is a need from one of our partners and an opportunity presents itself, the Elville Center will make it happen! “

At Wiley H. Bates Middle School here in Annapolis, we have benefitted greatly from the Elville Center for the Creative Arts donations,” noted Dr. Vanderbeek. “They generously have donated over 100 (!) various instruments to our Music Department (and we have a great need for these). Anne Arundel County Public Schools and our Bates community are extremely grateful for these. In addition, they professionally refurbish each instrument before they deliver it to us, and that is a key difference from other donated instruments. Please picture a 6th grade trumpet or violin student here being handed a nice trumpet in excellent working condition; because of the Elville Creative Center for the Creative Arts, this happens for all our music students here at Bates. We are so appreciative of this partnership for these reasons and many, many more.”

REACH! Partnership

In one of our most important endeavors to date, this April the Elville Center reconnected with the REACH! Partnership, a Baltimore City charter school whose band program is in its relative infancy; however, this does not mean the dreams and desire to enhance its students’ lives with music is not there – because it is with wholehearted enthusiasm! Hard work has been poured into the school’s band and choral programs over the past three years as they continue to grow scope and sound each year. The Elville Center recognizes this and wants to be part of the movement that is REACH! Partnership Music! With the assistance of the school’s remarkable Community Engagement Coordinator, Ms. Rhonda McKinney, the Elville Center delivered a large donation of instruments and supplies to the school, which included a five-piece Tama swingstar and ride drum set with high hat and crash

symbols; a Peavy amp; three Fender guitars with attachments for the amp; two trumpets; two clarinets and a flute.

In May, the Elville Center received information regarding how it can support the school’s choral program as well, so our donation to the school as the fall semester begins will include support for not only the band but the choral program as well. Mr. Dick Clark, band director at the school, remarked, “Music is the soundtrack of Life! When music programs were removed from schools as part of the curriculum or even as an extracurricular activity, we lost that soundtrack from our students. We missed that sound of creativity of art through various instruments and even in voice. It has always been the dream and desire of my principal, Dr. James Gresham, to have a music program at our school where we can bring that sound back to life!”

“Thanks to Mr. Stephen Elville, Mr. Jeff Stauffer and to the support of the Elville Center for the Creative Arts, this dream has now become a reality! We have a brand new 21st-century building with a music room, where we can now not only teach our students how to play various instruments but to learn how to appreciate music as an art. We have a choir that made their debut at our Christmas program in 2019! They have been going strong ever since! We appreciate the generous donations and are excited about hearing that soundtrack of life throughout our building.” Ms. McKinney continued with her thoughts about the importance of partnerships such as that of the Elville Center to REACH! Partnership’s growth and success, saying, “It is with sincere appreciation and a grateful heart that we say thank you for supporting the mission of the REACH Partnership School. We are excited about your contribution to support our students and staff. Your contribution of the musical instruments and other musical supplies has allowed us to better serve our school community. Having supportive partnerships is essential to the success of our Community School model. Our partnership remains 24 a promising vehicle in our collective efforts to servethe needs of our students and their families.”

The Columbia Orchestra

The Elville Center is proud to support the Columbia Orchestra’s Young People’s Concert for a fifth consecutive year. This year’s Concert took place on May 22nd at the Chrysalis amphitheater in downtown Columbia and was a hit with the kids and their families as it has been for years. A wonderful way to introduce children of all ages to music and the Orchestra, an ensemble, dancers from Dance Connections, and narrator Greg Jukes performed Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf! In addition, music from Moana, The Wizard of Oz, and more was enjoyed by all.

Germantown, West Annapolis, and Annapolis Elementary Schools

Not only is Dr. Vanderbeek at Bates Middle a valued partner of the Elville Center, he is a great referral partner as well, having suggested we reach out to Mr. Andrew Ritenour, Band Director at the three above-mentioned schools. In speaking with Mr. Ritenour, he shared with me some information about his programs, including the challenges COVID has presented over the past year. His schools serve high-poverty neighborhoods, and this year he had half the number of band students he would have in a typical year. Instruments are always needed at his schools, as students’ families typically don’t have the resources available to rent them. As we receive our next batch of donated refurbished instruments from our valued partner, Music & Arts Center of Severna Park, as he’s asked, we’ve assured Mr. Ritenour to expect a delivery of trumpets and saxophones for his bands, as well as violins for the orchestral program at his schools.

