The mission of the Lillian Rauch Beginning Strings Program is to increase access to string instruction for underserved students. Key objectives of the project are: to provide string instrument instruction free of charge, to nurture and develop students’ creative talents, and to prepare students for challenging opportunities in music and life. The secondary goal, which has the potential to positively impact music education in Greensboro and the state of North Carolina, is to provide music education majors with the opportunity to explore and develop as teachers in a diverse setting.
The Greensboro Symphony began the Lillian Rauch Beginning Strings Program in 2000, with support from Lillian Rauch. The after-school program was taught by members of the Greensboro Symphony. In 2008, a partnership was formed between the Greensboro Symphony and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro String Education Program. At this time, the program was moved to the Clara J. Peck Elementary School and instruction was offered during the school day. The program grew from 14 to approximately 60 students. With the combined efforts of UNCG and the GSO the program grew both in quantity and quality and now serves over 120 students in grades 3-5.
The Lillian Rauch Beginning Strings Program is currently possible through the joint efforts of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, and the Clara J. Peck Elementary School. Program coordinators, Dr. Rebecca MacLeod (Associate Professor of Music Education at UNCG), Teacher Christen Blanton Mack, and Mr. Peter Zlotnick (Education Manager for the GSO) work together to create a sustainable string outreach program that provides over 100 elementary students with the opportunity to study a string instrument. Importantly, the Peck Elementary Principal supports the program as an integral part of the school day and has dedicated a classroom specifically for use by teachers and students involved with the Peck String Program.
Recently, graduates of the Program performed on a concert in honor of Dr. Maya Angelou. Students interacted with composer, Dr. Patricia Gray to create a new work entitled I AM Song and Dance. This work was performed for Dr. Angelou September 14, 2013 in Aycock Auditorium at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Other recent performance/interactions have included: Sphinx Virtuosi (2011), Catalyst Quartet (2011), Harlem Quartet (2012), John McLaughlin Williams (2013), International Civil Rights Museum (2014).
Near to Peck Elementary, Jackson Middle School has now started an orchestra, in response to the large number of students entering who are graduates of the Lillian Rauch Beginning Strings Program.