Institute of Music Transcends Barriers, Deepens Commitment to Community

Inspired musicians are not only invited to play and find their voice through UW-Green Bay’s music program, but will do it with help from a community philanthropist.

“Life changing” is how Randy Meder, director of UW-Green Bay’s Sharon J. Resch Institute of Music, describes the 2022 gift creating the Institute.

“The gift is really helpful for our entire program. It’s hard to imagine the impact it will have,” he said.

The additional funding will allow UW-Green Bay to offer more need-based scholarships for people who wish to pursue dreams in music. Scholarship are essential to breaking barriers to college and in attracting music students, Meder said.

Chamber student
Jordan Jones ’21, UW-Green Bay alum, and Sophia Lehr (right), student in the Sharon J. Resch Institute of Music at UW-Green Bay perform in a chamber ensemble.

A small portion of the funds will be used  to replace old and worn instruments and technology, and support the music program’s new Audio Production emphasis, Meder said.

“The scholarships are the most important thing we have. If there is a great talent or a promising student who needs financial assistance, we can help them,” he said. “It will help us attract more students.”

When announcing the $5 million gift creating the Institute of Music, Resch said, “Over the next decade, UW-Green Bay will become a premier destination for arts education, performance and entrepreneurship, all while creating educational pathways for under-served and underrepresented members of our communities.”

Resch has been active in Northeast Wisconsin arts and music for many years, from choreographing theatre and music productions or as a founder and executive producer of the American International Czech and Slovak Voice Competition held at UW-Green Bay.

The creation of the Institute of Music raises the profile of the University’s music program, said Chuck Rybak, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. The dollars will enhance the program’s focus on music education and training teachers, he added.

“As our region’s population continues to grow, and as we’re experiencing a teacher shortage, our K-12 partners need a pipeline of teachers well-trained in the arts, including music of all types,” he said. “Our commitment to music education will ensure that Northeast Wisconsin’s schools and young people have access to music during the early stages of their educational journey.”

Sharon J. Resch
Scholarships, instruments, technology, curriculum and programming are provided through a $5 million gift from Sharon J. Resch, creating the Institute of Music in her name.

The University is also planning to build the Richard J. Resch Audio Recording Studio, a state-of-the-art recording within the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts on the Green Bay campus. The facilities will serve as a lab for audio production majors and a creative hub for community partners, Rybak said.

Meder said the gift establishing the Institute of Music creates multiple opportunities for the University’s music students and the community as a whole.

“Only our smaller ensembles have traveled to perform and now there’s the possibility we can take larger groups on tour, which is a great experience for not only the students but also raises the profile about our great music program,” he said.

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