Cohn Scholarship Help Students Bridge Summer Study 2019

Rella and Barney Cohn Music Scholarship Fund, an IPEI Fund, Awards Grant The Fine Arts Booster Group, an affiliate of the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI), announces summer music scholarships awarded through the Rella and Barney Cohn Music Scholarship Fund. Established by Abby Cohn in memory of her parents, and in honor of the excellent music education available in the Ithaca City School District (ICSD), the fund will provide more than five music scholarships for summer study through the Ithaca Youth Bureau (IYB) Summer Band and Orchestra Program. The Rella and Barney Cohn Music Scholarship Fund is administered by IPEI with assistance from the Fine Arts Booster Group (FABG) and the Ithaca Youth Bureau.

Michael W. Allen, Boynton Middle School Band Director and Director of the IYB Summer Music Program, notes “The scholarships are a gift from their daughter to the youth in our community. I am very thankful for these scholarships that allow students who might not otherwise be able to participate in the Summer Bands and Orchestra at Cornell University’s Lincoln Hall. It’s a great opportunity to be part of this special program.”

The Summer Band and Orchestra Program runs June 27 through August 1 with flexible enrollment to allow for summer camps and family vacations. Rehearsals are held every Tuesday and Thursday evening at Cornell University’s Lincoln Hall. Allen directs the band program and Mark Lewis directs the orchestra program. Four ensemble sections are available from beginning to advanced, with sessions starting at 6:30 p.m.

Registration forms and scholarship information are available at the IYB or online at Questions may be directed to the IYB staff at (607) 273-8364 or by contacting Allen at (607) 274-2295. Allen notes the partnership is unique. “Special thanks go to Yolanda Richardson at the Ithaca Youth Bureau and Fumi Nagasaki-Pracel and Christopher Riley at Lincoln Hall for their leadership in helping organize this enriching summer program.” It is designed to encourage students to continue individual and ensemble skill development on their instruments during the summer months. The program will consist of four (4) ensembles: beginning band, beginning orchestra, advanced band, advanced orchestra.

“Continuing music education is important to students’ overall academic, artistic and social development. Summer time music activities help middle school students, in particular, solidify their skills and continue music study into their high school years,” noted Cohn. “My daughters benefited greatly from the rich musical offerings at Boynton Middle School as well as through participation in the IYB Summer Band and Orchestra Programs. The breadth, variety and excellence of these opportunities have had a real impact on them. I particularly want to recognize Michael Allen for his leadership and enthusiasm. This fund also honors my parents and their commitment to music education in all its forms.”

An affiliate of the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI), the FABG works in partnership with the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) to support and celebrate all the arts for all the kids. The Fine Arts Boosters strive for increased student access and participation in arts programs. The boosters believe the arts – music, dance and visual, literary and theater arts – are a central part of every child’s public school education. Visit

IPEI is a not-for-profit organization that believes the education of every ICSD student is enhanced through community connections and support facilitated by IPEI for students and teachers through engagement, collaboration, gifts, and grants. Visit

For more information about the booster group and how you can help, contact Co-Presidents Alice Wu and Julie Hughes at or (607) 256-4734. If you want to stay informed about what is happening with the fine and performing arts in the ICSD, consider joining the FABG Facebook page (FABGIthaca) or listserv which includes information about arts issues, performances and general news. Join the listserv by emailing In addition, follow twitter @fabgithaca. Ongoing FABG initiatives include mini-grants to teachers, student scholarships, printing the performance booklets for ICSD secondary schools’ concerts and drama productions; strengthening community connections; fundraising; Play It Again, Ithaca (collection of used musical instruments for use in the schools); Saltonstall Arts Colony retreat for teachers; and various efforts in support of arts in the schools.
FABG is open to all K-12 staff, parents, students and community members and is concerned with all arts areas. Join the group and volunteer to work on goals – communication, grant giving, development, community connections, and instrument recycling.