Volume 17, Number 41 | March 4 - 11, 2005

Students donating instruments to Sri Lankan school

By Aman Singh

A Downtown music school has decided to raise funds for a Sri Lanka school that was devastated in the December 2004 tsunami and create a pen-pal society at the same time.

More than 100 music and dance students, four to 18 years old, of the Third Street Third Street Music School Settlement will give a concert this Sunday to help restore musical instruments to Sri Lankan students whose school suffered severe damage in the tsunami disaster.

This special fundraiser, called Hearts for the Arts, will take place on Sunday, March 13, 2005 from noon–5 p.m. in Third Street’s Anna Maria Kellen Auditorium, located at 235 East 11th St. This event is free but donations to the “Third Street Tsunami Relief Fund” are requested.

The funds raised by the performance will be used to benefit the Anuladevi Girls School in Galle, a city in south Sri Lanka. The school is situated just 300 meters from the sea—less than four New York City blocks—and suffered a lot of physical damage and the loss of thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

The event will also feature a silent auction of children’s art, created by students of Viorica Morris-Stan.
The performance is aimed at raising funds to help the Sri Lankan students get new musical instruments, which include violins, melodicas and traditional drums, and to begin thier regular curriculum again. Third Street is planning to donate a piano, high on Anuladevi Girls School’s wish list prior to the tsunami.

Anuladevi Girls School began in 1999 as an elementary school but has expanded almost 10 times in the last five years. Prior to the tsunami its music program included three bands that played for daily school assemblies and special events.

It began by serving children of elementary grades and today enrolls almost 1,700 girls through grade 10. “It will help in creating a pen-pal society between the two schools where students have a common interest in the arts could benefit through interaction and advisement,” said Karen Haight, the communications manager at Third Street. “The number of students in both schools is the same and it will help them increase their community base.”

Professional artists, including some Sri Lankan musicians, will also be joining the student performers. The students are hoping to raise $50 each and as much as $25,000 from the concert, said Haight.

Third Street Music School Settlement, founded in 1894, is the nation’s oldest community music school and has raised funds to benefit the children of musicians who died in the sinking of the Titanic and more recently, for children with AIDS and for destitute families in Somalia.

Those interested in the concert or in making donations can call 212-777-3240 x142.

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