Violin Students Practice for Pennies, Raising More than
$2,000 for Bellevue Food Bank
As published in the Tennessean 10:11 a.m. CST December 26, 2013
The coins have been counted, and local violin students have raised more than $2,000 for the Bellevue Food Bank through a holiday fundraiser dubbed Practice for Pennies.
Students at Maureen Riley’s Suzuki Talent Education Studio in Bellevue gathered pledges from parents, family and friends for time spent practicing. Members of Bellevue Christian Church, where the studio is hosted, also wanted to sponsor students, and one of Riley’s students in New York who takes lessons via Skype contributed to the effort, as well. Over the course of the five-week fundraiser, the students brought in $550.72.
Sherith Israel Synagogue and Honor Music and Entertainment matched that amount, and additional donations were made by Bank of Nashville, World Music, Dr. Gary Smith, Poplar Hill Realty and Hillwood Country Club, bringing the grand total to $2,285.68.
“It is incredible how many folks have come forward to support the students practicing violin for such a worthy cause,” Riley said via email.
Riley presented the check last week to Jobie Corn, director of the Bellevue Food Bank, on behalf of the students.
The food bank operates out of Bellevue United Methodist Church, giving out approximately 60 bags of food weekly and closer to 100 bags during the holidays, Riley said.
Riley started the penny drive at her studio last year as a way to raise money for the Bellevue Food Bank during the season of giving, to motivate the students to do something for the community, to inspire the students to practice, and to improve the students’ technical skills and ability in music and violin playing. Last year, students and sponsors contributed $179.22, with matches and other donations bringing the total to $620.54.
Suzuki violin instruction, Riley said, encourages the development of fine human beings with noble hearts and kindred spirits using the violin as a tool to promote excellent character and beautiful hearts. The goal is not simply to develop professional musicians, but also to nurture loving human beings and help develop each child’s character through the study of the violin.
Riley hopes the penny drive will be an inspiration to other local music instructors to join efforts next year for an even bigger impact.
“Music students from Music City U.S.A. can make a difference in our community by making beautiful music in our world and practicing for pennies,” Riley said.