“My students and I are grateful for the instruments you send our way!” noted Mr. Ritenour. “Thank you so much for all you’re doing to put instruments in the hands of students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to play – sometimes their participation in these groups is the primary reason they want to come to school!”

The Elville Center needs your support to further its important work and help develop new relationships that are depending on the charity. Every one of the refurbished instruments and equipment the Elville  Center provides music programs along with educational initiatives we support are not possible without donor support. We need those instruments that you don’t use anymore and are taking up space. And, most importantly, we need your monetary support to help refurbish those instruments, purchase supplies, and facilitate cultural learning experiences for student musicians in need. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, all donations made to the Elville Center are tax-deductible. To donate or learn more about the Elville Center for the Creative Arts, please visit www. elvillecenter.org, contact Jeff Stauffer at jeff@elvillecenter.org, or call 443-676-9691. We value and appreciate your support!

“Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.” Plato

Posted

By:  Jeffrey D. Stauffer – Executive Director, Elville Center for the Creative Arts, Inc.

Wednesday was a great day for the Elville Center for the Creative Arts, and most importantly the school music programs and student musicians we support!

 Executive Director Jeff Stauffer and Audio-Visual Specialist Lucille Elville began their travels early in the morning, and their first stop was Germantown Elementary, a new partnership we’ve developed over the past few months.  We met Band and Orchestral Director Andrew Ritenour and delivered several trumpets, a beautiful cornet, a baritone, and a couple saxophones to benefit the student musicians in his programs.  

 Our next stop was around the corner to longtime partner and friend of the Elville Center Ms. Christine Brimhall, Instrumental Music Director at Monarch Academy Annapolis.  This was my fifth visit to Monarch over the years but Ms. Brimhall’s and my paths never have crossed until today!  She is a busy, busy teacher taking care of her young, budding student musicians.  Lucy and I delivered flutes, saxophones, and trumpets to her program today.  She couldn’t have been happier, and the same could be said for Lucy and me!

Our final stop took us up the road to Pasadena for a reunion with Ms. Carol Cox, who I hadn’t seen in a couple years as she’d transitioned to a new school, Bodkin Elementary, home of the Bulldogs.  As she always does, Ms. Cox invited us into her classroom where she had every type of instrument laid out on the floor where students have been busy trying them out as they decide which instrument they’d like to begin playing this year.  She mentioned the students were extremely excited to be back in the classrooms in person and to get started playing their instruments over the next week.  It was wonderful to see her as she is a bundle of positive energy.  It’s no wonder her students adore her so very much.  We dropped off five clarinets, a saxophone, and a couple trumpets to benefit her program. 

 Having Lucy there to document the day with some great pictures of me with these hardworking, dedicated teachers was extra special.  I will never, ever go on another visit to drop off instruments without Lucy by my side!

Earlier in the week, our good friend Dr. Max Vanderbeek of Wiley H. Bates Middle stopped by our office on his way to work – around 6:30 in the morning – to pick up several instruments we had waiting for him.  He left with a cello, a violin, a beautiful silver Bach trumpet, a few silver Geimenhardt flutes, and a saxophone for his very successful and growing Performing Visual Arts and Orchestral Programs.

On November 1st Elville Center founder Stephen Elville and I will be visiting the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and its educational program, the Annapolis Symphony Academy, to discuss our partnership with them and learn more about their plans for this fiscal year.    

I wish every day could be like Wednesday – but that is why we put the hard work in – to have days like that.  And, we simply cannot do it without your instrument donations and monetary support to refurbish those instruments so they’re like new when we deliver them to our school music partners.  We also regularly need to purchase new cases, mouthpieces, bows, and other equipment to supplement these instruments.  Please consider supporting the Elville Center today by donating here to help make more days like Wednesday a reality!  We have many, many instruments being refurbished right now and need your support to continue to “Make a Musical Difference in the Lives of Children” each day.  

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t say I was so fortunate to meet and spend a little bit of time with four hardworking, dedicated teachers this week.  These teachers spend their own money to make a difference in their students’ lives, work long hours, and care deeply about their students and the work they do.  Next time you have the opportunity, be sure to thank a teacher for the work they do!   

Until next time, thank you for your continued support and interest in the Elville Center for the Creative Arts!

