Oct. 5, 2012 — Morehead State University’s Christina Hartke-Towell, instructor of violin and viola,will be awarded the 2012 Governor’s Awards in the Arts in Education on Tuesday, Oct. 9, in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort.
Hartke-Towell,who also directs the 40-member MSU and Community Orchestra, is the founder, director and teacherof the Lucille Caudill Little String Programin the Rowan County Schools.
Award recipients for the Governor’s awards are selected through a rigorous nomination process.
During her school day, she instructs her students in one-on-one coaching sessions and in groups to prepare them for their regular school concerts and recitals, and for the many performances they conduct as community service projects. This string program is available, free of charge, to all students in McBrayer Elementary including ones who are hearing and physically impaired, and has expanded to include students in the middle and high schools.
Hartke-Towellhas literally been overwhelmed by the interest and energy that has been demonstrated in this community.
“My students are so excited to have the opportunity to learn about and perform on violins, violas and cellos,” she said, adding that, “It has also been wonderful to have the opportunity to work with Morehead State University and the National Endowment for the Arts/South Arts, Chamber Music America and Partners in Performance to bring world renowned performers to share their music with the students in the Rowan County schools.”
“I know our students are extremely lucky to have this exceptional opportunity of being a part of a string program. Very few other schools are able to offer such a program; and I would dare to say that even those that may have one, do not have the kind of dedicated and talented professional that we have in Christina,” said Marvin Moore, superintendent of Rowan County Schools.
“The string program was made possible through a grant from the Lucille Caudill Little Foundation and I am personally thankful to them for bringing strings to the Rowan County Schools,” said Hartke-Towell.
Funded for an initial three-year period in 2006 and later extended through 2014 by the W. Paul and Lucille Caudill Little Foundation, the program has since grown to support 136 students, with a waiting list of 50.
Hartke-Towellwas not only successful in acquiring funding for her string program in the schools. In working together with her husband, Dr. Gordon Towell (jazz studies/music education professor at Morehead State), she established an annual string clinic for middle and high school students which she calls the Virginia R. Harpham Honor String Orchestras.
Through this collaboration between the string programs in the Rowan County Schools and at Morehead State University, the two have also received several artist residency grants from South Arts (in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kentucky Arts Council), Chamber Music America and Partners in Performance. These grants helped fund guest artist residencies for nationally and internationally known violinists Mark O’Connor, Sara Caldwell, Rachel Barton Pine, Midori, the Cavani String Quartet, and for this year’s Virginia R. Harpham Honor Strings Orchestra Clinic, the Jasper String Quartet. These artists have traditionally spent several days in Morehead conducting workshops, masterclasses and performances in the schools, at Morehead State University and for the community.
“Christina is not merely satisfied with the instruction she can provide, however,”said Moore. “By working in conjunction with Morehead State University, their music programs, their music faculty, and the coordinators of other string event music opportunities, our string music students have additional musical experiences that could never be imagined at this level. Our elementary school, middle school and high school have had the extraordinary musical experience of playing with and receiving instruction from nationally acclaimed string groups—on more than one occasion.”
“MSU has long been a leader in music education. But it’s in the formative years where young people find their instrument—and with the guidance of a skillful teacher—they bring it to life. Our collaborative partnership with Christina and the Lucille Caudill Little Program has brought life to string education in Rowan County and has formed the basis for the development and growth of string programs throughout eastern Kentucky and beyond,” said Dr. M. Scott McBride, MSU’s dean of the Caudill College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
For information on MSU’s string program or the Virginia R. Harpham Honor String Orchestra Clinic, call 606-783-2198.For information about the Lucille Caudill Little String Program in the schools, call McBrayer Elementary at 606-784-1204.