Class of 1959 donates clarinet in honor of Dr. Robert J. Kaiser

a group of people is standing in front of a step and repeat banner
From left to right: Bill Berry, Robert M. Sides Family Music Center; Dr. Matthew Evans, Superintendent of Schools; Brenda Farquhar, class of 1959; Mike Mingo, Performing Arts Department Lead; Michelle Knowlton, Principal of RJK Middle School

Thanks to a generous donation from the class of 1959, at least one more sixth-grade student will have the opportunity to develop his or her talent in Monticello Central School District’s award-winning music program.  

When Brenda. Farquhar sought to make a donation on behalf of her graduating class of 1959, and in honor of Dr. Robert J. Kaiser, it seemed a natural fit to reach out to the school bearing his name – the Robert J. Kaiser Middle School, which opened its doors 20 years ago.  

“Dr. Kaiser was our homeroom teacher before he moved on to become principal and then superintendent of schools,” she explained. “We are very proud that the school was named after him.”  

Ms. Farquhar contacted RJK Principal Michelle Knowlton and asked how the school could best use a $600 donation, who suggested the donation be used to purchase an instrument for a student unable to afford one. Performing Arts Department Instructional Lead Mike Mingo contacted the district’s representative from the Robert M. Sides Family Music Center, Bill Berry. The organization, which has been a partner of the district for more than 17 years, was able to put together a full clarinet starter kit for a student, including the instrument and all the little accessories needed to play. On Friday, Feb. 11, Mr. Berry met with Ms. Farquhar, Ms. Knowlton, Mr. Mingo and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matthew Evans to present the clarinet.  

The instrument will be inventoried and loaned each year to a sixth-grade student in need.  

“For 11 consecutive years, the MCSD has received the distinction of being named a “Best Community for Music Education” by National Association for Music Merchants,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matthew Evans said. “This award is unique in that it is awarded on the basis of the local community’s effort to support the arts. I think today’s donation from the class of 1959, and the assistance of Robert M. Sides Family Music Center over the years is illustrative of how fortunate we are to be surrounded by a community that cares.”