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Creation of music nonprofit hits right note for alumnus

By Tim O'Keeffe on July 29, 2010

Gary Eichhorn ’75 is no stranger to corporate boardrooms, having worked, very successfully, in the technology and medical devices field for more than 30 years. But it is his visits to music “clubhouses” these days that really fuel his passion.

Eichhorn is executive director of the Music and Youth Initiative, a nonprofit organization he and his wife, Joan, launched to provide underserved young people with music instruction and life skills.

The nonprofit supports six music clubhouses, outfitted with high-end instruments and computers, in the Boston area.

Eichhorn discusses his work with the nonprofit and with his technology-consulting firm in the latest episode of Colgate Conversations, a podcast series that highlights members of the campus community.

jessica prata
Gary Eichhorn ’75 is trying to counter the growing disparity in access to a good education through his nonprofit organization.

Most of the young people he sees in the clubhouses are from families living under the federal poverty level who come from tough sections of the city.

Too often the public schools they attend cut music education because of budget issues, and that type of education is just too valuable to lose, said Eichhorn, who plays jazz guitar.

The music instruction at the clubhouses not only bolsters math, history, literacy, and computer skills, but just as importantly, builds self esteem and confidence.

“We really use music as a vehicle for all these things,” said Eichhorn. “You see this tremendous transformation in the kids.”

Eichhorn, who sits on the boards of several technology firms and offers venture capital firms advice on technology opportunities through his Eichhorn Group, also shares in the podcast his thoughts on some of the upcoming technology trends.

He is interested in closed-loop systems for the medical devices industry, in which researchers look at a number of devices and systems that simulate the workings of a human organ, such as an artificial pancreas.

Eichhorn also weighs in on Facebook and how the social networking giant responded to the brouhaha over its privacy policies, and the great value he sees in LinkedIn, an online platform for professionals to network.

He talks about how the 4G network that is now becoming more widely available and the growing number of easy-to-use applications will dramatically increase the usage of smart phones and other mobile devices.

To hear the full podcast interview with Eichhorn, click to listen now or right-click and “save target as” to download file. You also can go to the Colgate Conversations page or iTunes page for more download options.

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1 Comment



  • Ursula Olender said:

    Thanks for this podcast! I’m thrilled to report that two current Colgate students are interning with Music & Youth this summer through the Manzi Fellowship, a paid summer internship program for Colgate first-years, sophomores, and juniors; the fellowship enables students to work in non-profit organizations in the Boston area.
    Established in 1995 by Jim Manzi ’73, students are selected on a competitive basis. Significant criteria for selection are a demonstrated commitment to community service and the potential to pursue such work after college.
    Ursula Olender
    Director of Career Services
    Colgate University