News and Tribune


March 3, 2014

A legacy of music in Floyd County

FCYS concert to honor founder of youth symphony; alumni invited to play

NEW ALBANY — Lisa Nisevich never had Rubin Sher as a teacher, but she sees daily what Sher meant to those who grew up and played in the Floyd County Youth Symphony.

“I have three children influenced every day by people who were influenced by Rubin,” Nisevich said.

To posthumously honor their former maestro, the Floyd County Youth Symphony will host a concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 9, at Scribner Middle School. Tickets are $5 each.

As part of the show, FCYS alumni are invited and encouraged to sit in and play with the philharmonic orchestra during the show.

Sher started the string program in the New Albany-Floyd County School Corp. with 12 students in 1963, and four of those quit after the first day. But thanks to his hard work and determination, coupled with his love for teaching and working with children, orchestra numbers grew to more than 750 in a few years with every school in the district having its own orchestra. He started the FCYS in 1963.

Sher, a 2012 inductee into the New Albany High School Hall of Fame, died in October 2013 at the age of 96. However, the youth symphony he built, which is now directed by Doug Elmore, continues to thrive.

“His whole focus of life was working with kids and working with the orchestra,” said Nancy Sher, Rubin’s widow. “We thought this would be a good way to honor him.”

A scholarship in Sher’s honor will be given to a senior string player each year. This year a New Albany High School student will be presented with a $500 scholarship, and next year a Floyd Central student will be honored.

“Students will still be able to benefit from Rubin through this scholarship,” Nancy Sher said. “It’s an opportunity to promote one more student.”

Donations to the Rubin Sher Scholarship can be made at any PNC Bank location.

The orchestra programs at Floyd Central, New Albany and Highland Hills are going strong, as is the Floyd County Youth Symphony, which has more than 175 players.

Elmore said today’s orchestra success can all be attributed to the foundation Sher constructed.

“He built a community here,” Elmore said. “He built a string program from the ground up.”

Janna Schaefer was one of Sher’s former students and remembers traveling to Romania with the Floyd County Youth Orchestra in 1978. She recalls Sher going to a village in Romania and finding someone to repair a broken sound post on her violin.

“Rubin loved his kids,” Nancy Sher said. “It was a big family.”

“He loved you and you knew it,” said former student Lori Getty.

Elmore said having a youth symphony as talented as the one in Floyd County is extremely rare.

“It is unique especially for a community the size of Floyd County,” he said.

 Jeff McCaffrey, a youth orchestra alumnus, said Sher’s presence is still felt today. He said he has three children who currently play the violin.

“Look at his students and the impact he had on them,” he said. “He has touched several generations.”

• Former FCYS members who want to participate in the concert March 9 are asked to meet in the Scribner Middle School orchestra room at 2 p.m., one hour prior to the show, with their instrument.

A reception for alumni and current members and their families will be held following the concert at Scribner.

Also, any alumni who have photos of their tenure in the FCYS are asked to make color copies and include their name, years they were members and identify who is in the photo. Pictures may be dropped off through March 3 between 4:30 and 8:30 p.m. during FCYS rehearsals at Floyd Central High School.


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