Rea Charitable Trust gives $100,000 toward music major

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Senior Ana Norman plays the piano in Cardinal Farrell Hall. Photo by Francesca Norman.

The guardians of Plato’s “Republic” resemble University of Dallas students in a number of ways. But unlike the guardians, UD students currently receive little opportunity to pursue a full musical education.

The Rea Charitable Trust recently awarded a $100,000 grant to the UD music department to help create a music major and amend this gap in the university’s curriculum.

According to Music Department Director Kristin Van Cleve, the grant will go toward expenses such as faculty salaries, new instruments and expanding the library’s music collection.

The Rea Charitable Trust is named after Isabel McClintic Rea, a talented pianist who was a native of Midland, Texas, according to the trust’s website. The trust was founded in 2009 in order to “promote the arts” in the spirit of the trust’s namesake.

The trust has given grants to support university music programs in the past, such as a $119,000 grant to Rea’s alma mater, Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Va., in 2016.

This is the second grant awarded to the music program by the Rea Charitable Trust in recent months. Last year, the trust awarded the department $30,000, according to Van Cleve.

This initial $30,000 grant purchased necessary “infrastructure” upgrades, such as new choir risers, music stands, sheet music and music resources in the library.

After the Faculty Senate approved the major last fall, the department’s fundraising efforts have increased.  

“The implementation of the music major is really contingent upon funding,” Van Cleve said.

In an effort to create the music major, Van Cleve said that the music department is actively working with the Office of Advancement to identify grants and fundraising opportunities.

Van Cleve estimates the department will need to raise a total of $250,000 in order to properly develop and implement the major.

The grant application for the Rea Charitable Trust was completed with the assistance of Fran Fisher, director of foundation relations. Fisher first found the grant and notified the music department, according to Van Cleve.

In order to successfully complete a grant application, Fisher wrote that she works with faculty members to compile relevant information, create a budget, and have a cover letter signed by the president.

Due to this laborious grant application process, Van Cleve said that the department does not have a specific fundraising schedule, but she remains optimistic about the major’s funding.

“I hope it happens really soon,” she said. “The sooner, the better.”

Unlike other majors, such as the B.A. in Italian which was approved in 2017, the music major requires extensive funding due to the nature of its development.

Most new majors only require hiring additional faculty, wrote Dr. Anthony Nussmeier, director of UD’s Italian program.

However, the music major also requires new performance spaces and instruments, according to van Cleve.

Van Cleve said that UD needs a new auditorium in order for the major to succeed, terming the lack of a performing arts space “a deficit on campus” that affects the entire UD community.

The university has needed a performance space since Lynch Auditorium was demolished in 2016, although Provost Jonathan Sanford described the construction of an auditorium as “sort of next in queue,” according to a Sept. 19 article in The University News.

While the administration has not publically released plans for a new auditorium or initiated a fundraising campaign, Van Cleve said she believes the music major will attract donors to give toward an auditorium. The music department is not currently responsible for fundraising for the auditorium.

In addition, van Cleve hopes the university’s new president will support her department’s endeavors.

“I’m hoping that a new president … loves the idea of having a robust, healthy music department and will help us in our efforts to get a new performing arts facility,” she said.

Like the philosophers in the “Republic,” van Cleve believes that a musical education as essential to the liberal arts.

“You can’t have a liberal arts institution without a music major,” Van Cleve said.

For Van Cleve, music is available to everyone because it changes both those who participate in it and those who appreciate it.

“Music can reach anybody, in some way, shape or form,” Van Cleve said.

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