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MPR offers more than on-air music and news

Somehow many things that are important in our daily lives come to go unnoticed. They give us pleasure and may even be extremely important to us - consider, for example, that first morning cup of coffee - but we may not stop to appreciate them. Minnesota Public Radio is, for me, one of those important things, and I would like to express my appreciation.

First of all, I appreciate the information from MPR's coverage of the news. Many of my sentences begin, "I heard on Public Radio..." And I appreciate, also, the pleasure that MPR's classical music provides.

However MPR reaches out to Greater Minnesota not only through its radio stations and web site but also through its use of its Legacy Funding. Classical MPR's Artists-in-Residence project is focused on providing musical outreach activities, including concerts and masters' classes, across the state. Last year, the debut Artists-in-Residence year, brought the now-Grammy-Award-winning Parker Quartet to Bemidji State University for a concert. This year's Artists-in-Residence group is Cantus, a male choral ensemble, which is traveling the state and giving masters classes and concerts in Ely, St. Peter, Grand Rapids and Crookston. Grand Rapids is definitely in our neighborhood, and Cantus is worth a drive!

Another example of MPR's wonderful work is Play It Forward, a team effort, initiated last year by Classical MPR and the Minnesota Music Educators Association, to create a statewide musical instrument drive in order to strengthen K-12 music education. Play It Forward includes schools throughout the state, including those in the Bemidji area; the project puts "gently used" instruments in the hands of students in need and provides an opportunity for the recipients to try out new skills and to experience music in a personal way.

Last year 550 instruments were donated to 300 Minnesota schools through Play It Forward. The second annual instrument drive will continue through May, 2011.

This, then, is an appreciation of MPR and a thank you for the joy brought by your radio stations and by the impact your Legacy Amendment funded projects are having for the benefit of all Minnesotans.

Bea Knodel