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Arkansas Symphony Orchestra receives $1.5 million grant for new building

The ASO will soon be receiving a $1.5 million dollar grant, and it will go towards a new music community center to help teach more children in the youth orchestra.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra now has the chance to grow in ways they never have before. And they will make sure students have the greatest opportunity to learn and succeed in a new building.

Currently, the children in the orchestra practice their instruments in a building located on the grounds of the Catholic Diocese in Little Rock.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra has had their offices in that spot for just around 25 years. As the children's programs have grown, the. ASO has also outgrown the space.

"We are just literally on top of each other," said Christina Littlejohn, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's CEO.

The ASO offices currently share space with the audition rooms, private lessons, and rehearsals for the youth orchestra. They even had to convert a storage closet into a functioning space to allow for more kids to learn.

"Nothing says 'how fast can I write this grant' like listening to beginning violins," said Littlejohn.

Now, they have been given a chance to grow in a way they never have before. Soon, they will break ground on a new music education community center in Little Rock's East Village, next to Heifer International. 

The project is estimated to cost a grand total of $10 million dollars and the Windgate Foundation will help the ASO by giving them a grant.

If ASO can raise a total of $3 million dollars, Windgate will match that amount with $1.5 million dollars. The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra must raise the money by April 2023 in order to receive the grant from the foundation.

When that happens, ASO will be able to break ground.

The music education center will have plenty of space for music classrooms, a music library, an administrative wing, and at the heart of it all will be... a rehearsal hall.

"The most beautiful part of the building is where our kids will be playing and so we are calling it the grand hall. So, it will be ceiling height where the kids will be able to hear each other and they'll be able to do recitals," said Littlejohn.

This new building will give children the opportunity to grow into talented team players and into leaders for the next generation.

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