Yesterday, a deadline loomed. La Rondalla, a free after-school music program for students in Oak Cliff and Dallas, was running out of funding options, and a Kickstarter campaign spearheaded by founder Dennis Gonzalez was still shy of its goal of $15,000.
But with time winding down, the meter tipped north of the goal. This means this free music program will continue to offer free lessons to students for this spring semester.
Gonzalez expressed his gratification:
"We at La Rondalla are elated to have reached and surpassed our goal towards funding the spring music classes for our music students. But let me clarify that we could use more pledges, more donations, because we set our goal at Kickstarter to be reachable. As you know, if we had not reached our goal, we would not have received any of it. But anything over our goal will go to extending our classes for a longer period of time, hopefully into the summer and beyond. We are working with people who have done fundraising to try and keep a healthy coffer of funds in order to keep providing opportunities for our kids to keep learning. So come out to the fundraisers, and please, keep giving."
The campaign will continue its fundraising in order to ensure students will have further opportunities for pursuing their music studies for the years to come. A series of benefit shows will be held to help raise more donations, beginning with a show tomorrow at 7:30 at the Allgood Cafe. The Gonzalez family trio, Yells at Eels, along with the premiere Grateful Dead tribute band, Forgotten Space, will be performing.
Big Thought, the company that has supported and helped fund La Rondalla for over three and a half years was only going to offer $5,000 in funds. In order to continue the program, La Rondalla and the Kickstarter campaign set out to raise $15,000 by January 20.
"The money that they have poured into the program has been a great help in our personal lives, keeping us from working the incredibly long hours that musicians and artists have to work outside of their craft in order to survive, and it has taught us how to work with our Oak Cliff youth, how to teach, how to play better ourselves," says Gonzalez.
"The friendships we've developed with our kids, our funders, and our community cannot be duplicated. We've been incredibly blessed, some would say lucky." Big Thought, the Oak Cliff Cultural Center and La Rondalla, prior to reaching their fundraising goal, had agreed on a start date for the second semester on Tuesday, January 14.
"If you have a child who can make the trek to Oak Cliff by our 4:30 or 5:30 class times Tuesday through Friday during the school year, and you want them to learn guitar, bass, or drums, bring them by the Oak Cliff Cultural Center next Tuesday the 14th," says Gonzalez. "We'd love to audition them and see if they are ready to learn in our program for free!"