RocMusic Partnership to Serve City Children

Hochstein School of Music News Release

July 25th, 2012


RocMusic, a partnership of the Hochstein School of Music & Dance, the Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester), the Eastman Community Music School, the Rochester City School District, the City of Rochester, and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, will provide music instruction to city children at the David F. Gantt Community Center this fall.

Inspired by Venezuela’s “El Sistema” program that produced internationally renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel, RocMusic is a community-based, tuition-free, music instruction program designed to positively impact the lives of economically disadvantaged youth. The pilot program will teach general music literacy and appreciation to children ages five through eight and string instruction for children ages 9 to 18, three days a week.

“All children deserve the opportunity to experience the joy of making music” said Jamal Rossi, RocMusic founder and executive associate dean of the Eastman School of Music. “The goal of the RocMusic program is to bring these opportunities directly to children by providing access to musical instruments, high quality instruction, and a safe place to learn and practice music after school and during the summer months.”

“I want to thank the myriad of partners throughout this community who are making this effort possible,” said Mayor Thomas S. Richards. “This is educational collaboration at its finest. We are pleased to provide the David F. Gantt Community Center as the setting for the RocMusic Partnership. Rochester is blessed to have these institutions providing their beneficial talents and educational instruction for our city youth. These institutions make our city unique when compared to other metropolitan areas.”

The program is being funded by a $100,000 seed grant from the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation. The grant will be used to hire a part-time program director, music instructors, furnish music materials, and fund student music activities. “The Hochstein School of Music & Dance is honored to receive the Farash Foundation grant award to launch the RocMusic program,” says Margaret Quackenbush, president and executive director of the Hochstein School. Celebrating its 91st year as Rochester’s only community-based school of the arts, RocMusic furthers David Hochstein’s goals to inspire, nurture and welcome all into a community of musicians.”

“The RocMusic program represents an innovative, out-of-school project that will develop confidence and skills and, hopefully, a lifelong love of music among our city’s youth,” says Nathan J. Robfogel, Farash Foundation board chair. “We are delighted to see so many Rochester organizations working in concert on this initiative.”

Children will apply for the program and will need to commit to good attendance at school and in the program. Families and community members will be invited to program open houses and neighborhood performances.

“RocMusic allows Rochester City School District children to extend their music instruction and practice time beyond the typical school day in the neighborhood where they live, says Bolgen Vargas, Ed.D., superintendent of the Rochester City School District. “This program will complement our goals of expanded learning time for our students.”