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Usdan Center - Expanded Jazz Program, Micro-Grants for Music Students
(Published: May 27, 2013)

Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, the country's largest day summer school for the arts, located in Wheatley Heights, has partnered with Long Island Community Foundation in a new program of "micro grants" to provide Brentwood High School students with support for their studies in music.

Usdan's Jazz Department, created in 1986 by Dr. Billy Taylor, has been significantly expanded for 2013, tripling the number of jazz ensembles.

The micro-grant program will help students obtain essential music supplies and private lessons. In addition, some Brentwood students will be selected for three thousand dollar tuition scholarships to study at Usdan this summer, and the grants will help them with the costs of their daily transportation to the Center. It is anticipated that the micro grants will range from approximately $100 - $400 each, with a goal of supporting the musical needs of approximately fifteen Brentwood students during the 2012-13 school year.

Speaking of the new program, Dale Lewis, Usdan Center's Executive Director, said, "This funding is intended to recognize and support the student musicians at BHS, and to pay tribute to their dedicated and talented music teachers. The success of Brentwood's music program is a big story being played out in small increments by Long Island school and studio music teachers, one good deed at a time."

The new grants are designed to allow students to obtain teacher-approved music supplies or music study in order to further the their school, college and career aspirations in the arts. Already, nine BHS students have had five private lessons each, and their private teachers have endorsed the program's spirit with their offer of reduced-fee lessons.

The process of awarding Usdan's grants begins with the recommendation of a Brentwood teacher on behalf of one of his or her students. Once the district's supervisor has approved the grant request, approved items are purchased for the students. These include strings for violin and cello students, reeds and mouthpieces for wind and brass students, and lessons and transportation for enrichment programming that is a goal of the program.

David Okorn, Executive Director of the LI Community Foundation believes in the program's impact on children in a high needs Long Island community: "Research shows us that young people who have access to the arts not only perform better in school, but in life. This program reaches out to low-income students faced with economic obstacles that keep them from fully developing their talents. It's a winning opportunity and we are pleased to be a part of it."

Usdan's grant was made possible by the Elizabeth Pritzker Endowment Fund, a field of interest fund at the Long Island Community Foundation. The Long Island Community Foundation (LICF) is the Island's community foundation, making grants to improve our region and helping donors with their philanthropy since 1978. LICF is a division of The New York Community Trust.
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More Information: http://www.usdan.com


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