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Richmond’s East End Students Receive the Gift of Music

M E D I A  A D V I S O R Y

November 1, 2016 – Richmond, Virginia: Five area schools in Richmond’s East End have now received instruments purchased by the funds raised through the RVA East End Festival: The Gift of Music, with three additional schools set to receive their instruments soon. The festival was a community celebration anchored by the Symphony’s Big Tent with three days of performances and activities on May 6-8, 2016.

During the festival, over 80 community partners joined together with the goal of creating a lasting and positive benefit to the East End community. With generous support provided by festival partner Bon Secours Richmond Health System and a host of other sponsors, over $100,000 in proceeds were raised to support music initiatives in East End schools.  Funding was raised through corporate and foundation support, donations from individuals both inside and outside the East End community, as well as through bucket collection during the festival itself.  Students from Bellevue Elementary, Chimborazo Elementary, Fairfield Court Elementary, George Mason Elementary, and Woodville Elementary now have the opportunity to learn how to play an instrument and play in string orchestra ensembles.

“Bon Secours is pleased to join members of the business community, residents of Richmond’s East End, and patrons of the East End Festival in furthering the educational opportunities for Richmond youth,” said Mark Gordon, CEO of Bon Secours Richmond East. “Providing a positive impact to how individuals grow and develop is paramount to Bon Secours’ commitment of creating communities of health, hope and well-being. We are committed to doing more than providing access to quality health care. Our focus is in a systemic approach that addresses the basic human needs of employment, housing and education.”

Richmond Symphony Executive Director David Fisk commented: “When we started this project with Councilwoman Cynthia Newbille and Bon Secours, we learned that there were only seven instruments to be shared among all of the East End’s elementary schools.  The community came together and saw a tremendous opportunity to make a substantial impact in the lives of these children.  Schools went from seven instruments among them, to enough instruments for a full string orchestra in each school – giving hundreds of new students each year the opportunity to learn and grow together as they experience the power of music.”

Kim Hutchinson, Executive Director of the Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation states: “RPS Education Foundation is grateful to the Richmond Symphony and Bon Secours, as well as the many sponsors, partners and donors, without whom the goal of raising funds to purchase musical instruments for the schools in the East End of Richmond would not have been possible, nor would the RVA East End Festival have been such a success. As President Ford once stated: ‘Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them, a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement.’ Because of programs like the RVA East End Festival, music is no longer a privilege for a lucky few, but a part of every child in Richmond Public Schools’ world of possibility.”

Additional instruments and music related equipment will also be purchased for Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, Armstrong High School and Franklin Military Academy as part of this project. Support provided by Bon Secours and the other festival sponsors helped make this initiative possible.

Festival sponsors:

Bon Secours Richmond Health System
The City of Richmond
Bank of America
The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation
The Richard and Caroline T. Gwathmey Memorial Trust
The Prudential Foundation
Rotary Club of Richmond
Stone Brewery
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

About the Richmond Symphony

Founded in 1957, the Richmond Symphony is the largest performing arts organization in Central Virginia. The organization includes an orchestra of more than 70 professional musicians, the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus and more than 260 students in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra programs. Each season, more than 200,000 members of the community enjoy concerts and radio broadcasts. The Symphony also provides educational outreach programs to over 50,000 students and teachers. The Richmond Symphony is partially funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

About Bon Secours Richmond Health System

Bon Secours Richmond is part of Bon Secours Virginia, which provides good help to thousands of Virginians through a network of hospitals, primary and specialty care practices, ambulatory care sites and continuing care facilities across the Commonwealth.

The not-for-profit health system employs more than 8,400 people, including nearly 420 providers as part of the Bon Secours Medical Group.

The fourth largest and only faith-based health system in Virginia, Bon Secours Virginia offers a full range of services including cardiac, women’s, children’s, orthopaedics, oncology, neurosciences and surgery at eight award-winning hospitals.

  • Bon Secours Richmond is St. Mary’s Hospital, Memorial Regional Medical Center, Richmond Community Hospital, Rappahannock General Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center.
  • Bon Secours Hampton Roads is Maryview Medical Center, DePaul Medical Center and Mary Immaculate Hospital.


About Bon Secours Virginia Health Care Foundation

The Bon Secours Virginia Health Care Foundation raises charitable funds to help Bon Secours Virginia Health System address the community’s growing health care needs with compassion and excellence. Through charitable support, we are dedicated to helping create healthy communities, advancing clinical innovation and providing an extraordinary experience of care. For more information on giving, visit www.bsvaf.org.

About the Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation

Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization that partners with the Richmond Public School District to improve student learning and achievement in preparation for success in college, career, and community. Richmond Public Schools serves over 23,000 students, representing the region’s diverse socioeconomic mix. It is comprised of 28 elementary schools, including one charter school, eight middle schools, five comprehensive high schools and three specialty schools.