Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Hi everyone, Spiffy here, your one and only interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth. I’m thrilled to be talking to Dudley Raine IV, a changemaker working to make the world a better place through his work as co-director and founder of the Seven Hills Chamber Music Festival. Are you ready to be enlightened?
Spiffy: Welcome to the blog, Dudley! What challenge are you addressing through the Seven Hills Chamber Music Festival?
Dudley: Great to be here, Spiffy! Seven Hills Chamber Music is an organization that brings chamber music to audiences of all backgrounds, performing free concerts for the community of Lynchburg, Virginia, working with kids to help them compose their own music and be excited about classical music, and helping to inspire young musicians in Lynchburg.
Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?
Dudley: I wanted to bring classical music to the community that supported me becoming a musician! I would give recitals while growing up in Lynchburg, and would return on breaks from NYC with friends and colleagues to continue performing concerts. I always enjoyed seeing so many family and friends at these events, and found it to be a great way to bring people together who all shared a love of music, as well as bring a bit of NYC to my hometown. I decided to take a risk by starting a music festival with the trust and help of my friends, colleagues, and the Lynchburg community from Virginia! Bringing musical outreach to youth in Lynchburg is also super exciting, and we are looking forward to growing this component of the festival.
Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?
Dudley: We offer free concerts open to the general public, which have seen audiences up to 250 people, full houses in our venues! We also have programs for kids in public schools—some include composing a graphic score or a body percussion workshop—and offer performance offerings by our artists who are both local and with international acclamations.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent festival or community milestone.
Dudley: This summer we were able to reach about 1000 people in the community of Lynchburg between our concert programs and our outreach music programs. This was only our second summer, and we have big plans tripling our budget and being able to invest more into our community programming and our artists. Next summer we should be able to double (or greater) the amount of people we are able to reach with our increased publicity and team.
Spiffy: That’s amazing! Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Dudley: The festival started from just a simple idea, and has grown into something really beautiful in the two years it has existed. I wouldn't have been able to do it without the support of our board, musicians, staff, and volunteers who have helped in the process of turning the festival into something beautiful. Anyone can start a business with something they love—it takes time, a team, and trust.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Dudley—it’s been an honor!
Dudley Raine IV is a freelance violist currently based in New York City. His summer season included concerts with American Ballet Theatre, American Symphony Orchestra, and Phantom of the Opera. He is also the founder and co-director of the Seven Hills Chamber Music Festival in his hometown of Lynchburg, Virginia. Dudley earned his Bachelors and Masters in performance from Manhattan School of Music. (First published on the Ladderworks website on November 14, 2022.)© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.