McMinnville’s Breakfast Rotary and Noon Rotary clubs are hoping to raise enough money to send all Warren County fourth-graders to the 50th season of the Bryan Symphony Orchestra at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville. If enough money is raised, the trip will take place Nov. 19.
The Bryan Symphony Orchestra is named after McMinnville’s own Charles Faulkner Bryan, who studied at the Nashville Conservatory of Music before being hired to run Tennessee Tech’s music division in 1935. He was, in fact, the only music professor at the time. While at Tech, Bryan formed a student orchestra, other ensembles and directed the glee club and marching band.
Bryan was also the first Tennessee composer to win a Guggenheim fellowship. Bryant died in 1955. An historical marker honoring him stands in front of Warren County Courthouse.
The Bryan Symphony trip is offered to all fourth-graders in the county, whether in public school, private school, or home-schooled.
Last year, the Rotary clubs received a District Simplified Grant, which paid for the trip. The clubs did not receive the grant this year.
The orchestra will perform excerpts from classics, occasional pop movie soundracks, and Broadway musical tunes.
“Last year, a survey showed only 8 percent of fourth-graders had ever heard a symphony orchestra and most of those heard one on TV, not in person,” said Noon Rotary member Bill Zechman. “This gets them on the campus of a major university. This could be a life-changing event for some of them.”
The Rotary clubs are asking the public to donate in order to help make this trip possible. Zechman has proposed two levels of donors, although he said any amount donated will be appreciated.
• $250 – corporate level donor
• $100 – individual level donor
“Of course, we will accept any amount. Any amount donated will be used to give these students a cultural enrichment experience,” said Zechman.
Checks may be written to the Rotary Club of McMinnville and can be mailed to P.O. Box 7001, McMinnville, Tenn. 37111. For more information, contact Zechman at 473-6523.