Scheidt Family Commits $500,000 to Establish Strike a Chord: Scheidt School of Music Drive for Excellence Fund at the University of Memphis

Jan. 18, 2022 — The Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music recently launched Strike a Chord: Scheidt School of Music Drive for Excellence Fund at the University of Memphis. Together, Susan Arney, Rudi Scheidt Jr., Elkan Scheidt and Helen Gronauer, all children of the late Honey and Rudi E. Scheidt, committed, $500,000 to create a matching fund to secure donations to support students who will be learning and performing in the new Scheidt Family Music Center.

“We are tremendously excited to continue to build on the legacy of philanthropy for the arts across the Mid-South established by our parents over the years,” said a grandchild of Honey and Rudi Scheidt. “This gift will provide critical infrastructure to ensure that the Scheidt Family Music Center has all of the necessary equipment and resources needed to continue to educate the next generation of musicians. There truly isn’t a better time to show your support than right now. As the Scheidt Family Music Center opens in 2022, we challenge both the Memphis community and the Mid-South to join us in making an indelible impact on students’ lives.”

The new Scheidt Family Music Center will be equipped with world-class facilities that can support its role as the largest and most comprehensive school of music in the region. The 82,000-square-foot Music Center boasts state-of-the-art facilities, including a 900+ seat concert hall, expanded stage space, exceptional acoustics, dedicated rehearsal spaces and classrooms and modern music laboratories.

The overall goal is to raise $1 million to ensure students move into the new Scheidt Family Music Center with all the resources they need to succeed. A portion of the funding will be used to equip the Scheidt School of Music with the most up-to-date technological and recording equipment that supports advances such as real-time synchrony with musicians from around the world. Gifts will also be used to purchase instruments and create a borrowing program that will give students who cannot afford instruments the ability to borrow one for a limited time.

"I am so excited about what the Scheidt Family Music Center will offer for our school and the community,” said Donovan Hughes, UofM student in Music Education – Choral. “We will have access to study and perform in a space that will set us up for a lifetime of successful music-making. The community will benefit from this iconic facility, and the musicians it will produce. This is an exciting opportunity to attract musicians to come to the University of Memphis while further developing the musical and cultural landscape of Memphis."

Dr. Kevin Sanders, director of the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music said, “Access to professional equipment is a critical component of our students’ education and their ability to remain competitive in the job market. The School of Music’s focus on providing students with hands-on experiences that prepare them for sustainable careers is one of the characteristics that distinguishes us from many other music schools.”

The first gift that qualifies for a match was made by an anonymous donor to name the Efrim and Caroline S. Fruchtman Music Library in the School of Music. The late Fruchtmans were nationally renowned musicians with a deep-rooted history at the UofM. Efrim was a professor in the School of Music and Chair of the Music Department for 21 years and his wife, Caroline, was also a professor for 22 years, serving as Interim Chair for the Music Department for two years.

The Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music has a proud 75-year history of producing successful and accomplished music professionals. The school’s immersive and forward-thinking curriculum along with broad community partnerships create unrivaled local and global opportunities for students and faculty. Instructing more than 400 students in 26 degree areas, the School’s 70 full- and part-time faculty are focused on student success in and outside the classroom. The Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music and is housed in the College of Communication and Fine Arts.

For more information visit momentum.memphis.edu/music or contact Laura Hall, laura.m.hall@memphis.edu.