The donation was made at a benefit dinner hosted by the Mayor de Blasio and First Lady, Chirlane McCray for the Gracie Mansion Conservancy on Oct. 20. With the generous gift, the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Arts and Special Projects will identify 20 schools that are prepared to develop a music instruction program and to hire new instrumental music teachers.
School leaders involved in the new initiative must make a three-year commitment. The donation will also serve to aid principals in building out a band or orchestra instruction program for their schools.
"I have been passionate about the importance of music in education ever since I wrote Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for a school nearly 50 years ago," said Lloyd Webber in a press statement. "The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation has pioneered a scheme in problem public schools in Britain where every child receives a free musical instrument and free music tuition for their entire school career. 3,000 children are now part of this scheme and their academic achievements as a result have been transformed."
"Thanks to Lord Lloyd Webber's generous gift, a lack of available musical instruments won't stand in the way of those opportunities for thousands of middle school students," added Gabrielle Fialkoff, senior advisor to the Mayor and director of the Mayor's Office of Strategic Partnerships.
According to press notes, "schools with music programs have an estimated 90.2% graduation rate and 93.9% attendance rate compared to schools without music education, which average 72.9% graduation and 84.9% attendance. Children who study a musical instrument are more likely to excel in all of their studies, work better in teams, have enhanced critical thinking skills, stay in school, and pursue further education." Experience School of Rock's cutting edge 360-degree music video shot with GoPro HERO 360° technology that allows the viewer to virtually inhabit the same space as the performers.
School of Rock – The Musical is set to begin previews at the Winter Garden Theatre on Nov. 9, with an official opening night set for Dec. 6. Based on the 2003 film of the same title, the show will feature music from the movie, as well as an original score by Lloyd Webber and lyricist Glenn Slater, with a book by Julian Fellowes and direction by Laurence Connor.
For more information and to purchase tickets visit SchoolofRocktheMusical.com.