As a Rome native, educator, musician and founder of Opus 118 Harlem School of Music, I applaud the Rome City School District Music Department for its active efforts to ensure that every student who desires to play a musical instrument is afforded the opportunity.
During the 1950s I was raised in Rome — a rich, nurturing and loving community whose abundance of wealth has been its people. My family couldn’t afford to pay for private music lessons for me. So if it hadn’t been for the excellent music program offered in the Rome public school system, I might never have learned to play the violin.
Because all children should be entitled to feel pride through music expression, I am very excited to learn of the Rome school district’s efforts to raise $100,000 to replace instruments that are beyond repair. With a full inventory of instruments, the Music Department will be able to ensure that children who wish can learn to play an instrument that is loaned to them by the school district, without having to purchase it or pay a rental fee.
I am heartened by the fact that the Music Department Instrument Fund has already reached the half-way mark; I am confident that the generosity and financial support of the Rome community will ensure that the fund achieves its goal of $100,000.
Bravo to the Rome City School District and its Music Department for believing in the importance of quality music education for all children! Keep striving for excellence in your music programs, as music is always the clear path to the hearts and souls of all mankind.
— Roberta Guaspari,
New York City
Editor’s Note: Roberta Guaspari, founder and artistic director of performance of the Opus 118 Harlem School of Music, began her teaching career in three East Harlem public schools in 1980. Through her work, she has become an international figure in the fight for public school music education.
In 1996 the documentary film “Small Wonders” featuring Roberta and her students was nominated for an Academy Award, and her story was the inspiration for the feature film “Music of the Heart,” in which she was portrayed by actress Meryl Streep. Roberta is co-author of an autobiographical book of the same title.