Pictured, from left: Joshua Gibb, President & CEO of Galesburg Community Foundation, and John Larson, son of Jack Larson.
Pictured, from left: Joshua Gibb, President & CEO of Galesburg Community Foundation, and John Larson, son of Jack Larson.

Music legacy of Jack Larson, Sally Rynott, and Laurie Pearson lives on

More students in Galesburg District #205 will have access to music education because of the legacy of Jack Larson, Sally Rynott, and Laurie Pearson.

Jack was a music lover who used his radio show to promote music education. Sally was Director of Bands and Coordinator of Music Education for Galesburg School District #205 for 17 years. Laurie was a devoted music teacher and accompanist for the Knox College Choir, Carl Sandburg Children’s Choir, and other groups and individuals throughout the region.

The Larson Fine Arts Fund has given members of the community a way to honor these three individuals and their love of music. The designated fund was established at Galesburg Community Foundation through funds from the Jack Larson Endowment Fund and memorials designated to the fund when Sally and Laurie both passed in 2022.

A grant from the fund was recently awarded to the District #205 music program to purchase 77 new band instruments for the district. “Music and participation in band gives students an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Besides learning to perform and appreciate music, band gives students an opportunity to learn useful life skills such as hard work, creativity, teamwork, problem solving, and so much more,” said Andy Empey, Director of Bands and District #205 Fine Arts Coordinator. “With this donation, any and all students will now have the opportunity to participate in band with a quality instrument.”

Designated funds provide the benefitting organization with an ongoing source of support. “A memorial gift to a designated fund is a great way to support an organization in a friend or loved one’s name forever,” said Sarah Grant, Galesburg Community Foundation Director of Development.

The endowed fund has enabled John Larson, Jack’s son, to continue his father’s mission. “It’s very overwhelming and humbling to know that one man’s effort to improve his community still lives on 12 years after his passing,” said John.

In addition to his support of the fund, John worked with the CEO of Blessing, a band instrument manufacturer, and Kidder Music, who sold the new instruments at a discounted price, allowing the district to purchase more instruments than initially anticipated.

“When people come together to honor individuals and the causes they care about, they really can make a difference to their community,” said Grant.

You can support District #205 band students by making a gift to the Larson Fine Arts Fund. Learn more about designated funds at Galesburg Community Foundation by contacting contact Sarah Grant at info@yourgcf.org or 309.344.8898.

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Haley Sloss

Charitable Giving Coordinator

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Haley provides support to enhance the function and success of the Charitable Giving and Affiliate Teams. She ensures donors receive a personal approach to philanthropy through outstanding customer service by supporting charitable giving for donors and fund holders across the state.