Rancho Santa Fe residents Bill and Susan Hoehn host musical fundraiser featuring Dr. Condoleezza Rice



Classics for Kids Foundation, a national nonprofit organization that provides matching grants to bring music programs and string instruments to at-risk youth, announced recently that it will be offering matching grants in 40 new communities through proceeds from musical performances in Rancho Santa Fe and Beverly Hills. Funds from the Rancho Santa Fe event held May 31 will support new matching grants to the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory and other string programs in Southern California.

“We started Classics for Kids to change the lives of at-risk youth around the country by opening the doors of classical music to them,” said Mike Reynolds, Classics for Kids founder and executive director. “Today, I’m thrilled to be able to bring this opportunity to kids in Southern California.”

The San Diego event was co-chaired by Mark Hannah, Rita Lancaster-Hannah, Bill Hohen and Susan Hoehn, and held at the Hoehns’ home in Rancho Santa Fe with an attendance of 200 prominent San Diegans, including: Ann Evans, Kim and Marilyn Fletcher, Mike and Rocio Flynn, Papa Doug Manchester, Peter and Peggy Preuss, and Karin Winner. The guests enjoyed musical performances by former Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice and the Muir String Quartet. The San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory also performed for guests.

“Bill and I are honored to host Classics for Kids at our home, and were thrilled with the outpouring of support from the community. Every now and then an organization comes along that has such an enormous impact on the lives and futures of the next generation, and Classics for Kids is one of those. Our most sincere appreciation to Dr. Condoleezza Rice and the Muir String Quartet for their incredible performances this evening,” Susan Hoehn said.

“My personal experience with Classics for Kids began a year ago when my husband and I were invited to the Yellow Stone Club in Montana for a very special evening with Condoleezza Rice in benefit of Classics for Kids Foundation,” said event co-chair Rita Lancaster-Hannah. “The experience of that evening was full of magical moments that I will never forget. I wanted to share this beautiful experience with my friends and community. This organization helps children know, learn and love the language of music, and for that our world will be a little better with each young student we touch.”

According to the 1995 College-Bound Seniors National Report: Profile of SAT Program Test Takers, published by The College Entrance Examination Board (courtesy of MENC), students who study music may do better academically than their peers: “Students with coursework/experience in music performance scored higher on the SAT, 51 points higher on the verbal and 39 points higher on the math for music performance than students with no arts participation. Students with four or more years of arts study scored 59 points higher on the verbal and 44 points higher on the math portions than students with no experience in the arts.”

“Classics for Kids fills a critical void for schools — the ability to provide children with high quality instruments to aid in their instruction and enjoyment of music,” Rice said. “The study of music is not, to my mind, an ‘extracurricular activity.’ It’s at the core of educating our children broadly, giving them the confidence to take on difficult challenges and the opportunity to gain a talent that can be with them for a lifetime. Classics for Kids is a great partner for the schools in this important work.”

Classics for Kids Foundation was co-founded in 1998 by Rice and the Muir Quartet (in residence at Boston University) cellist Michael Reynolds in response to the decline of music education programs in public schools. Since then, the organization has supported more than 100 matching grants in communities across the nation, with instrument values of more than $1 million.

“Dr. Rice and the Classics for Kids Foundation are making a huge difference for the children of our community. By giving access to high quality string instruments, the Foundation is developing musical citizens with discipline, tenacity, and empathy while inspiring local investment in music education for more students. We are proud to be the Foundation’s partner in making music education accessible and affordable to all children in San Diego,” said Dalouge Smith, president and CEO of San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory.

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–Photos/Boyd Harris Photography