#keepmusicalive #makingadifference #schoolmusic

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By: Stephen R. Elville – President and Founder of the Elville Center for the Creative Arts, Inc.

Good news is rare these days, but not at the Elville Center for the Creative Arts. The Elville Center is boldly continuing its work in 2021 to provide much needed musical instruments, music lessons, art- and dance-related activities, and cultural experiences to children and schools throughout Maryland.  How big is the need?  Huge.  

How many teachers, schools, and children need help?  Hundreds and thousands.  How much work is there to do?  A lifetime’s worth. How are these projects being funded? Through generous individual donations of instruments and funds to refurbish those instruments, monthly donations, and annual charitable contributions.  What is needed now? A $1 million charitable endowment to permanently fund the Elville Center that will turbo charge an expansion effort to affect many more children’s lives and reconstitute the music programs of many schools whose programs have been decimated or eliminated.

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, the Elville Center needs your support to achieve its goal of an initial $1 charitable million endowment so that its mission and vision may be perpetuated, expanded throughout Maryland, and nationally. if you would like to contribute to or discuss a charitable endowment the Elville Center, or if you would like to volunteer your services, please contact Executive Director Jeffrey Stauffer at 443-393-7696 x117, or at jeff@elvilleassociates.com.  If you would like to speak with the Elville Center’s founder, Stephen Elville, please contact his Legal Administrator, Mary Guay Kramer, at mary@elvilleassociates.com.

 

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By:  Jeffrey Stauffer – Executive Director

The Elville Center was privileged to deliver some donated refurbished instruments to our fine longtime partners at Wiley H. Bates Middle School in Annapolis in November and December!  These instruments will help support the student musician’s in the performing visual arts school’s band and orchestral programs. The first picture shows new Assistant Principal Mike Ballard, Band Director Maximus Vanderbeek, and the Elville Center’s Executive Director Jeff Stauffer, with the second picture showing Dr. Vanderbeek.

During the pandemic, the Elville Center has seen an unprecedented number of instrument donations as many people have taken time to clean out closets, attics, and declutter their homes.  While this has significantly increased our inventory and afforded the Elville Center the opportunity to donate to various schools and programs in the area, the reality is it is also very expensive to refurbish so many instruments.  If you donate an instrument, please consider further supporting the Elville Center by donating monetarily to help offset some of the cost to refurbish your instrument donation.  It will go a long way towards helping the charity continue our mission of “Making a Musical Difference in the Lives of Children” each day!

 

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By:  Stephen R. Elville, J.D., LL.M. – President and Founder – Elville Center for the Creative Arts, Inc.

It’s casual virtual Friday at Elville and Associates and here’s what’s on my mind.  This morning I noticed how green and beautiful my yard is after all the April showers.  And oh, during this sad and challenging time I find myself once again absorbed in music, Johann Sebastian Bach‘s music for piano that is.  Yes, once again I am fascinated and awestruck by Bach.  How could this “ordinary” church organist have been so very extraordinary?  While I am not a music historian or expert like Jonathan Palevsky and our other friends at WBJC, to me this is one of the great mysteries that leaves me speechless, especially after listening to a master like Murray Perahia play Bach, or after sitting down at my piano to practice one of the (easier) French Suites.  What does my simple morning diatribe here mean?  Maybe this:  even while we persevere, adapt, withstand long suffering difficulties, endure tragedy, laugh, cry, and overcome during the COVID-19 disaster, let us remember that greatness, beauty, and wonder still surround us and can be explored and appreciated by us – even now.  Along these lines, the Elville Center for the Creative Arts is introducing a new program for children and adults during the COVID-19 disaster and beyond.  It’s called Access To Music (ATM) – a virtual online program where Elville Center music instructors will provide music theory and application lessons to people of all ages at no cost.  Stand by for more information in the coming days and weeks about this important new program.

The purpose of the Elville Center for the Creative Arts is to improve the quality of life of children of all ages by providing them the opportunity to learn music theory and application, experience cultural events related to the musical and creative arts, and to use music and the promotion of music-related activities to transcend social and economic divisions.

We are working with local and regional businesses and private donors to partner with schools’ music programs to provide musical instruments, rentals, music lessons and participation in music-related activities for children of all ages. We’re actively seeking monetary pledges and donations of used instruments of any kind, which will be refurbished (Donations may be tax-deductible. Please consult with your tax advisor).

