“It’s so beautiful. I love it,” coos a Hug High School orchestra student as she examines a new viola. She’s one of the first to play instruments donated to the school courtesy of Fidelity Investments and the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. In all, the gift to the school’s music program is valued at more than $20,000.
"It means so much to our arts program," says Principal Andrew Kelly. “It’s just an incredibly generous gift and it will mean that our kids will be able to play on better quality instruments.” As a former music teacher, Kelly says he understands the importance of music on a student's development, but finding the funding for instruments can be difficult. “We work as a school to try and leverage resources,” he says. “We have instruments that are owned by Washoe County School District that we try and allow kids to use, but lots of times we have kids who would like to play or be involved, and we just don’t have the instruments for them.”
Thursday, band and orchestra students were told that they would be performing for some VIP's from Fidelity. They didn't know the investment company, that recently opened a branch in Reno, would be bringing them gifts. Some of the instruments purchased through the grant will replace older ones, but many are a first for these students. Faculty say the new instruments will give the music department a fuller sound, but the students say it will help keep them engaged in learning and growing.