Have you heard about the Eschler Music Foundation? I hadn’t either until recently. It’s a non-profit in Boylan Heights working on an annual concert series. Don’t worry, you haven’y missed anything yet, it’s scheduled to debut this Fall. But while that’s being planned, they’re giving back to the community in different ways. We caught up with Victoria Petro-Eschler to find out more about the Eschler Music Foundation, the Life Center they started, and why they’re proud to be part of Raleigh’s Creative District.
SWRAL: Tell our readers about Eschler Music Foundation.
Victoria: The Eschler Music Foundation is a new non-profit, equally devoted to social justice and the arts. We host an annual concert series. The 2012 concert will debut in Raleigh in Fall 2012 and is entitled, “A Community of Spirit.” We also opened a “Life Center” in Boylan Heights, where we teach music, art, and any other classes that might enhance the quality of life for the community. Once we hit “critical mass” in these classes, we intend to extend the invitation to those who may not ordinarily be able to afford classes and lessons, building community as we promote art.
Why did you start Eschler Music Foundation?
Victoria: My husband (Nathaniel Eschler) graduated from Brandeis University with his PhD in Music Theory and Composition in 2011. I (Victoria Petro-Eschler) earned my Masters of Musicology from Brandeis in 2009. Facing a bleak job market, especially in the field of music, we chose to be innovative instead of disillusioned. Thus, we created Eschler Music Foundation, wherein we hope to serve the community while maintaining a high standard of excellence for music and art.
Why are you in the Creative District?
Victoria: Physically, we are in the Creative District simply because the space we found to rent is in Boylan Heights. We are falling more in love with this neighborhood as we develop. The “vibe” in the creative district, and Boylan in particular, has been energizing, exciting, and encouraging.
We are in the C.R.E.A.T.I.V.E district ideologically in that we are committed to many of the tenets on which it is predicated. We are WHOLLY devoted to Community and developing it more fully. Recreation and Education are pivotal in the offerings we present at the Life Center and what we hope to accomplish through our annual concert series. Arts, obviously, comprise our central vehicle for community service. We are excited to keep up with the ever evolving technological options, even offering lessons by Skype, as requested. We are Innovative, in that we are finding a new way to become our own art’s patron, refusing to be discouraged by the weak job market. Our vision is one that exalts social justice and high quality art and decisions are made around those two aims. And, Entertainment goes hand-in-hand with anything music!
What impact do you want to have on the local community?
Victoria: We want to create community. Somehow, music and the community have become disparate entities. We want to return music to the community and the community to music. This goal is realized in several ways:
- We want to identify students who are promising students and allow companies/churches/friend groups/etc offer 6 month scholarships to empower study;
- We want to encourage new composers, whose music is often considered “unapproachable” or “too abstract” to reconnect to the community and explain what they are doing and why;
- We want to be a safe place where people can freely explore their questions, concerns, ideas, and hopes; and
- We want to be a platform where others in the community with something to offer are given the option to do so in a safe, supportive environment.
How does someone get involved?
Victoria: There are details about us on our website: www.eschlermusicfoundation.org. Or, you can contact me, Victoria: email@example.com or 919.274.3845. We are going to be enrolling for our summer programs 5.15.2012. Activity calendars can be found on the website.