“Catherine was going to change the world. She was going to save us from ourselves, and with her not being here, somebody has to do it. We, with our families and friends, want to change the world for her, with one instrument and one kid at a time,” said Erin Rheinscheld, Catherine Batcheler’s mother.
Batcheler was 16 when she died last year of unknown causes. She was a member of the Lebanon High School marching band and First Presbyterian Church and involved in drama, choir, writing, photography and Youth in Government.
Rheinscheld called her daughter a “social warrior,” which became evident after a neighboring student could not participate in middle school band, because the family could not afford the instrument.
“Catherine called her friends, called adults, raised all kinds of ruckus about it, until suddenly a saxophone became available, and the little boy was able to join band,” Rheinscheld said. “That was where the idea started, that no child should ever be turned away from a music program, because they can’t afford the fees or can’t afford the musical instruments.”
Catherine’s Orchestra For All aims to provide new and used instruments to students who can’t afford them; instrument repair, lessons and other services that may benefit the student in the music program; scholarships to participate in high school music programs; and assist Wilson County music programs in ways that would add to the enrichment of the programs or students.
“This foundation is to ensure that any child, regardless of income, socioeconomic background, disability or wherever they came from, has access to a musical instrument, to make sure the instrument is in good working condition and stays that way and that we can support them through musical lessons and anything they might need to succeed,” Rheinscheld said.
“Our goal is to make sure we get the information out to people who want to be in the program,” said Julia Stranahan, Catherine’s best friend and social media manager for Catherine’s Orchestra for All.
The group has big plans for the future, including an instrument drive, which will be announced in the coming weeks.
Rheinscheld said she hopes Catherine’s Orchestra for All would be her daughter’s lasting legacy in Middle Tennessee for future generations.
For more information, visit catherinesorchestra.com, or email Rheinscheld at [email protected], or Stranahan at [email protected]