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Furman alumni donate $6.1 million to music department

Gordon Herring and Sarah Herring, Furman classes of 1965 and 1966, respectively, have pledged a gift of $6.1 million to the Furman Department of Music.

The donation established the Herring Music Chair Endowment and the Herring Music Fellowship Fund. The couple’s gift continues a decades-long tradition of generosity to the department in terms of time, guidance and financial support. “We hope our gift will attract exceptional students who can be magnets to draw other talented musicians to Furman’s music programs,” Sarah Herring said. Both Sarah, a German major, and Gordon, a history major, were members of the Furman Singers when they were students, an experience that fostered a special bond with Furman’s music department. “Furman is exceptional for providing students with a rigorous liberal arts education,” Gordon Herring said. “We believe the other liberal arts are enhanced by music. Because we weren’t music majors, our experience with Furman Singers served to complete our liberal arts education.” Gordon was a telecommunications executive who helped launch The Weather Channel in 1982, while Sarah’s career was in senior management for telephone company operations.
The Herrings’ legacy of generosity to Furman includes a $1.8 million gift that led to the construction of the Herring Center for Lifelong Learning, and a $1.25 million donation that served as the lead investment for the Nan Trammell Herring Music Pavilion. Since the mid-1990s, the Herrings have provided Partner Scholarships, which support multiple music students each year. Gordon, an emeritus trustee, believes music speaks to the soul of the individual and thereby enriches the soul of the university, especially in these challenging times. Bingham Vick Jr., professor of music emeritus and director of the Furman Singers from 1970 to 2010, emphasizes the importance of the Herrings’ gift to the university in attracting gifted music students. “In recent years, rising costs of Furman, increased competition for musical talent with other quality collegiate music programs, and knowing the value and the importance of the cultural experience that a strong music department could offer to students and to the community, the Herrings have taken a bold and important step and investment in the Furman musical program,” Vick said. “I can attest to the importance and benefit Furman’s strong music program has had on the lives thousands of students. The Herring Fellowships now lead the way toward an even brighter future for the enrichment of the Furman experience.”

Tuning Up: Arts and the economy + Midlands music lessons

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...

Who's ready for a long weekend? (Us, for starters, so don't judge us for jumping up and down emphatically.) We're certainly not here to represent the 209 and 102 as all arts and culture organizations, but it does dovetail nicely with the SCAC's own study from 2018 (using 2014 data) that there are 115,000 arts-related jobs in the state that drive a $9.7 billion impact on the South Carolina economy. Our thanks go out to all veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces for their service that keeps us free and safe.

Lowcounty Conservatory of Music accepting students of all ages for inaugural enrollment

The Lowcountry Conservatory of Music, a newly established nonprofit music education program serving Georgetown and Charleston counties, announces its inaugural enrollment for Fall 2014. The Conservatory will offer individual and small group instruction to early childhood, pre-college and adult students at two locations: Eastbridge Presbyterian Church, 3058 North Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant and the Old Winyah High School 1200 Highmarket Street, Georgetown. The Conservatory will offer applied lessons (private, semi-private and group) in a variety of disciplines including string, guitar, woodwinds, and brass. A robust academic program will feature casual community-oriented courses such as note reading, the art of listening, music theory and music history, and a college-preparatory certificate program. Informational meetings are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 23 from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. at the Georgetown location and Monday, Aug. 25 from 7 - 8 p.m. in Mount Pleasant. The Fall 2014 semester begins Sept. 2. Students may enroll online at www.lowcountryconservatory.org or by calling (843) 619-7054. Need- and merit-based scholarships are available. Agnes and Michael Guiliani-Lowcountry Conservatory of MusicFounding directors Michael and Agnes Giuliani (pictured right) launched the music conservatory to promote excellence in music through high-caliber private music education and public performance. "The Conservatory’s purpose is to serve the entire community with the highest caliber of private music education, " said Michael Giuliani. "We want to be a school dedicated to excellence and student success — an institution the Lowcountry thinks of when considering private music education. An education in music and the arts is an education for life — it builds confidence through steady achievement, while developing focus and discipline and enriching lives through the appreciation of artistic expression." The Lowcountry Conservatory of Music is also offering several free performances throughout the year, including the ongoing Summer Concert Series, Music at Noon, each Wednesday through August 27 in Georgetown. The complete schedule is available online. About Michael Scott Giuliani and Agnes Giuliani Founding artistic director and president of the Lowcountry Conservatory of Music, Michael Scott Giuliani also teaches piano and music theory. He serves as director of music at Christ Church Presbyterian in Charleston, where he directs the choral and instrumental ensembles and oversees the Charleston Institute of Sacred Music. Previously, Michael has served churches in the Chicago area, where he also studied piano at North Park University with Terree Shofner-Emrich. An active and sought-after collaborative pianist and conductor, Giuliani's musical endeavors have taken him across the United States and Europe, having served as pianist and organist for Tim Zimmerman & The King's Brass, an internationally renowned sacred brass ensemble, pianist for the North Park University Choir, and associate conductor of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Spiritual Ensemble. Agnes Miriam Giuliani is the founding Dean of the Lowcountry Conservatory of Music, where she also teaches violin. Her story begins as a 5-year old when, motivated by her family's love for classical music, she began to study violin. Progressing quickly, Agnes showed signs of mature musicality, passion, and a love for the instrument. At 13, Agnes moved to Romania with her family and soon experienced a completely different approach to technique, as well as a better understanding of music history and theory. She studied intensely, performing and competing in festivals. She began teaching and found delight in sharing her passion with her own students. Agnes earned a Bachelor’s of Music in Violin Performance from Belmont University with Elizabeth Small and became concertmaster of the university's orchestra. She regularly plays with various regional orchestras including the North Charleston POPS! and the Florence Symphony Orchestra. Via: Lowcountry Conservatory of Music

