Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 7, 2013

Lexington Philharmonic partners with Morgan schools

Staff report
The Independent

WEST LIBERTY — The Lexington Philharmonic has been expanding its music education programs in eastern Kentucky by bringing its Music Builds Literacy! program to elementary schools throughout Morgan County.

Last fall, LexPhil presented a pilot of this interactive music program to nearly 500 elementary school students in Grayson. LexPhil’s expansion of areas served in eastern Kentucky is made possible through a partnership with Kentucky's Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. This season, the program will reach over 1,200 students through its expansion into Morgan County through Licking Valley RECC, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

 On Oct. 30, LexPhil presented its Music Builds Literacy! program to both Morgan Central Elementary and Ezel Elementary. This interactive music program featured a narration of the book “Jake — the Philharmonic Dog” with music performed by LexPhil members representing the string, wind, brass and percussion sections. Students were also treated to a special question-and-answer session with the musicians.

LexPhil returns Thursday to present the program to Morgan County’s other two elementary schools, West Liberty Elementary and East Valley Elementary. Teachers from both schools received the Oct. 30 programs with rave reviews from the students, reporting the children “loved the pairing of story time with the concert” and “were captivated the entire time!”

 As part of this partnership with the schools in Morgan County, LexPhil will return to all four schools in the spring with the instrument petting zoo.

Music Builds Literacy! is part of LexPhil’s larger Music Builds educational platform. The newly redesigned programs serve multiple arts education and cross-curricular needs, modeled after the STEM to STEAM movement: integrating the Arts into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education.

Integration of arts, with music in particular, into the core curriculum helps students to develop the critical thinking skills needed to excel in core subjects and beyond. Studies repeatedly demonstrate the benefits of an arts education, from higher test scores to lower dropout rates and better performance once students reach higher education. For students in schools without arts programs, including those in Morgan County, LexPhil’s education programs are one of the few sources of arts education the students receive.

Mike McNalley, LexPhil board member and executive vice president and CFO of East Kentucky Power Cooperative, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, said the partnership with LexPhil “enriches the education of area students through a very engaging and fun musical program. When LexPhil brings its educational programming into the area schools, a young generation of eastern Kentuckians is exposed to a professional-level musical experience that lays a foundation for a brighter future for the region.”