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NUHS Fine Arts chosen for spring NUAF grant

Students Annika Wyffels, Luther Beran, Luka Deree, Britton Beran, New Ulm Fine Arts Booster President Laura Schotzko, and New Ulm Area Foundation Director John Illikman stand with a $4,600 check, used to purchase two Yamaha digital pianos.

NEW ULM – The New Ulm Area Foundation (NUAF) presented $4,600 to the New Ulm High School Fine Arts Booster to purchase two new digital pianos.

Every spring and fall, NUAF picks a cause to donate to. This spring, there were 18 applications. NUAF Executive Director John Illikman said this cause fit perfectly with what they look to accomplish.

“The foundation’s overall mission is to help make the community successful,” he said. “That includes having opportunities for the youth to learn and excel. This fits in very well and helps us attract more families to the community. They see we have state of the technology, not only for sciences but also fine arts.”

NUHS Fine Arts Booster President Laura Schotzko said they needed four digital pianos, and the school was able to come up with the funds for two. The booster, which only re-organized last year after being dormant for five years, would need to come up with the funds for the other two.

“I wrote a grant and reached out to NUAF to see if they could help us because we’re brand new, not generating a lot of income yet,” she said. “We met their pillars of education and arts so they funded the portion we paid for the piano.”

Upcoming Senior Britton Beran tries the keys of a new Yamaha digital piano, purchased thanks to a donation from the New Ulm Area Foundation.

Given the state of the pianos they previously had, there was no choice but to upgrade.

“They weren’t even digital, they were like floppy disk era pianos,” Schotzko said “We had three of them, they were not repairable anymore. They don’t make the parts for them. The last one finally went kaput and failed.”

Schotzko said it got to where they had to rent a piano from somewhere else for performances near the end of the year. The new pianos should last around 25 years before being replaced. Upcoming Senior Britton Beran said it has several capabilities useful in different situations.

“They have a whole bunch of special sounds,” he said. “They can sound like different instruments, they can be plugged into a bigger sound system so we can play in the auditorium for musicals. It’s a nice instrument.”

It can also record arrangements right on the piano. These arrangements can then be played back without the original pianist present. Schotzko said this will be useful for when band and choir teacher Daniel Olson is out for a day, as the music students are learning can be recorded and played back from the piano itself.

After not having a fine arts booster for five years, Schotzko said the support from NUAF makes a big difference.

“It’s great to be able to support, promote, and let them know there’s someone in their corner who’s going to boost them up,” she said.

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