The Board of Directors of the Joseph and Vera Zilber Family Foundation has awarded a five-year, $25,000 grant to continue its support of Ronald Reagan International Baccalaureate (IB) High School’s music program. The award comes just before Reagan’s performance of the musical “Guys and Dolls” the last weekend of January.
A previous Zilber grant helped to establish international baccalaureate vocal and instrumental music programs at Reagan, 4965 S. 20th St. Since 2008, funds have been used to support scores of musical productions, competitions and extra-curricular activities. Since 2008, enrollment in the music program has grown from only a dozen students to approximately 500.
The Vera J. Zilber Music Department at Reagan delivers a rigorous college-level curriculum for young people interested in performing, composing and studying music. Reagan is the only school in Wisconsin to teach a full four-year International Baccalaureate music curriculum. IB music students develop solo performance, composition and musical analysis skills and may be eligible for college course credits. Extracurricular activities open to all students include drum line, DJ club, solo and ensemble clubs, piano club, pit orchestra club, jazz band, musical theater and Radio Reagan.
The latest Zilber grant will continue to support these programs, along with community partnerships with the Florentine Opera and Milwaukee Symphony and student performance opportunities locally and nationally.
Reagan music department leaders are also beginning to meet with leaders from North Division High School— located in the Lindsay Heights neighborhood—to share best practices and strategies for building a successful music program, especially for those young people who may not have had prior exposure or experience with music lessons.
“Our music program unites teens from diverse backgrounds around the universal language of music,” said Erica Breitbarth, music department chair, choir director and IB music teacher at Reagan. “We look forward to sharing our experience with others in the community and providing our students with both academic and hands-on musical opportunities to develop their artistic expression.”
Reagan will demonstrate students’ artistic abilities in its production of the musical “Guys and Dolls,” with performances Friday, Jan. 24 and Saturday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. All performances will take place at the Reagan IB Auditorium, 4965 S. 20th St. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors.