Saturday, October 11, 2008

These Talented Natchez Kids Need Help Now!

UPDATE: We made it! Thanks to all the generous people of Natchez - and to the Natchez Democrat for running an article, which definitely helped.

Did you know that the Robert Lewis Middle School Orchestra is the only orchestra in the whole state that was accepted for the National Orchestra Festival? That’s right, I said orchestra – not band – and they play classical music! And it’s students from our public schools – not from one of our private schools. This is a fantastic success story, and we should all be proud of these extremely talented musicians. The sky’s the limit for these kids. As their teacher, Shawn Smith, told them, “That’s your ticket to college, that’s your scholarship.”

Photo from article in the Natchez Democrat.

There’s just one problem. They have to pay their own way, and they’re far short of their goal. They have to send a $3250 deposit to the festival by Wednesday – and they only have $1075. Imagine how these kids will feel when they’ve worked so hard and done everything right but they still lose – just because this town would not support them. We cannot let this happen!

Please send a check for whatever you can afford to Orchestra Booster Club, P O Box 198, Natchez MS 39121 by Wednesday. Then forward this to everyone you know.

For more information, call the school at 601.445.2926, email the orchestra at or email their teacher, Shawn Smith, at

UPDATE: A contribution is tax deductible, and I have their tax id number, if you need it.


Anonymous said...

This is fantastic! This is a worthy investment in the young people of Natchez. I'm sending a big check! I wonder if it is tax deductible?

Shawn said...

I don't know if it is tax deductible, but our booster club does have a non-profit status with the IRS. We needed that just to open our bank account at UMB.

The kids have an impressive repertoire of music they are rehearsing for the National Orchestra Festival: Mouret's "Rondeau" (better known as the theme to PBS' Masterpiece Theatre), Strauss' "Emperor Waltz, the first movement of Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik", several contemporary compositions and to end the program, a song that may not be "classical", but is a classic, Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven."

These kids are smart, talented, and fun to teach.

-Shawn Smith

Shawn said...

Casey mentioned in her blog that we are an orchestra, not band. I thought I would explain the difference between what I teach and the band program.

The orchestra consist of the stringed instruments: violin, viola, cello and double bass.

Anonymous said...

Shawn, I'm so impressed and proud of these young people...and you, too! Thank you for your dedication to the youth of our community. I'm delighted that I have the opportunity to make a contribution. g

Casey Ann said...

As noted in an update, a contribution is tax deductible.

Shawn said...

Thanks to everyone who helped.