For more information or to get involved, please contact President and Founder Stephen Elville at steve@elvilleassociates.com or Executive Director Jeffrey Stauffer at jeff@elvilleassociates.com, or call us at 443-393-7696.  Please also visit www.elvillecenter.org to learn more about the Elville Center and how you can donate and support our initiatives!

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William and Jasmine are middle school-age children who live in central Maryland.  They are brother and sister and each has a strong interest in music and the arts.  Their school had a music program in years past but now that program has been largely defunded and is barely functional – it has all but stopped.  There are available teachers willing to teach, and these teachers are so dedicated that they are willing to stay after school.  Why?  Because there are hundreds of children at the same school who, like William and Jasmine, want to participate in music and learn to play instruments.  Yet there are few instruments available to the children at the school, and most of those instruments are either broken, are in a state of disrepair, or are otherwise unplayable.

 

At the same time, William and Jasmine, like nearly all these children, have no instrument of their own and no ability to obtain music lessons, with their parents unable to afford the $2,000-plus per-year expenditure necessary for instrument rental and lessons.  Without access to music, music experience, and music-related cultural events, William and Jasmine, like thousands of children in Maryland, are languishing culturally and in their personal development.  This is a Maryland (and American) tragedy that has unfolded slowly over the past 25 years and must be stopped.  The Elville Center for The Creative Arts Is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is proactively addressing this problem head-on.  The mission of the Elville Center for the Creative Arts is to provide children like William and Jasmine the opportunity to learn music theory and application, experience cultural events related to the musical and creative arts, and to use music and the promotion of music-related activities to transcend social and economic divisions. The Elville Center partners with local and regional businesses and school music programs to give the gift of music to children of all ages who want to participate in music but don’t have the means to do so on their own.

 

You can do something to help children and restore music to schools and to the lives of children across Maryland by supporting the Elville Center for The Creative Arts.  The Elville Center needs monetary donations, pledges, volunteers to assist with fundraising and event planning, music instruments that can be refurbished, and more.  If you have a strong desire to help children and an interest in music, the Elville Center needs your support.  Help the Elville Center help children like WIlliam and Jasmine.  For more information or to donate, visit www.elvillecenter.org, or please contact Stephen Elville or Jeffrey Stauffer at 443-393-7696, or via email at steve@elvilleassociates.com or jeff@elvillecenter.org.

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By: Jeffrey Stauffer – Executive Director
 
 
Since our last Elville Center for the Creative Arts update, the charity was blessed to celebrate its five-year anniversary! Founded in 2014 by Stephen Elville, the mission of the Elville Center is to improve the quality of life of children of all ages by providing them the opportunity to learn music theory and application, experience cultural events related to the musical and creative arts, and to use music and the promotion of music-related activities to transcend social and economic divisions. The Elville Center partners with local and regional businesses and school music programs to give the gift of music to children of all ages who want to participate in music but don’t have the means to do so on their own. The Elville Center refurbishes donated musical instruments, purchases new instruments for programs, provides rental instruments and music lessons for students, funds field trips, helps organizations develop music programs, partners with professional organizations to fund music education initiatives, and much more.

Looking back over the past five years, it is humbling to see how far the Elville Center has come in its own journey to “Make a Musical Difference in the Lives of Children” and how time flows at an “allegro” pace. As many of you know, the Elville Center’s first project started with a phone call from a then 7th-grader at Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie named Daniel Coleman, who heard about the charity on his (and our) favorite radio station, 91.5 WBJC and contacted us to ask for instruments to benefit his school’s band and orchestra. Fast forward five years, and the Elville Center is now helping schools and organizations around the state with a whole host of needs, and that young man has grown into an Eagle Scout who is off to college this fall with a list of accomplishments that could practically fill this entire newsletter!

The organizations and programs the Elville Center has partnered with over the past five years are all unique and based throughout Maryland – Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Howard County – but the one common thread between them is their leaders’ intentions to improve their programs for the benefit of their students, and to give them the best environment possible to learn, grow and be fulfilled in their musical journeys. Over the Elville Center’s five-year musical journey, we have been fortunate to collaborate with some amazing teachers, school administrators, and business leaders, and we’ve been blessed to be in a position to offer musical opportunities to thousands of underprivileged students along the way! In this ever-changing, sometimes difficult world in which we live, the Elville Center remains steadfast in its mission of partnering with our communities to help those less fortunate rise above their challenges through the gift and bond of music.

