Please take a moment to read the following open letter from Mrs. Lauren Spitaliere, Orchestra Director of St. Martin de Porres Marianist School. St. Martin’s orchestra program is in its second successful year, however they are in need of additional assistance. If you are able to assist in any way, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks on behalf of Kellenberg, St. Martin’s, and the Marianist family.
Any contribution should be mailed or dropped off at the Finance Office at Kellenberg, attention to St. Martin’s Orchestra Donation. Additionally, any used instrument can be brought to Bro. Roger’s office. Thank you.
To Whom it May Concern,
My name is Lauren Spitaliere and I am the orchestra director at St. Martin de Porres Marianist School, a not-for-profit Pre K-8th grade school in Uniondale, NY. Last year we began a new orchestra program at St. Martin, starting with 36 students in grades 4 to 8 and no instruments of our own. The program had a very successful first year and currently has nearly 50 students enrolled for 2014-2015. St. Martin’s administration is committed to the success of the orchestra program and plans to expand the orchestral offerings to the 3rd grade as well next year, which would be an additional 35 students in the program for a projected total of approximately 80 students to be served.
St. Martin is a Catholic mission school which serves students in Uniondale, Hempstead, Roosevelt and Freeport, NY. These areas experience some of the highest incidence of gang membership, drug abuse and violent crime, including rape and assault with a deadly weapon, on Long Island. A large percentage of the students St. Martin serves are 1st or 2nd generation immigrants to the U.S. Nearly 40% of our students receive additional tuition subsidies through Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation and other organizations, making education at St. Martin possible for them. In addition, St. Martin supplies an after-school program, free to all students, providing a safe environment for post-class time and activities; all students in grades Pre-K to 5 also receive a daily hot lunch, at no additional cost to their families. For further information on St. Martin, please visit the school website at: http://www.stmartinmarianist.org/
St. Martin one of only a few Catholic schools in this area that offer orchestra to its students. Families looking for an alternative to a public school education for their children are limited to schools’ programmatic availability and, as a result, children may miss the educational benefits of learning to play a string instrument if their school does not offer orchestra. In the past, students who began playing a string instrument in a public school program would have to quit when they enrolled at St. Martin; now we can offer them the opportunity to continue playing the instruments they love.
Through the generosity of colleagues and friends, St. Martin’s program has received a few donations of violins, violas and cellos. We are still actively seeking additional donations of instruments and supplies. We do not, however, currently have enough instruments to serve the enrolled students, and are in particular are in need of student basses. Last year the program rented most of its instruments from an outside source to get up and running. As the program expands in the coming years, St. Martin believes that it would be far better to purchase instruments for the school to own. This would allow the program to rent instruments to financially limited students at lower, more affordable prices. The rental fees from these instruments would also aid the program’s continued growth and provide for necessary instrument supplies and maintenance.
St. Martin is in the process of setting up a school account with Shar Music, a major online vendor of musical instruments and supplies, which will permit special discounts on purchases. We are also in contact with local instrument retailers in search of the best quality instruments at the most affordable prices for our program. Below is a budget estimate for purchasing the instruments and supplies the program currently projects it will require. Prices are based on those advertised on Shar Music’s website (www.sharmusic.com) as of July, 26th:
Cello 1⁄2 outfit- (2) @ $579.00 each
Cello 3⁄4 outfit – (6) @ $579.00 each
Cello 4/4 outfit – (2) @ $500 each
Basses 1⁄4 outfit – (4) @ $1,299.00 each
Basses 1⁄2 outfit – (4) @ $1,299.00 each
Viola 13” outfit- (4) @ $259 each
Violin 3⁄4 outfit -(8) @ $104 each
Violin 1⁄2 outfit -(5) @ $168 each
Cello Case 3⁄4 size- (1) @ $89
Cello bow 3⁄4- (1) @ $60
Cello Bow 4/4 – (1) @ $60
Rosin (50) @ $1.89 each
Shoulder sponges (20)- @ $2.99 each
Assorted supply of replacement strings
Any assistance you could provide in helping create an inventory of instruments for our students would be greatly appreciated. This expanded instrument inventory will allow more of our students, residents in economically fragile and under-served communities, to have access to the educational benefits of participating in a string music program at an affordable cost to them and their families. In addition, an adequate school instrument inventory will generate rental income needed for purchasing supplies, maintaining the instrument inventory and potentially helping to further expand it in coming years.
Lauren Spitaliere and the students of St. Martin de Porres Marianist School