Sherman Symphony Orchestra Receives NEA Grant – Herald Democrat

staff reports

The Sherman Symphony Orchestra received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support its educational outreach programs.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations across the country, including the Sherman Symphony Orchestra. The arts help communities thrive,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD., president of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Meaningful engagement with the arts can have many benefits, from contributing to collective healing and mutual understanding, to strengthening local economies.”

The Sherman Symphony’s educational programs engage developing minds by providing affordable, high-quality music education, said conductor Daniel Dominick. Since 2002, the Grade 5 Children’s Educational Concert has been many students’ first live orchestral experience: 2,000 students each year learn about instrument families, concert etiquette, and various genres of music. Additionally, up to 400 students attend classical music concerts each year through the free student ticket program. Sherman High School media students have the unique opportunity to record concerts from the Classic Series through Symphony’s broadcast partnership with local news channel KXII.

While band programs are common in Grayson County, Sherman hosts the only string orchestra program. Most of Sherman’s orchestra students face economic challenges: 68% of Sherman ISD students are economically disadvantaged and only 15% of orchestra students receive private lessons. Since 2019, all students of the Sherman Orchestra have benefited from sections with symphonic musicians through the SSO Fellows. Practice Partners is an after-school peer mentoring program that pairs beginning orchestral students with high school string players for monthly practice sessions. Second and fourth graders enjoy chamber music presentations and performances as musical chairs bring Sherman Symphony musicians to area schools., Austin College Summer Music Camp—a collaboration between the Sherman Symphony and Austin College—is a middle school and high school day camp that cultivates music development through the rehearsal and performance of chamber music.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue to support student education with a wide variety of musical experiences,” said Leslie Whelan, SSO Director of Education. “The Sherman Symphony Orchestra was founded with the intention of sharing music and educational opportunities with students in the greater Texoma area, and this grant allows us to continue our mission in a rapidly growing community.

From the first Summer Music Camp in 2022, Daniel Dominick, conductor of the Sherman Symphony, talks to students about the music that awaits them. Courtesy picture

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