LATROBE, PA – Gretsch is recognized worldwide as a maker of finely crafted guitars and drums, but as announced today, the name will also grace the newly established Gretsch Fellowship in Children’s Music at the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College.
A generous grant from Fred and Dinah Gretsch and their family has endowed The Gretsch Fellow in Children’s Music to conduct research and develop best practices in music experiences for children within the ethos and vision of the Fred Rogers Center and its mission “to help children grow as confident, competent, and caring human beings.”
“We extend our appreciation to Fred and Dinah Gretsch for their sponsorship of this new fellowship program,” said College president Father Paul R. Taylor, O.S.B. “This partnership provides a fantastic opportunity for professionals to engage in rigorous academic research, while building upon a set of shared beliefs in the importance of music in the development of young children. The Fred Rogers Center, with its consistent history of excellence in the field of child development, is once again on the cutting edge of research for the benefit of children. We are excited to begin this fellowship in the fall and look forward to a continued friendship with the Gretsch family.”
“We are grateful for this opportunity to bring a musician/scholar as a Fred Rogers Fellow to the Center to explore the materials in our Archive and to study the many ways that Fred Rogers used music to connect with children about really important things in life,” said Dr. Roberta Schomburg, executive director of the Fred Rogers Center. “Fred’s concern for children’s feelings was evident in the songs he created for “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” His love of music and his understanding of children went hand in hand as he created songs that have touched the lives of children and families for fifty years.”
“Dinah and I have a guiding belief enriching lives through participation in music and we can think of no one who exemplified and lived that principle more than Fred Rogers,” said Fred Gretsch, CEO of Fred Gretsch Enterprises. “Our family is honored to further the work of the Fred Rogers Center through the Gretsch Fellowship.”
With this announcement and in keeping with the Gretsch tradition of excellence, The Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College is recruiting talented professionals for the Fellows program, with the expectation that each successive Fellow will significantly advance the quality and profile of the program. Applications are now being accepted at www.fredrogerscenter.org. The direct link to the Gretsch Fellowship Application page on the FRC Website is: https://www.fredrogerscenter.org/get-involved/fellowship-application.
A musician with notable credentials in scholarship, education, or a related background will be considered and, to align with Gretsch’s focus, a special invitation is offered to guitarists and drummers, but all musical backgrounds will be considered. One Gretsch Fellow will be selected, with the fellowship beginning fall 2020.
During the two-semester appointment, a Gretsch Fellow will be expected to conduct research in the Fred Rogers Archive and prepare a scholarly whitepaper, journal article or other scholarly product related to children and music. Topics of study will vary depending on a Fellow’s area of expertise and may include, for example, research on Fred’s methodology for integrating music in “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” observations of children learning and performing music, and studies of effective methods for musical instruction. The Fred Rogers Center also has the capacity to support a “virtual” Fellow to facilitate participation by academic faculty; preschool, kindergarten, and elementary teachers; music educators; and others who may not be able to maintain a physical presence on the campus during both semesters of the appointment.
A passionate musician, Fred Rogers believed that music was critical for the social and emotional development of young people. In a July 22, 1999, interview for the Archive of American Television, Rogers said of music:
My first love is music. It is a unique way for me to express who I am and what I am feeling. Music was always my way of saying who I was and how I felt. I was always able to cry or laugh or say I was angry through the tips of my fingers on the piano. I would go to the piano even when I was five years old. I started to play how I felt. And so it was very natural for me to become a composer. Having written all of the music for the Neighborhood I feel as if that’s one of my gifts to children…There is something very mystical and wonderful about how music can touch us.
“Since my great-grandfather Friedrich Gretsch established his namesake company in Brooklyn in 1883, our family has been engaged in a worldwide community of music makers,” Fred Gretsch said. “For generations, we’ve understood the importance of music education and the more we can learn through research and the development of best practices, the greater the impact we can have on the lives of our children.”
For more information about The Gretsch Fellowship in Children’s Music at the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College, visit www.fredrogerscenter.org or call 724-805-2750.
About the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College
Planned under Fred’s guidance and established in 2003 at Saint Vincent College in his hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the Fred Rogers Center supports and enriches the important work of those who help children learn and grow across multiple disciplines, including early learning, education, communication, health, media and more. By focusing our work on strengthening human relationships and promoting meaningful uses of technology and media, we support the current practice and ongoing development of child-serving professionals; expand educational opportunities for all students (including the Fred Rogers Scholars); and collaborate in public service and applied research with educational and research institutions and community organizations. Our work is rooted in the southwestern Pennsylvania region, and continues to grow across the United States and around the world.
About Saint Vincent College
Saint Vincent College is a Catholic, Benedictine, four-year, private, liberal arts college, situated on 200 acres in the picturesque Laurel Highlands in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Saint Vincent offers more than 50 undergraduate majors, nine graduate and professional programs, 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports, and more than 50 clubs and organizations. With an 11:1 student-faculty ratio, students receive personalized attention as part of a connected campus community that prepares them for lives of meaning and success.
With its emphasis on hand-craftmanship and commitment to quality over a storied 135 years and counting, Gretsch is globally recognized as a manufacturer of the world’s finest guitars and drums. Over the years, “That Great Gretsch Sound” has earned endorsements for some of the music industry’s most respected artists from Chet Atkins and George Harrison to Bono and Brian Setzer. Led by fourth generation CEO Fred Gretsch and CFO Dinah Gretsch, the family supports educational and philanthropic initiatives that champion “enriching lives through participation in music.”
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