Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra receives funding from Bessie Minor Swift Foundation |

Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra receives funding from Bessie Minor Swift Foundation

Jeremy Herigstad
Special to the Free Press
Kids try out musical instruments at a recent Symphony Storytime event.
Submitted photo |

The Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra was recently awarded a $2,500 grant by the Bessie Minor Swift Foundation to grow its Symphony Storytime educational program.

Symphony Storytime is a joint collaboration with the Mesa County Public Libraries; it began in the fall of 2013. Members of the Grand Junction Symphony read stories — along with incorporation of music and offer musical demonstrations — to preschool and elementary-aged children. Each Symphony Storytime concludes with an instrument petting zoo, another Grand Junction Symphony education initiative which gives children the opportunity to hold and try to produce a sound on several different orchestral instruments.

Presentations were held in the fall of 2013 and spring of 2014, focusing on string instruments and brass and woodwinds, respectively.

The final Symphony Storytime of the spring is set for Saturday, May 3, at 10 a.m. It will be hosted at Central Library and it will focus on percussion.

Through the generous funding by the Bessie Minor Swift Foundation, the Grand Junction Symphony is not only looking to expand the amount of presentations offered during the year, but it will also explore opportunities to visit other Mesa County Library branches and involve more musicians at each presentation.

The Bessie Minor Swift Foundation awards grants to programs that provide direct service to help with the implementation or expansion of literacy programs for children who are below grade level or experiencing difficulty reading; to develop reading and writing skills at all age levels; and, to develop programs in the arts, languages and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) for preschool, primary and secondary school-aged students.

According to a Bessie Minor Swift Foundation news release, the grant program was created by the “owners and founder of Swift Communications,” which owns the Grand Junction Free Press Weekly. “Since 2008, more than $234,000 has been awarded to nonprofit organizations in the communities where Swift Communications conducts business.”

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