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FORT MYERS, Fla. (Dec. 5, 2023) – The Southwest Florida Symphony, Lee County’s only professional orchestra and fourth oldest in the state, is excited to announce it has received a $21,076 grant from the Claiborne and Ned Foulds Foundation to be applied toward the purchase of a unique mobile educational tool. The symphony will purchase a box truck, being billed as the “Music Box,” to transport musical instruments from its Musical Sound Lab for the public to play and experiment with. The Music Box will also make the symphony’s educational visits to schools much easier, literally transporting instruments, student materials, audio video equipment that was also funded by the Foulds Foundation through its grant to the orchestra last year, all delivered and presented by the symphony’s celebrated Community Outreach Ambassador, Robert Van Winkle. In addition to using the Music Box truck to expand education initiatives, it will also be used to alleviate rental costs to transport music stands, chairs and instruments to and from the orchestra’s rehearsal space for their performances at Barbara B. Mann Hall and other venues throughout Southwest Florida.

“We are sincerely grateful for the continued support from the Foulds Foundation,” said Amy Ginsburg, CEO of the Southwest Florida Symphony. “How wonderful that we’re able to connect gifts from the Foulds Foundation from previous years to this year’s gift in order to create something profoundly meaningful for the residents of Lee County. We can take our Music Box, along with audio and video equipment in order to enhance the experience, to schools, community festivals and arts facility campuses throughout our community, enlightening everyone we reach about the relevance and joy of orchestral music in all of our lives.”

The Claiborne and Ned Foulds Foundation was established in 1981 by the late Ned and Claiborne Foster Foulds, who moved to Fort Myers in 1958. Ned Foulds was a graduate of Harvard University and retired as a junior executive of the Airtemp Division of the Chrysler Corporation. Claiborne Foulds was a Broadway star during the 1930s known by her maiden name of Claiborne Foster and starred in more than 20 plays. In recognition of their achievements, Mr. and Mrs. Foulds left their estate in trust to be administered in perpetuity to benefit charitable causes.

The Southwest Florida Symphony made its debut as a community orchestra on April 15, 1961, playing in schools and community centers, with a roster of only 24 volunteer musicians. Today, the symphony boasts a roster of 70 world-class professional musicians and is Lee County’s only fully professional orchestra and fourth oldest in the state. The Southwest Florida Symphony’s 63rd year continues the orchestra’s tradition of artistic excellence and innovation as Music Director Maestro Radu Paponiu leads another season of spectacular performances. Maestro Paponiu, the sixth music director in the organization’s history, also serves as the associate conductor and youth orchestra director for the Naples Philharmonic in addition to guest-conducting with orchestras throughout the United States and Europe.

For more information about the Southwest Florida Symphony, upcoming season performances and subscription and ticketing information, visit or call 239-418-1500.

Southwest Florida Symphony Community Outreach Ambassador, Robert Van Winkle, provides educational opportunities throughout the community.

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