Fundraising goals met for Rend Lake College music program

Shawna Hall speaks to hundreds of guests at the 2012 Rend Lake College Foundation Annual Dinner, held Dec. 6, in Mount Vernon. Hall, CEO of the RLCF, took the opportunity to announce that a campaign to raise funds for facility and equipment upgrades in RLC’s music program has generated more than double the initial funding goal of $50,000. Looking on, from left, are event Master of Ceremonies and FranklinCounty-News.com Publisher Jim Muir, and RLC President Terry Wilkerson.

STAFF REPORT

A crescendo of support from music and education enthusiasts in the area made it possible for the Rend Lake College Foundation to reach more than twice its funding goal of $50,000 for “The Music Project.”

RLCF CEO Shawna Hall made the announcement Thursday night at the RLCF Annual Dinner Meeting in Mount Vernon. The project is aimed at upgrading the RLC music department’s facilities and equipment. It’s initial goal was set at $50,000. More than $100,000 has since been raised.

Hall spoke to the hundreds of guests in attendance about how grateful the students and faculty are to receive such generosity. She thanked them for their commitment to bettering the college and its students, saying the project had personal significance for her. Hall is among those who contributed money to the campaign.

A video presentation, prepared by Bruce Baldwin of Baldwin Media Development, asked viewers to “imagine a world without music.” The video featured students and administrators, RLC Music Director Sara Alstat, RLCF Board Member and RLC Trustee Randy Rubenacker, and RLCF Board Member Mary Ellen Aiken, a Benton resident who championed the project as its co-chair with Hall.

“It occurred to me while I was watching it that each person we featured in that video only took one take to tell their story,” Hall said. “… I believe the reason they all did so well is that they are passionate about this campaign. They truly understand what a world without music would be like and they understand that our music department is how we bring the community into our community college. They don’t need a script. They are speaking from their hearts.

“I want to thank my campaign chair, Mary Ellen Aiken, and each and every person who donated to this,” Hall added. “Without Mary Ellen and all of our donors, we would not be able to do this.”

Through the campaign, supporters were asked to meet a number of needs in the music program, including remodeling the practice rooms, upgrading music rooms, providing scholarship funding, and purchasing equipment like risers, lockers and a library system.

Contributors to the project include Mary Ellen and John D. Aiken, Hunt Bonan, Scott and Jenifer Spears, Dr. Gary and Karen Sweeten, Mary Pericolosi, Peoples National Bank, Randy Rubenacker, George and Mary Slankard, Buster Leeck, Cindy Leeck, Steven Beal, Shawna Hall, Chris Kuberski, Dr. Robert and Marilyn Parks, Dr. Warren and Phyllis Petty, the 2013 RLC Concert Choir, the 2013 RLC Concert Band, Sara Alstat, Cindy Caldwell, Millie Caldwell, Cathy Cross, John Kabat, Mark and Pat Kern, Larry Phifer, Matthew Flanigan, Jim and Marian Leuty, Tom Malkovich, Trish Reed, Dr. Sue Tomlin, and Rich and Donna Yunkus.

Over the past year: More than 700 students have enrolled in music classes of various types at RLC; More than 1,200 individuals have attended dinner theatres, concerts and other musical events; and nearly 1,500 people went to musicals and other theatrical events. Every one of these individuals will be affected by the upcoming renovations to the music department at RLC.

Work was quickly underway last week in the music department. As soon as students had finished taking their fall semester final examinations, equipment was being moved to make room for facility upgrades.

For more about the music program at RLC, visit online at www.rlc.edu/aca/music.

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