The East Texas Symphony Orchestra (ETSO) has always been dedicated to music and education.  Even if it can assist in the schooling of just one more child its aim is to immerse children in its classical music in order to improve the futures of our youngest scholars.  ETSO Executive Director Nancy Wrenn believes the music of the classical masters enhances the classroom performance of young students.
Research compendia indicate that education in the arts is a promising route to improving the lot of at-risk youth who are both very young and come from disadvantaged situations.  Also, students needing remedial instruction benefit in all areas from education in classical arts.
Specifically, exposure to the arts produces an optimum learning environment that cannot help but improve young minds’ concentration on their education.  The arts can reach students that may not be reached by any other avenue, and even create learning opportunities for the parents and guardians of less fortunate children.
The most significant factor in sustaining arts education in our schools is the active involvement of community leaders and institutions.  This furthers the shaping and implementation of policies and programs related to arts awareness.  The ETSO’s mission is to engage, embrace and excite East Texas as a community through inspiring musical performances, hence influencing growth and learning via connecting audiences who attend live performances.  In response to current economic crises the ETSO-AT&T collaboration is essential toward accomplishing the goal of reaching students first through a distance, offering substantial music education while simultaneously responding to constituents’ financial needs.  AT&T External Affairs Director for Northeast Texas Candace Gast is upbeat about the partnership’s potential.
“At AT&T we know the importance of the fine arts for their role in enriching the local communities they serve, and we are thrilled to be able to provide the East Texas Symphony Orchestra with this grant of $10,000,” she said.  “As a committed supporter of the arts, and through its philanthropic initiatives and partnerships, AT&T supports projects like this one, which create learning opportunities, promote academic and economic achievement and address community needs.”
She went further in her outline of the project.
“We invest in the people and communities in which we live, work and operate every day, and we hope this grant will open even more doors and opportunities for the people of East Texas to continue to enjoy the Symphony Orchestra’s shows and performances now and in years to come,” she said.
“I am very excited about AT&T’s continued support of the arts,” said Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass.  “Their particular interest and collaboration to improve the lives of young people in our community is greatly appreciated.”
When school districts endure budget cuts, concert performances and field trips are typically the first activities to be eliminated.  By electronically connecting schools curricula can be integrated, meeting the essential elements Texas needs for music and arts education.  Teachers are therefore able to receive quality lessons themselves while presenting and evaluating, on-campus, connected live art forms.  “Our students and the ETSO thank AT&T for addressing this vital community need,” said Wrenn.

Left to right: Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass, Gregg Smith, president East Texas Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors, Candice Gast, director, AT&T External Affairs Northeast Texas, and Nancy Wrenn, executive director, East Texas Symphony Orchestra