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Initiative Quarterly

Fund Established to Support Young Musicians

February 19, 2016

Kenneth & Evelyn Pinckney Young Musicians' Fund grounded in belief that all Little Falls children should have the opportunity to explore music

LITTLE FALLS, Minn.-The benefits of playing a musical instrument are well documented, especially in children. From brain development to improved academics, it can make a lasting impact on young people. Kenneth and Evelyn Pinckney understood this, and brought their love of music and the arts to the entire Little Falls community.
Grant Award Picture

Ken Pinckney became the Little Falls public schools’ instrumental music director in 1939. Throughout his four-decade tenure, he brought a passionate and generous love of music that reached beyond the four walls of his classroom. Daughter Patricia Pinckney reflected on a childhood steeped in the arts. “Music is a forever gift to children from parents, teachers and the entire community,” she said.

In that spirit, and to honor her parents’ belief that every child who wants to play an instrument should have the opportunity to do so, Patricia has partnered with the Initiative Foundation to establish Playing it Forward: The Kenneth and Evelyn Pinckney Young Musicians' Fund.
The late Kenneth Pinckney started playing in dance band ensembles when he was 12 years old. Years later, in 1939, he became the Little Falls band director and held that position until his retirement in 1976. Throughout his career in Little Falls, Kenneth also organized a VFW Drum & Bugle Corps, directed the Little Falls City Band and played in the Night Owls and the Heartland Symphony. His main instruments were clarinet and saxophone and other woodwinds, and most any instrument handed to him.
Many Little Falls Community High School graduates can still recite the “Hail to Our Colors ...” school song lyrics, written and composed by Ken. He and his wife Evelyn, also a teacher, believed strongly in the importance of the arts and education, especially music. Evelyn is 101 and a resident at a senior living facility in Little Falls.Patricia_Evelyn.JPG

“The cost of renting or buying an instrument is often a big barrier for students, and this opens up many new opportunities,” said Stephen Jones, Little Falls school superintendent. “Our instrumental teachers are extremely excited and feel a great responsibility around this fund. We also hope it will spotlight the fact that our district offers a huge breadth of activities, and that we have a higher percentage of students involved in music and other extra-curriculars than we do in athletics. Music really is a lifelong skill.”
The new Turn Key partner fund hosted by the Initiative Foundation will ...
  • Playing it Forward: Provide musical instruments to elementary and middle school students.
  • Cadence Music Award: Create an annual grant to a Little Falls-area organization that is creating instrumental musical experiences for young musicians.
  • Play it Again: Partner with the school system to gather donated instruments from the community and provide them to beginning music students.

“We facilitate a number of types of designated gifts and funds that advance the passions of donors,” said Kathy Gaalswyk, president of the Initiative Foundation, which hosts more than 80 community, education and donor-designated funds. “Music is in the fabric of the Little Falls community, and this fund honors and celebrates that legacy.”

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