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Eau Claire Awarded Music Grant by Fans of Rock Band Phish



The Eau Claire High School Orchestra has been awarded an $8,771 grant from the Mockingbird Foundation, a nonprofit started by fans of the rock band Phish. Money from this highly competitive, prestigious grant will be used to purchase electric stringed instruments including violins, a viola, cello and double bass.


Eau Claire was one of only 16 schools nationally and the only South Carolina school to receive the grant. Nearly 1,000 schools, centers and nonprofit organizations from across the country applied for the grants.


“This is very exciting for my students because most of them have never played on electric stringed instruments, only acoustic,” said Tyler Henderson, orchestra teacher at Eau Claire High and Heyward Gibbes Middle school. “I am grateful for this incredible award from the Mockingbird Foundation. I appreciate that there is a technological component to this, teaching the students how to connect the electric instruments to audio hardware properly and whatnot, but we are even more excited to perform for the community, even if it’s virtually for now.”


 Henderson says he is grateful for this “incredible award” from the Mockingbird Foundation, but he believes the music created with the instruments purchased with their grant will be Eau Claire’s gift to the community.


“There is little doubt that the past year has been one of the most difficult on record due to the pandemic, but we realize the amazing ability that music has to bring people together and help them through tough times. We want to engage with the community, not just on stringed instruments, but electric stringed instruments, performing a wide selection of music in diverse genres and styles. Our hope is to build musical connections between the school and its stakeholders in the community by offering musical goodwill as a point of pride to all in the community.”


To view the Eau Claire Orchestra’s recent virtual Winter Concert, click here . The Mockingbird Foundation’s goal is to support music education for children. Learn more about the foundation at


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