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Pre-College Strings Development Program earns regional award

WKU’s Pre-College Strings Development Program received the Non-Credit Program of Excellence Award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA).

WKU Continuing Education Director Sharon Woodward accepted the award during the group’s south region conference last month in Austin, Texas.

UPCEA membership is comprised of public and private accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities, international universities and nonprofit organizations with a significant commitment to professional and continuing higher education. UPCEA seeks to advance the field and provide timely perspectives on educational issues.

The WKU Music Department and the WKU Division of Extended Learning and Outreach (DELO) launched the Pre-College Strings Development Program in 2003 to offer high quality instruction in orchestral stringed instruments in a nurturing environment. The foundation for the community and public strings program was laid in 1999 with a professorship endowment gift made by WKU supporter Jerry E. Baker. Through the program, WKU artist faculty at the Ivan Wilson Fine Arts Center conduct private lessons, and students have an opportunity to participate in group classes, master classes, recitals and concerts.

Another aspect of the Music Department/DELO collaboration brought orchestra classes to the elementary students in several Warren County and Bowling Green schools.  Increasing enrollments prompted the Bowling Green and Warren County school systems to hire their own orchestra instructors.  WKU continues to work with the school systems, teaching elementary students in the Warren County schools and hosting collaborative concerts with the city schools.

Beginning with a university-funded grant and 21 students, there are now more than 400 students studying strings in 17 public schools in Bowling Green City and Warren County.  There are currently 40 students taking private lessons.

“We are so proud of this program and the opportunities it provides to our youth,” Woodward said. “Recent program additions, such as collaborative concerts with The Symphony, have brought the program to an even greater level.”

For information about the WKU Strings Program, contact Sharon Woodward, Continuing Education Director, at sharon.woodward@wku.edu or 270-745-1912.

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