The Start of Year #2

We’ve all heard the news, watched the television reports, and read the blogs and the news services about the difficult economic times our nation is experiencing. But we’re now also hearing about signs of hope. For the people of Irwin, North Huntingdon, and North Irwin, Pennsylvania, hope is found in the young men and women that comprise the Norwin Band.

In December of 2009, the Norwin ‘Play It Forward’ Fund was begun with a small contribution to the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County. It was begun after consultation with Mr. Robert Traugh, Director of Bands for the Norwin School District. When asked what did the band need to raise the musical performance level of the group, the answer was a quick one – students needed private lessons. The purpose of the fund was clear: to enhance the musical education of the students of the Norwin Band by providing funds to subsidize private music lessons and music camp experiences of students in grades 5 through 12.

Since the usual contribution to begin a fund with a special designation was $10,000, we knew our work was cut out for us, especially in difficult economic times. However, the enthusiasm for the project was high, and several major events were planned for the spring and fall to help reach that goal. Since success begets success, excitement began to build for the Norwin Band program. That excitement led to an incredible marching season, culminating in a 7th place finish at the Music For All/Bands of America Regional Competition in Indianapolis, Indiana, just one week before the program’s Grand National Championship Event. The successes of the Norwin Band has prompted financial gifts from members of the community and band alumni to both the Norwin Band and the Norwin ‘Play It Forward’ Fund.

With several major gifts and two successful events (a coffeehouse in the spring and a wine-tasting/concert event in the fall), the fund exceeded its $10,000 goal for 2010! Enthusiasm is already starting to build for this spring’s event, which now has a nickname – “The AfterProm” – since it is scheduled for the day after the Norwin High School Prom.

We’d like you to help build that enthusiastic excitement! If you’ve attended a Norwin ‘Play It Forward’ Fund event in 2010, this is the place to tell others about your experience. It takes all kinds of contributions – not only the monetary kind – to make a program grow!