Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Role, Name in Casa Plan

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Role, Name in Casa Plan

Article excerpt

Using an old name to forge a new organization, the St. Louis Symphony Society and the St. Louis Conservatory and Schools for the Arts have created the St. Louis Symphony Community Music School.

They made the announcement at a luncheon party Monday on the stage of CASA's home in University City. That building, at Trinity Avenue and Delmar Boulevard, will continue to be the school's education and performance headquarters.

The school will be operated by the Symphony Society, as are the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, its Youth Symphony, the Symphony Chorus and Powell Symphony Hall. The CASA-Symphony merger is effective Aug. 31.

There are two reasons for the merger, said Symphony executive director Bruce Coppock.

"CASA, as an organization, needs to have, and can grow and benefit from, a larger infrastructure," he said. "And the Symphony urgently needs to become involved in education programs. Rather than compete, it makes eminent sense for us to merge."

The new name for the school is actually the revival of an old one.

In 1974, the Community Music School, which provided music lessons at low fees for city children, merged with the St. Louis Institute for Music, a suburban preparatory school with a college division. The result: CASA.

In recent years, CASA has experienced financial difficulties. In 1990, it discontinued its degree-granting program. In the merger announced Monday, the name CASA no longer will be used.

To make the merger happen, the Symphony and CASA raised almost $1.5 million. The Des Lee Foundation of St. Louis provided about half the money, with stipulations that it be used for music education for children in the city and that the Symphony work closely with the St. Louis Public Schools.

Money also was raised from the Whitaker Foundation for a minority scholarship fund.

Coppock said that an $800,000 debt of CASA's will be retired with money raised specifically for that purpose. …

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