That bond of music brought the Elville Center and Monarch Annapolis together last December, when, through a friend, Instrumental Music Teacher Christine Brimhall heard about the Elville Center and inquired about support for this new charter school. While the staff and students are enthusiastic about music, developing its program has proved challenging, as most of its families do not have the capacity to rent instruments or purchase supplies, and the school has an abundance of neither.

However, the Elville Center was able to step in and, at Ms. Brimhall’s request, provide the school’s music program with a host of reeds and valve oils and other supplies students need for their instruments, as well as a number of percussion instruments to develop that section of the program’s band. And, this fall, the Elville Center visited Monarch again with brass and woodwind instruments to boost the school’s inventory for incoming students who cannot afford to rent their own instruments, as well as a bevy of reeds, strings, and new instructional books to strengthen the program’s supplies as it enters the new school year. While all of our endeavors at the Elville Center are worthwhile and special in their own way, it is always gratifying to help a school begin its program from the ground up and watch it grow over the years, as is the case with Monarch Annapolis.

“Monarch Annapolis is a Title I charter school in Annapolis, Maryland. There is a lot of interest in instrumental music, but not enough instruments to loan to students, or supplies to support our program,” noted Ms. Brimhall. “Most of our instruments and supplies are made through donations. Instrumental music provides a hands-on arts experience. It is the bridge between many other subject areas, such as math and reading. In instrumental music, students learn to create sound and music while finding other connections to the world and their own lives. For some, it is a creative gap that is filled for thirty minutes. For all, it is the unique experience of working as both an individual participant and a team player. I am extremely thankful for the support provided by the Elville Center for the Creative Arts. Your donations of supplies and instruments is truly appreciated!”

Some of our donated guitars being put to very good use by children in the “guitars for change” initiative.

In an important new initiative this past spring, the Elville Center became a Supporter of the Baltimore Classical Guitar Society, an organization that brings the world’s most-renowned classical guitarists to Baltimore for concerts on a recurring basis. In 2018, The Society began offering a “Guitars for Change” program for immigrant children who have encountered adverse experiences. The Society collaborates with Center of Help to offer free guitar lessons to youth at risk for gang induction in an after-school program. The Elville Center has provided 15 guitars to the “Guitars for Change” program thus far, and due to the growth and needs of the program we are continually working to provide guitar donations to this worthwhile endeavor. If you or anyone you know has a guitar in good condition to donate to the Elville Center, please contact me and know it will go to one of many good causes we support in need of guitars, including “Guitars for Change.”

As Elville and Associates’ reach has extended into Montgomery County on a continuing basis, so too has the Elville Center’s, as donors learn about the charity and refer Montgomery County School music teachers to us that would benefit from a partnership. One such school is Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring. This school’s instrumental music teacher, Mr. Daniel Puckett, is also a professional musician who has played in world-famous venues, and brings a contagious energy to his classroom and student musicians. However, as is the case with most music programs we visit, due to a lack of funds, instruments and equipment are lacking for many of his students. Over two visits, the Elville Center was able to outfit Mr. Puckett’s program with five violins, two cellos, another cello case, a terrific Kay bass (a first-of-its-kind donated stringed instrument to the charity), along with a much-needed Peavey Keyboard Amplifier the program has needed for many months. And, as we write this article we are preparing to deliver two more violins, a cello, and some brass instruments to Mr. Puckett for the new school year!

“Over the past two years the Elville Center for the Creative Arts has been a blessing to me and my students at Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring,” noted Mr. Puckett. “Many of my students can’t afford an instrument to use and to be able to give a student an instrument and see their face light up with excitement is priceless! The Elville Center has also been able to purchase an amp for my keyboard and I use this every day! I am so grateful to Steve Elville, Jeff Stauffer and the entire Elville Center for the Creative Arts program! Thank you so much!”

A young boy gets up close with a viola at the ASO’s Concerts for Schoolchildren.

