Flutes and Flauna

Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra

Susan McMurry Samuelson Donor Advised Fund

Jack peeks around the giant red flower of the Bird of Paradise. The three-year-old has told his mom he’s on a safari. He’s eager to see what “musical animal” he’ll find next in the gardens. So far Jack’s seen an oboe and violin. His eyes light up as he spots a cello.

“Whoa!” he exclaims rushing toward it. “It’s bigger than me!”

Jack and other children in the Cheyenne area are enjoying Story Time Petting Zoo, an event and partnership between the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra and the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens.

Because of your generosity, the Wyoming Community Foundation has been able to grant to the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra to support this and other educational outreach programs.

An Engaging Experience

As you can imagine, the instrument petting zoo is pretty special. Kids and their families wander the grounds checking out plant life – much of which they might not have seen before. Many of the children interact with the instruments (the animals) for the first time too.

Jack and his family not only take time to explore, they also sit down for a story. The staff choose a book that has a musical element to it. By the end of the day, nearly all of Jack’s senses have been engaged.

Director of the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra, Lindsey Reynolds, says this kind of experience is important for children. She notes how important music is to youngsters.

“There are all kinds of studies showing how music involvement leads to higher grades and to children becoming more engaged adults,” says Lindsey. “We also hope we’re building a future generation of concert goers and music lovers.”

As you watch Jack and the other kids, it’s clear the event is building curiosity about the plants and instruments around them. While this may be important to you and me, what’s most important to Jack is he’s having fun.

That, perhaps, should be most important to all of us.

19 Years of the Susan McMurry Samuelson Donor Advised Fund

Year Established: 2000
Number of grants made since 2000: 40
One of 1st grants made: Junior Achievement of the Rocky Mountain’s “Ourselves” program that taught kindergarten kids the basics of finances using adult mentors.