By: Jeffrey D. Stauffer, Executive Director – [email protected], 443-393-7696
In June, The Elville Center for the Creative Arts celebrated its two-year anniversary working to make a musical difference in the lives of children in Maryland. 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 schools’ 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, refurbishes donated used musical instruments, purchases new instruments for programs, provides rentals and music lessons for students, funds field trips, and helps organizations develop music programs.
Since our last update, the Elville Center has continued to develop new relationships. The Elville Center has partnered with The Children’s Home (thechildrenshome.net) to lay the foundation for a music program for its residents, and the relationship has flourished. The Children’s Home has been in existence since 1853, situated on a 54-acre campus in Catonsville, and it offers services to young people and families who experience disruption in their lives. Many of the young people who reside at TCH find the arts to be a very positive outlet for them, and TCH has wanted to establish a music program for its student residents for many years.
Many instruments ranging from clarinets and trumpets to guitars and flutes have been refurbished and donated to TCH, and the Elville Center also purchased a drum set and new guitar for the program. TCH is also establishing a permanent home for the music program in a building that will be considered a Cultural Center on its campus.
For those student residents who want to learn and practice playing instruments in a more structured environment, the Elville Center has arranged for a music teacher to visit the campus every two weeks to provide them instruction. And, for those students interested in the vocal side of music, eight students visited Catonsville’s Songbuilder Studio to learn the ins and outs of recording music and singing in a sound studio, and students are given the wonderful opportunity to sing in the studio as well.
On June 16th, the Elville Center was privileged to receive a Community Service Award from TCH at its Annual Meeting. Our relationship with TCH was also featured in an interview that can be heard on classical music station 91.5 WBJC as well as our website, www.elvillecenter.org. We have only scratched the surface of what will be accomplished musically at TCH, and the Elville Center is proud to call this fine organization its partner.
Earlie this year, the Elville Center also collaborated with Central High School in Capitol Heights. This school’s large music program has a dedicated team who reached out to the Elville Center for assistance in achieving its potential. At our initial meeting with the department’s representative, John Bridgeo, we were immediately ushered into the auditorium where we were introduced to the music program’s jewel – a Steinway M grand piano – which was in need of many repairs. Along with many other broken instruments and missing supplies, three other pianos stood in near obsolescence, no longer in working condition.
The Elville Center soon took action. Arrangements were made to fully refurbish the Steinway, and a piano dolly was purchased and delivered to the school to protect and transport the Steinway during its many moves between performances. Also, three upright pianos were donated to the charity and delivered to the school, and other instruments and supplies have been provided to the program 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 the 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 red tape and produces RESULTS. No vouchers or purchase orders – [we simply see] 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 indeed a pleasure to work with the fine group of teachers and students at Central High School. We look forward to our continued relationship with Central High School for many years to come!
The Elville Center also continues to work with Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie, which is interested in developing a new orchestral program for the fall. And, we are very pleased with our continued relationships with New Era Academy – which also received a donated piano this spring — and The Bridges Program in Baltimore as well as Wiley H. Bates Middle School in Annapolis, among others. New relationships are on the horizon, and we are excited about the opportunities that await in making a musical difference in the lives of the children involved in all of our partner programs.
The Elville Center is actively seeking donations to further its important work. If you would like to donate or learn more about the Elville Center for the Creative Arts, please visit www.elvillecenter.org, or contact Jeff Stauffer, Executive Director, at [email protected], or 443-393-796.