Children’s ability to follow a beat may impact reading, language skills

From Fox News:

[caption id="attachment_11880" align="alignright" width="234"]National Symphony Orchestra National Symphony Orchestra's South Carolina residency[/caption] New research is shedding light on how music education may help improve children’s reading and language skills. In a study from Northwestern University, researchers demonstrated that children with a better sense of rhythm were able to more clearly process sound in their brains – a trait that has been linked to stronger reading and language proficiency. For the study, researchers tested the rhythmic abilities of 124 Chicago high school students. Each student used a special tapping pad to measure how well they were able to tap their finger along to the beat of a metronome. Next, students were fitted with electrodes in order to measure the way their brains responded to repeated sounds. “As people hear sound the neurons in the brain give off electricity and we are able to capture that with scalp electrodes,” lead study author Nina Kraus told FoxNews.com. After comparing results of the two tests, Kraus and her team concluded that students with the best rhythmic abilities also had the clearest neural responses to sound, which researchers believe enhances their language and reading abilities. “Sound is bound to meaning, you’re always making sound-to-meaning connections,” Kraus, director of Northwestern's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, said. “Learning to read, you’re learning to match what you hear to what (the word) looks like on the page.” A child’s ability to clearly link the sound of a word to the way it appears on a page plays a crucial role in the process of learning how to read. Previous studies have demonstrated that children who experience neural “jitter”, or fuzziness in their neural responses to sound, have more difficulty with language and reading skills and may even be more prone to conditions like dyslexia. Additionally, Kraus points out that the ability to clearly process sound is connected to the ability to accurately hear in a crowd – a helpful skill in busy classroom learning environments. “Children in classrooms, there’s traffic outside, chairs scraping, you need to be able to quickly and easily pull out the teachers voice, the meaningful signal,” Kraus said. Though more research needs to be done, Kraus noted that previous studies have indicated that toddlers who participated in just a year of music training – with activities such as simple as mom-and-tot music classes – showed better neural responses to sound compared to toddlers who did not receive music training. As a result, Kraus is hopeful that this research could lead to a greater emphasis on the benefits of music education for children. “The hypothesis is that music education can help language skills, can strengthen skills such as reading, hearing and hearing speech in noise, as well as skills like memory and attention to sound,” Kraus said. For more information, visit www.brainvolts.northwestern.edu

Girls Rock Charleston to launch after-school music education program

From the Charleston Post and Courier:

A nonprofit that empowers girls through music education and creative collaboration plans to launch a new after-school program in the spring.

Girls Rock Charleston's newest offering will focus on leadership, mentorship and music as a means for social change. Participants will learn an instrument, form a band, participate in workshops on social justice principles, and perform their original music at a local venue.

"One of the main things we focus on is developing leadership for the next generation of youth, so we definitely see our programming as almost primarily a leadership development vehicle," said Jenna Lyles, one of the four founders of Girls Rock Charleston. "The music piece is really important; it's a platform for social change."

In Charleston, the 3-year-old, all-volunteer nonprofit has served more than 150 girls through a one-week summer camp, and that will remain its flagship program. The new after-school program grew out of that effort because organizers wanted to do a longer program that would provide deeper mentorship for participants. The program begins Feb. 4 and lasts until May 1.

"It will be more time for them to get creative and work together more," Lyles said.

The new program will include social-based justice lessons, such as the history of women in music.

"It's definitely a combination of 'Songwriting 101' and (girls') image and identity," Lyle said. "It's primarily gender focused, but we talk a lot about race and class."

The local group is part of the Girls Rock Camp Alliance, an international coalition of organizations that promote and support its affiliate camps. The first camp started in Portland, Ore., in 2007, and spinoff camps have cropped up across the world. The goal has been to use music education to foster self-esteem and confidence.

In Charleston, the new after-school program has a sliding-scale fee, from $500 to free, depending on parents' income. Lyles said the racial and socioeconomic demographics of summer campers has been diverse, and they strive to create a safe place where girls can talk about who they are and their experiences.

Some students have attended the camp because they have a keen interest in music, while others are into social justice.

"We encourage both," Lyles said. "Whatever they bring, we amplify it. We want to break down the barriers that prevent girls from being able to live out their full humanity. We consider ourselves to be a feminist organization."

The new Girls Rock Charleston after-school program is open to girls and transgender youth ages 13 to 17. The program will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. from Feb. 4 through May 1. The final showcase will be May 3. Applications are due Jan. 19 and can be found at www.girlsrockcharleston.org or by calling (843) 494-2890.