Gift of $8,000 Supplements Two Grants, Supports Upgrade to Digital Keyboards in Music Program

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- At its January meeting, the SUNY Orange Foundation agreed to support the creation of a high-tech piano laboratory for the College’s music program by approving an $8,000 donation to the project, supplementing $11,000 in grants that the College had received from two other sources and providing a significant boost to the project.

With the money, the College will purchase 18 electronic keyboards, replacing 17 traditional pianos, and make modest renovations to Room 32 in Orange Hall, on the College's Middletown campus, where the current pianos are housed. The purchase of the new pianos is the first step toward creating a new high-tech music classroom/laboratory that, once completed, will also include iMac computers with MIDI interfaces and music instruction software, and a Smart Board.

The new electronic pianos, expected to be in place for the start of the Fall 2012 semester in August, will allow instructors to teach the entire class simultaneously or coach students individually in the same room.

“This is great news for our music students,” says Mark Strunsky, chair of the College’s Arts and Communication Department. “We are so thankful that the private foundations, along with the SUNY Orange Foundation, realized our need and felt compelled to help us. Technology is a growing force in the music industry, on many levels, and this new lab will allow us to use the latest advances to improve our academic and music instruction.”

In addition to the SUNY Orange Foundation’s contribution, the College received a $1,000 grant from the REC Music Foundation (St. Louis, Mo.) and a $10,000 grant from an organization that requested anonymity. The College will continue to seek partners to provide funds for the additional technologies needed to complete the laboratory.

The College has approximately 80 full- and part-time students who are majoring in music or have declared music as an emphasis in their liberal arts program. In addition, the Arts and Communication Department sponsors a series of performance ensembles, including symphonic band, community orchestra, choir, Madrigal singers, chamber ensemble, jazz ensemble and Apprentice Players (student theatre group). The department oversees two associate degree programs--Performing Arts: Music, and Visual Communications Technology: Graphic Arts/Printing--and provides courses for students who are required to complete arts, humanities or electives in other degree programs.

For more information on the Arts and Communication, contact Strunsky at (845) 341-4787. To learn more about the SUNY Orange Foundation, contact Vinnie Cazzetta at (845) 341-4726.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940