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Marilyn Willoughby: The Music Continues

Because of the generosity of Marilyn Willoughby, Louisville Public Media’s Instrumental Partners program will donate 15 new handmade student instruments, valued at $21,650, to area students. Willoughby, who passed away in 2016, donated a Padawet cello, a Lemay cello, and three German bows to Instrumental Partners. The instruments were then traded for 15 new high quality student instruments from Seman Violins outside of Chicago.

These instruments were custom ordered and handmade to meet urgent, unfulfilled string requests in our community. Each instrument will have a permanent inscription dedicated to the memory of Marilyn Willoughby, and we expect these high-quality instruments will be used by children over decades of music making.

Schools that will receive donated instruments:

Scribner Elementary
1 ¾ cello

Hazelwood Middle
1 full size cello
1 ¾ cello

Highland Hills Middle
1 full size cellos
2 ¾ cellos

West End Talent Education Center (WESTEC)
4 ¾ violas
5 ¾ violins

“I am so grateful for the Louisville Public Media Instrumental Partners Program!  As a title 1 school, many of the students at Hazelwood middle school can’t afford to rent or buy their own instruments. These donated instruments help to ensure that all students have the opportunity to receive music education, and has helped our program to grow by almost 50% in the past two years,” Angela Thomas, Director of Orchestras at Hazelwood Middle School, New Albany/Floyd Co. schools.

Marilyn Willoughby played cello with the Louisville Orchestra in 1943, where she performed at Carnegie Hall and The Kentucky Center, among other venues. She retired from the orchestra in 1989.

“Marilyn’s gentle nature, cheerful persona and inquisitive mind kept her fully engaged throughout her life. She was a passionate supporter of the Arts and a loving advocate for young people. Certainly she would be delighted to know her generosity will touch new generations of aspiring musicians,” said her niece, Judith Hurst Loane.

Instrumental Partners is made possible with support fromPNC.

Louisville Public Media would like to thank Seman Violins in Chicago for their generous trade and their expertise in providing us with high quality student-sized instruments.

About Louisville Public Media’s Instrumental Partners Program

Since 2003, the Louisville Public Media Instrumental Partners Program has placed more than 800 instruments in the hands of students in our community, allowing hundreds of children to participate in school music opportunities. The program collects gently used band and orchestra instruments, has them refurbished and then donates the instrument back to students in need. Studies continue to show that music listening, performance and lessons improve our language, communication and problem-solving skills, benefits that Louisville Public Media hopes all students in our community can experience.

Photo credit: Marilyn Willoughby with her cello from the late 1950s-early 1960s, about the time she was performing with the Louisville Orchestra, courtesy of her niece, Judith Hurst Loane.