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PNC Foundation Grants Will Enable Music School to Renovate Recital Hall and Incorporate Music in Preschool Classrooms

A PNC Foundation grant of $600,000 will help Duquesne’s Mary Pappert School of Music renovate its recital hall and enable one of its faculty members to work with local preschools to incorporate music into their classrooms.

The School of Music will utilize the majority of the grant from the PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from the PNC Financial Services Group, to focus on improving the audience experience at its PNC Recital Hall.

Enhancements to the 260-capacity recital hall will include new seating, fresh paint and new carpeting. Renovations to the PNC Recital Hall lobby will include repainting and the installation of new carpet, bulkheads, lighting, acoustic wall panels, wall coverings and wood trim. In addition, a kitchen area will be added and the men’s and women’s restrooms will be completely remodeled.

“Our PNC Recital Hall hosts well over one hundred performances annually.  During the past decade, we have built a loyal audience of devoted chamber music lovers thanks to our critically acclaimed faculty performances,” said Music School Dean Edward Kocher. “We are very grateful to the PNC Foundation for this grant, which will help us to improve and enhance the experience for all of our guests at the recital hall.”

The PNC Foundation grant is also helping Dr. Rachel Whitcomb, an expert in early childhood music education, to create user-friendly music lessons and materials for local preschools. Her goal is to connect the fields of music education and early childhood education so that teachers feel comfortable incorporating musical activities into everyday instruction. The grant was made by PNC in support of its signature philanthropic initiative, PNC Grow Up Great, a 10-year, $100 million bilingual program to improve early childhood education.

“Preschool teachers often lack the training they would like to have to teach music,” said Whitcomb. “This project is designed to provide them with the preparation and resources they need to integrate music into their classrooms in Pittsburgh.”

Whitcomb is developing lesson plans and practical teaching ideas and selecting six area preschools in need of music programs. She is training and preparing six undergraduate music education majors from the School of Music, who will then teach the lessons in the designated schools during the spring 2011 semester.

Next summer, the School of Music will offer a professional development conference for Pittsburgh preschool teachers who are interested in incorporating the music lesson plans developed by Whitcomb.

“There will be other early childhood music education specialists that will join me in presenting additional ideas about how to include music in meaningful ways during the school day,” said Whitcomb. “Teachers will also be able to receive Act 48 and PQAS continuing education credits.”

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.