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Alliance seeks music lovers to help support Utah schools
Music education » Alliance provides lessons, instruments, training for teachers to bridge a school funding gap.
First Published Dec 04 2013 09:59 am • Last Updated Dec 04 2013 11:28 am

Legacy Music Alliance, a Utah nonprofit, is looking for 1,500 music lovers willing to donate $35 this holiday season to help give the gift of music to school children.

The nonprofit, founded by northern Utah entrepreneur Gaylen Rust, aims to provide lessons to 1,600 students, new or refurbished instruments to 40 schools, and access to singers, songwriters and conductors at 50 schools.

At a glance

Meet arts patron Gaylen Rust

The late Beverley Taylor Sorenson donated millions of dollars to Utah universities and colleges to train art teachers and integrate arts into schools. Since her death earlier this year, many wondered who might have the money — and the passion — to fill the void.

Gaylen Rust, a Utah native and president of Rust Rare Coin, is a likely candidate, although he is far too modest to admit it. Read more here about Rust and his efforts for music in Utah schools.

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To help spread the word, "A Musical Christmas" will air Sunday, Dec. 8, on ABC 4 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on CW30 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Performers on the one-hour show will include The Jets, Nathan Osmond, pianist William Joseph, Jessie Funk, Crescent Super Band, We Are the Strike, and Jason Scheff, lead singer of Chicago.

The alliance plans to work with parent teacher groups, civic organizations and music teachers to raise funds. It will also provide support and will seek donations from corporations.

Interested donors and schools requesting assistance can find more information at www.legacymusicalliance.org.

As schools have focused on preparing students for careers, Rust said, music education has fewer resources.

"Music is the gateway to better learning, improved social skills, higher grades and teamwork," he said in a statement.

Donating to the nonprofit, he added, "is one way that all citizens of Utah can raise their voices in unison for a worthwhile cause that will make a difference."

Since 2010, the nonprofit has restored or donated instruments to Wasatch Front schools, provided affordable music lessons through its Jump Start program, awarded scholarships, trained teachers, and drawn artists into schools for workshops.

"The rich experiences that students might enjoy through music are not as widely available as they once were," said Utah conductor Michael Huff, the nonprofit’s executive program director, in the statement.

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"The endangerment of music programs in our schools strikes me as being shortsighted, because we know that music is one of the most reliable catalysts in improving every measurable educational outcome," said Huff, a professor at Utah State University’s Caine College of the Arts. "In other words, vibrant and effective music education equals great schools and students."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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