Gilmore Keyboard Festival Awarded $470,000 Grant for Battle Creek Programs

April 5, 2017

Micah McLaurin playing piano at battle creek programs

The Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival will expand music education and enrichment opportunities for children and families in Battle Creek by establishing a new Piano Lab in an elementary school within the Battle Creek Public School system and increasing its biennial Festival programming. This project is funded by a three-year, $470,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

2016 Gilmore Young Artist Micah McLaurin performing with the Battle Creek Symphony, Anne Harrigan conductor, at W. K. Kellogg Auditorium. Photo by John Lacko

Gilmore Keyboard Festival Expands Programming in Battle Creek

Beginning in fall 2017, Gilmore Piano Lab students at Ann J. Kellogg Elementary will receive two 30-minute lessons weekly in a small-group setting, and will learn to read music, play the piano, improvise, and compose.

“Gilmore Piano Labs are not a one-time event. They are integrated into regular school hours, and operate Monday through Friday throughout the academic year. This ensures a positive impact on the developmental growth of a diverse population of children,” said Gilmore Director of Education Adam Schumaker. “Our goal is to make music education opportunities more equitable for children and families of all economic means.”

The Gilmore Piano Lab program was established in Kalamazoo in 1998, and has grown to include sites at two Kalamazoo elementary schools, a YMCA branch, the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home, and KRESA’s Young Adult Program for young people with disabilities. Demonstrated benefits of music education for young children include increased capacity for executive functioning and problem solving, increased capacity for verbal sequencing, faster neural responses to speech, and positive behavior through group participation, independent practice, goal-setting, achievement, and recognition.

As part of the biennial Gilmore Keyboard Festival (planned for April 25 — May 12, 2018), free Gilmore Family Concerts will be presented for Battle Creek students and families. Other Festival performances in Battle Creek will include a Gilmore Young Artist appearance with the Battle Creek Symphony, a Gilmore Young Artist solo recital at First Congregational Church, and five “Noon Series” Jazz concerts at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation headquarters.

The Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival will work with community service agencies in Battle Creek to provide education workshops for their clients and access to Festival concerts. A local Family Engagement Coordinator will be hired to assist in involving the Battle Creek community.

“The expansion of our programming in Battle Creek, which aligns with The Gilmore’s strategic priorities, is made possible by significant support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation,” said Gilmore Director Daniel Gustin. “We are grateful for the Foundation’s encouragement and look forward to collaborating with other organizations to enrich the lives of all children and families in Battle Creek.”


About the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival

The mission of the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival is to promote and develop world-class keyboard musical experiences that inspire present and future artists and audiences. Founded in 1989 to honor the legacy of its namesake, The Gilmore identifies exceptional keyboard artists through a noncompetitive process and provides significant support to enhance their careers; presents world-class music festivals featuring the finest international keyboard artists; provides an outstanding keyboard educational program; and supports the creation of keyboard music.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit

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