Butler University and Meridian Music will donate 13 Yamaha Clavinova digital pianos to the Christel House Academy for use in its music education program.
The 88-key digital pianos, which will come from Butler’s electronic keyboard lab, will help Butler Community Arts School fellows who teach at Christel House Academy provide a better music education for students who attend the Indianapolis charter school.
The Butler instruments will replace the academy’s smaller, 61-key portable keyboards.
“It’s a win-win situation,” said Karen Thickstun, director of the Butler Community Arts School, which provides music lessons to students in the Indianapolis community. “It enhances our partnership and it serves the children of Christel House Academy.”
Christel House Academy is a local charter school on the near southside of Indianapolis whose mission is to break the cycle of poverty by fostering the development of its students into self-sufficient, contributing members of society. More than 90 percent of its student body receives free or reduced-cost lunch.
The Butler Community Arts School and Christel House Academy began their partnership seven years ago with after-school private lessons for elementary-school age students. In the fall of 2006, the partnership expanded to teaching middle school students in studio classes during the regularly scheduled school day.
The partnership grew again in the fall of 2010 with the opening of the Watanabe High School of Christel House Academy. Currently, Butler students provide private lessons and studio classes in conjunction with Christel House Academy staff to nearly 280 students – more than 50 percent of the school population – on a weekly basis.
With the program now in its sixth year, some of the students have become accomplished enough to need a full-sized keyboard. Diana Szelei, the music teacher at Christel House said Christel House “is grateful to Butler and Meridian Music for their generosity.”
“The school had been brainstorming for some time how to purchase better, newer equipment for the students, since some of the school’s inventory had been wearing out due to its extensive use over the years,” Szelei said. “However, due to current economical state and the expense of such a project, the idea of updating the keyboard lab seemed out of reach. Butler’s and Meridan Music’s gift arrived just on time.”
Thickstun said Butler is replacing the instruments in its electronic keyboard lab with newer models from Meridian Music. Normally, the University would trade in its older digital pianos, but working in conjunction with Meridian Music, the decision was made to donate the old instruments to Christel House Academy.