Archive for January, 2010

Links in the News

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Young Guns Battle for the U.S. Chess Championship Title, Slay and Associates

Sinquefield’s Give $1 Million to Mizzou, St. Louis Business Journal

Sinquefields Give MU $1 Million, Columbia Tribune

Genius Among Us Documentary Follows High School Composers, Columbia Missourian

Neurofeedback Retrain Brain Waves, Slay and Associates

About Mizzou’s COMP, University of Missouri

Columbia Civic Orchestra to Premier A Work Commissioned by Orchestra and the Sinquefield Family Foundation, Slay and Associates

Sinquefield Prize for Creating Original Music Draws 52 Entries (2008), Slay and Associates

Scouting Posting Mile Markers Along the Gasconade River, News Tribune

Creating Original Music Blog

January 2010
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Can Missouri produce another Mozart? A Unterrified Democrat Article

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By Ralph Voss
Unterrified Democrat

Can Missouri produce another Mozart?  Can Missouri produce a series of great composers?  Can Columbia, Mo., become another Austria, which produced such great composers at Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven?

Those are questions that frequently pass through the mind of Jeanne Sinquefield and invariably the answer she comes up with is, “Yes, it can happen,” and then she tries to make it happen.

Sinquefield is a lady with an abiding interest in music that goes back to her childhood.  She currently plays in three symphonies – Columbia Civic, 9th Street Symphony and the Jeff City Orchestra.  And since 2005 when she and her husband Rex retired to their farm in western Osage County along the Osage River after an extraordinarily successful career in the mutual fund industry, Sinquefield has been devoting more and more time to helping young composers.

In 2005 Sinquefield launched the first of her efforts to support young would-be Mozarts when she came up with COMP – the Creating Original Music Program.  This is a music composition competition for children in kindergarten through high school that offers cash to the winning composer and additional cash to the winner’s music program, which is normally a school.
COMP has been very successful.  In 2006 the second-place Sinquefield Prize winner of the competition here in Missouri went on to take first place in national competition sponsored by the Music Teachers National Association.  The following year the first-place winner in COMP later captured second in the nation.

In 2007 Sinquefield was instrumental in the launch of a high school summer camp for young composers.  That first year there were six students, 10 the second year and 12 this year. Sinquefield’s son Randy, a film-maker who recently moved to Columbia from the state of California, shadowed the students attending the 2008 summer camp and filmed the award-winning documentary “Genius Among Us: Young Composers in Missouri.”

Sinquefield feels both COMP and camp (which is now referred to as “Summer COMP”) have exceeded her expectations and she is greatly impressed with the quality of the students.  “They all say ‘I can hear it in my head,’” she says in amazement at the talent these young people demonstrate.

In addition to encouraging the younger students, at the college level Sinquefield sponsored the $3,000 Sinquefield Prize where the winner is commissioned to write a new symphony for any of Mizzou’s large ensembles – the Philharmonic Orchestra, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the University Singers.  Past Sinquefield winners have written for all three ensembles over the years.

Spending a lot of time at the university brings Sinquefield into contact with many college students.  Noting what Sinquefield had done for K-12 students, in 2008 some students from Mizzou said, “What about us?”  Her answer was to give UMC $1 million to be used in part to set up eight full scholarships for undergraduate students, a graduate level new music ensemble, support for faculty and plans for expanding concerts and a college-level summer camp.   That program starts next summer, with an extension course in composition being offered this fall.

“There are very few full rides given anywhere,” Sinquefield said of the college scholarship program.  “This will attract the best and even those who do not receive scholarships will want to go to Columbia to study with the best.”

From 2005 when Sinquefield initially made her interests known and offered financial support, the university has been cooperative and responsive, Sinquefield says.  The music department tapped two of their faculty members to help implement Sinquefield’s ideas.  Dr. Stefan Freund and Dr. Tom McKenney were chosen to run COMP, and later to conduct the summer camp.  Freund and McKenney, both of whom are award-winning composers, have taught the high school summer camp and will teach next year’s summer camp for college students.