For a third consecutive season, the Elville Center will be continuing its support as a major sponsor of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, a professional orchestra in Annapolis based in the historic Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. Last year, the Center’s sponsorship paid for the bus transportation and tickets for 625 children, all from Title 1 schools, to attend the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Concerts for Schoolchildren. Continuing our funding for this ASO’s educational initiative is our largest and arguably most important venture of the year, as it positively affects so many underprivileged students and directly fulfills our mission to give children the opportunity to experience cultural events related to music they never would have experienced otherwise. The Elville Center is also proud to note it will also be recognized as an in-kind donor to the ASO for the upcoming season as well an organization that provides opportunities to those less fortunate in the communities we serve and shares in our commitment to education. To learn more about the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, visit annapolissymphony.org

“Once again it is my privilege to offer the sincerest thanks of the Annapolis Symphony for the Elville Center’s continuing commitment to our School Concert Access program,” remarked Dr. Patrick Nugent, Executive Director of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. “Music Director Jose-Luis Novo and our board chair, Jane Casey, join me and all the musicians of the Annapolis Symphony in expressing our deep gratitude for your gift to help make these concerts a reality. The concerts took place in May, but they were all sold out by New Year’s! There is clearly a demand for these concerts on the part of schools and teachers, and your contribution makes it possible for us to include schools and families that don’t have the resources to afford these concerts. THANK YOU for being such thoughtful philanthropic and cultural leaders!”

On infrequent occasions, the Elville Center will send an instrument out for refurbishment, and it will come back 1) unable to be repaired due to the instrument’s condition or 2) the cost of the repair far exceeds the cost of purchasing a new instrument. In these cases, what does the Elville Center do with such instruments? We would not simply discard them! Rather, with the donor’s permission, they are donated to art teachers and transformed into art projects! And, the Elville Center is pleased that all instruments from our thoughtful donors find good homes and are put to very good use! The Elville Center works to put the “creative” in “creative arts”! One of those schools that is benefitting from the instruments set aside for still-life art design is Charles Carroll Middle School in Prince George’s County.

“Thank you so much to the Elville Center for its generosity and support for my students,” said, Ms. Rachel Held, art teacher at Charles Carroll. “Students in art class will use these instruments to practice observation, choice-making, drawing, shading, imagination, and design. Now that we have a variety of complex and engaging objects to choose from, we will start by setting up a large, multi-sided still-life. Students will makes choices about how to draw the subjects in composition, media, and style. Thank you for making a difference in my classroom this school year!”

Dr. Richard Berg stopped in the office to donate his French 1950s Buffet Crampon clarinet to the Elville Center – a gem!

Lastly, in a new endeavor that is expanding our reach to adults with disabilities, this September the Elville Center established a partnership with CALMRA, Inc., a community-based residential service provider in Laurel which provides homes and services to adults with cognitive disabilities. One of the many programs CALMRA offers is a Day Program through its Mary Solko Senior Center. The Day Program services include on-site nursing, hot lunches, art therapy, sensory stimulation, physical therapy, and music therapy to its seniors. The Elville Center was approached by its Day Program Director, Ms. Susan Thompson, about providing gently-used instruments to the Senior Center to benefit the music-related activities taking place there, and its first donation included two saxophones, two clarinets, two banjos and a guitar to supplement its music therapy program.
While adults with disabilities are not a population the Elville Center have assisted in the past, we have actively been considering expanding to “Make a Musical Difference in the Lives of ALL” those less fortunate that are interested in partnering with us, including veterans’ organizations, first responder groups, and special needs organizations. Knowing the depth of services and how important CALMRA is to the disabled senior community, the Elville Center is very pleased to be supporting its music therapy program and making it its first non-child centric partner.

The Elville Center needs your support and to further its important work and help make these projects successful and ongoing. Every one of the instruments provided to the schools above were instruments the Elville Center received from donors that were then paid for by the Center to be refurbished. We need those instruments that you don’t use anymore and are taking up space. We need your monetary support to help refurbish those instruments, obtain supplies and new instruments, and facilitate cultural learning experiences such as the ASO Concerts for Schoolchildren Series. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, all donations made to the Elville Center are tax-deductible. To donate or learn more about the Elville Center for the Creative Arts, please visit www.elvillecenter.org or, contact Jeffrey Stauffer at jeff@elvillecenter.org or 443-676-9691. The Elville Center depends on donors like you to fulfill our mission and make our vision of “Making a Musical Difference in the Lives of Children” a reality. We appreciate and value your support!