Dustin Klein To Establish Performing Arts Scholarship and 8th Grade Award Through Planned Gift

Faculty member, Dustin Klein, has joined the Gordon H. Thompson Society by documenting a planned gift to benefit Orchard. Planned gifts like Dustin’s will help to ensure The Orchard School’s sustainability and excellence long into the future.

What makes Orchard special to you?
I’ve been here since 2002 so my earliest students are into adulthood. Seeing students reflect on their experiences here in the arts and how it’s affected their lives is really rewarding. I think the students appreciate it most after they leave. There are so many magical parts of our school. At Orchard, I love that nature is teacher and that we value diversity, tolerance, and acceptance of different people and families.

How would your life be different without Orchard? 
I probably would not even be in Indianapolis. I probably wouldn’t have the relationships that are so important to me. The kids and the families here feel like my family. Orchard has also helped support and inspire my artistic endeavors and production company outside of Orchard, all started by “Calder the Musical.” I am now co-founder and artistic director of Klein & Alvarez Productions, LLC here in Indianapolis. We produce 4 shows a year along with the promotion of Calder. 

What inspired you to make this legacy gift?
I wanted to give back to Orchard for the support that I’ve received. I’ve lived half my life here. I thought about giving to another charity, but this is a more personal connection. It relates to what I’ve been doing for almost the last 20 years. I want to support the fact that that the arts have been such a strong tradition here. I hope in the future, Orchard will continue to attract students that have an interest and a passion for the arts.

How do you hope your contribution will impact future generations of Orchard students?
I hope the scholarship will help to attract students who have a strong passion for music and will make these students feel inspired and valued on their musical path. I hope it will lift up the importance of music in the lives of children. Even for children who don’t pursue a musical path, by being at Orchard, they will develop an appreciation for everything that goes into a performance. They will understand the time and effort that it takes to put on a quality production. Through that exposure, they may choose to go into the arts, enjoy the arts, and hopefully contribute to the support of the arts, too. We need the next generation involved.

Do you have a favorite Orchard tradition?
The pageants, the musicals, and the plays are all my favorite. They bring people together as a community and people can appreciate the music, the dance, the production. Some of my best memories are seeing some of the 4th graders who were shy or introverted and by the end of the play, they shine in a character role. I’ve heard from parents that their children have been able to show themselves in a new way through these experiences. Orchard props students up to be comfortable in the spotlight - whether it’s speaking in front of people or performing on the stage. We help them discover their gifts.
Do you have a special Orchard memory?
Eibhlin Ewald ‘15 was such a strong performer and passed away too soon after leaving Orchard. I still feel her spirit here at Orchard and it was a reminder not to take anything for granted. It was rewarding to reflect on what we were able to do together while she was here. She had such joy through music and we were able to incorporate a special song into her celebration of life at Orchard.

I also have fond memories of writing the 4th grade plays then seeing them come to life on stage. It’s exciting to do such original work. When I wrote “Calder” for 5th graders, it was so fantastic that we produced a full adult-version for Indy Fringe Theatre Festival. It became the #1 top-selling show in 2016 and we then produced a full production at the Basile Theatre. We now have the cast album and are taking it beyond Indianapolis. 🦉 
Donors who give through their estate can support Orchard and even provide important tax savings and other benefits to your estate and family. Your estate gift may even count toward the capital campaign. Talk to the development staff to understand your options for impact at Orchard.

Email Taylor Whitaker at twhitaker@orchard.org with any questions or visit orchard.org/plannedgiving to learn more.

Also, August is National Make-a-Will-Month. Orchard has partnered with FreeWill: a free, online will-writing resource that can bring you a lifetime’s worth of peace of mind in just a few minutes. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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