Changing lives with music



The mission of RPA Kids is to engage pre-6th grade students in a level of music education they would otherwise not have access to and connect them to resources to become life-long music listeners, learners, and lovers.


1. Music is a vital part of cultural life in Washoe County.
2. Every child has equal access to high quality music education.

Since 2006, the Reno Phil’s RPA Kids program (formerly Celebrate Strings) has provided free after-school violin instruction at area Title 1 At Risk elementary schools.

Two classes are presented four days per week at no charge to the student or family. Over 200 students participate in RPA Kids every year. Each quarter concludes with a recital for parents, teachers and fellow students. This program provides an earlier introduction to strings than would likely be possible for children in this community.

RPA Kids is currently provided at Bernice Mathews, Lincoln Park, and Stead Elementary.

In the fall of 2015 a new model of RPA Kids was piloted at Stead and Lincoln Park. In the new format, students attended 30 minutes of instrument instruction and 30 minutes of music note reading instruction. Stead Elementary RPAK site offers cello instruction as well as violin.

In 2008, the Reno Phil became Partners in Education with Bernice Mathews Elementary School. In 2009, the Reno Phil was awarded Contributor of the Year through the Washoe County School District’s “Team-Up” program for its RPA Kids program.

There are currently five former RPA Kids students who are now participants in the Reno Philharmonic Youth Orchestras.

What is Title I ?

According to Washoe County School District, Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 is a set of programs administered by the United States Department of Education to distribute funding to schools and school districts with a high percentage of students from low-income families.


RPA Kids is made possible through the support of the following foundations, corporations, and individuals:

The Nell J. Redfield Foundation
Stillwater Foundation
Wilbur May Foundation
The Marie Crowley Foundation
Rosemann Family Foundation
Robert S. & Dorothy J. Keyser Foundation
Nevada Arts Council
John Ben Snow Memorial Trust
Hot August Nights Foundation
Bank of America Charitable Foundation
Hazel Bowen / The Bowen Pearson Powerfund
The Sato Foundation
Bill Swigert at the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington
D’Addario Foundaiton
Mary Jo Blue in Honor of Helen Lambros
Sandy Bitler in Honor of the Winne-Gess Familyi / In Memory of Dianne Winne