To make the summer camp more meaningful for the young composers, at the end of the camp their compositions are played at a concert.  This year the 12 high school composers had their works performed on July 18 at MU’s Whitmore Recital Hall.
To showcase the talent of the composers and also to help with next summer’s high school and college summer camps, Sinquefield has enlisted the help of 20 of the country’s most talented musicians, most of whom are graduates of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., and who perform and record together under the name Alarm Will Sound.  Freund is one of the founders of the group.

Six members of the group performed the high school composers’ works at the July 18 performance.  The others in the group assembled at Sinquefield’s house at Folk July 17 through 19 for a performance at her home and also to prepare for a concert in New York on July 22.

Next summer Alarm Will Sound will be in Columbia for 10 days.  The first few days will be spent performing the high school composers’ works, while the remainder of the time will be spent working with those attending the college summer camp.  Sinquefield is delighted Alarm will be in Columbia to help with the summer camps.  “The college kids can get a lot of good advice from Alarm,” she said.

What is Sinquefield’s ultimate goal?  “Wherever in the world there is a great young composer, I want that person to want to come to Columbia, Mo., because he or she feels that is the Mecca for composers,” Sinquefield said.  “I want Columbia and the University of Missouri at Columbia to be where young would-be-composers from all over the world come to write their great music.

“We have great teachers in Dr. Freund and Dr. McKenney and with the Alarm group we have great musicians to help those great teachers.  This is a personal dream that I hope to see become a reality.”

The above story appeared in the Sept. 2, 2009, issue of the Unterrified Democrat, a weekly newspaper published since 1866 at Linn, Mo.

January 2010
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Sinquefield Charitable Foundation Gives $100,000 to TFA

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December 17th, 2009

Scott Baier (left), executive director of Teach For American-St. Louis, accepts a ceremonial check from Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield, and their daughter, Katie (right). The Sinquefield Charitable Foundation has donated $100,000 to Teach For America, a non-profit group that recruits top college graduates to teach for two years in low-income communities.Run by Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield, of Westphalia, Mo., the foundation has long been involved in funding innovative efforts to improve education opportunities for children in Missouri and beyond. The Sinquefields are strong supporters of Teach For America, which accepts teacher applicants from all academic disciplines – not just education.

“Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield are incredible advocates for state-wide education reform and we are thrilled that they are supporting Teach For America as an integral part of that effort,” said Scott Baier, executive director of Teach For America-St. Louis. “We operate with a shared sense of urgency to improve students’ academic outcomes by going above and beyond traditional means to ensure dramatic progress through recruiting and supporting outstanding teachers. We are incredibly thankful for their support.”

Formed in 1990, Teach For America has more than 7,300 individuals teaching about 450,000 students in 35 urban and rural regions across the country. Teach for America has about 200 teachers in the St. Louis area, and about 125 in Kansas City.

The program has been highly successful in part because Teach For America places high-quality graduates into schools. A recent study conducted by the Urban Institute showed that Teach For America teachers are more effective on average, as measured by student exam performance, than non-Teach For America teachers. The study, which used seven years of data, found that a Teach For America teacher had two to three times the impact of a teacher with three or more years of experience.

“Teach For America’s overwhelming success in very difficult education environments is something that needs to be repeated throughout this country,” said Jeanne Sinquefield. “We’re hopeful that with our gift many more children will get the opportunity to be inspired and instructed by the terrific corps of Teach For America teachers.”

The Sinquefield Charitable Foundation has amassed a long list of organizations and schools that support children, including: neurofeedback and autism research at University of Missouri-Columbia; Creating Original Music Competition or C.O.M.P.; New Music Initiative, coordinated through University of Missouri-Columbia; St. Vincent Home for Children in St. Louis; Bishop DuBourg High School in St. Louis; Father Augustine Tolton Regional Catholic High School in Columbia; Special Learning Center in Jefferson City; the MBA programs at Saint Louis University; Boy Scouts of America; Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri; and Giant Steps, which helps children with autism.

January 2010
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