Bruce Scott will never forget the first time he held a cello in his hands.
He hopes to encourage the same in Henry County orchestra students.
Scott was diagnosed with first stage Hodgkin’s Lymphoma around Thanksgiving 2011. The disease has been in remission since April. After his cancer went into remission, Scott wanted to celebrate by doing something for the fledgling orchestra group Eastern Elementary Arts and Humanities teacher Amy Knight started.
The student orchestra began with 11 students and expanded to include the entire district. Two years and 23 students later, Knight hopes Scott’s generous contribution will inspire enthusiasm for the program and its students.
“The rental is more than a viola. We have two kids playing cellos now and hopefully now we will have more cellists,” Knight said.
Scott contacted Knight through the Henry County Public School Board. He had read about the program and wanted to do something to celebrate his remission and give a gift of opportunity some in district may not have.
“The school needs a critical mass of instruments,” Scott said. “I want every student to have the resources available to them whether they can afford it or not.”
Scott’s donation enabled Knight to order three cellos. She ordered them in June and they arrived Monday. Scott modestly admits the attention embarrasses him, but he hopes his donation will help other donations to come forward.
“If the school hadn’t given me a cello when I was in the fourth grade I don’t think my family would’ve supported me in learning it,” Scott said. “You don’t know if kids are going to be interested or will continue to be interested and still play.”
Scott’s three cellos would cost an average of $40 a month to rent totaling $480 a year per cello if a student rented the instrument on their own.
“I will never forget what it was like when they put a cello in my hands,” Scott said. “I have two cellos — one made in Minneapolis and the one my parents bought for me when I was 15 from Germany.”
A retiree, Scott lives part of his time in Sulphur and plays in the Lexington Community Orchestra. Scott still enjoys playing the cello. It’s something he can enjoy doing in retirement and continue to grow as a musician increasing his proficiency. Scott enjoys playing the Six Suites for unaccompanied cello by Johann Sebastian Bach and hopes to play with the student orchestra.
“I will be in New York State till labor day,” Scott said. “I am hoping to absolutely make it down this fall and play with the students.”
Knight also hopes Scott’s generous donations will open many opportunities.
“There are so many kids that want to be in the program,” Knight said. “We began this two years ago. I piloted this at Eastern Elementary and Superintendent Tim Abrams wanted this to be district wide. We have 3rd through 5th graders playing in the orchestra and we have a middle school student who still plays with us. We’re hoping starting kids this young that it’s an interest that will grow with them.”
Abrams hopes the program continues to grow.
“Last year we had students from New Castle, Campbellsburg and a few middle school students who met regularly after school,” Abrams said. “As more students become
Involved it is our hope to possibly add an orchestra class at the middle school and then the high school.”
Abrams said HCPS has a very strong band program, which has consistently scored well at the state music festivals and has helped develop some very talented musicians.
“Many have gone on to further their education in music at the post secondary level,” Abrams said. “ A district wide orchestra program will only add to an already strong arts program in HCPS.”
Knight’s orchestra program meets twice a week. At the beginning of the school year, Knight will send out a letter for students that are interested in joining the program. She expects to send the letter out by late August.
“Playing music has allowed me to meet a different set of people and connect to things in different ways,” Scott said. “Just something like music in a movie like Master and Commander. It makes everything more vivid. “
E-mail us about this article at email@example.com.