Ruth Moir, the Coachella Valley’s matriarch in music education, is the president and founder of The Steinway Society of Riverside County and the Coachella Valley. This organization provides our community with 8 music programs, 5 of these are music education programs in the schools. The Society is committed to excellence in music education for all children.
It all started when Ruth was 32. This mother of 3 had just sent her youngest child to kindergarten. While they were at school, Ruth decided she would start a private musical education by studying classical guitar and voice. This evolved into a career of music for children culminating with an Emmy Nomination in 1980. Ruth combined music and nutrition for children. Among her credits were The Captain Kangaroo Show, Bill Cosby, Charles Shultz Peanuts and the John Davidson show, all on the CBS Network for 14 years in 82 markets.
Ruth was invited to join the San Francisco Children’s Theater, where she served as the Music Director for 8 years. The 80 year old Theater Group facilitated an annual calendar of 28 shows for the public children of San Francisco . Mrs. Moir fondly recalls a musical comedy she produced that was breaking the barriers on how to educate children through exposure to the arts. Her joy and passion for music education grew into a conviction that is obviously with her to this day.
“The effect of Music Education on the growing mind is directly related to the development of the part of the brain we use for mathematics.” Ruth comments.
In 2000, Mr. and Mrs. Moir joined our Coachella Valley Community. It wasn’t long before she realized her music education antennae were not picking up enough signals on musical enrichment programs in the Coachella Valley Schools.
While at The Steinway Gallery in 2002 Mrs. Moir busied herself under the auspices of Steinway & Sons piano Company in New York, a name that communicates quality craftsmanship, performance and enrichment. She was be able to use the “Steinway” name in forming the “Steinway Society of Riverside County and the Coachella Valley”, a 501 c 3 non-profit organization to bring more music programs into the school. The Society does not receive any funding from the Steinway Company. Fields Piano Company the Steinway Gallery in Santa Anna CA. provides the society with a Steinway “B” piano for their concerts. Gathered closely in line with prominent business people and in combination with retired teachers from U.S.C. Music Department, The Steinway Society began its journey that is now in its eleventh year.
The Steinway Society has become the “go to” musical organization currently serving over 20,000 of our valleys children with quality music programs.
Existing programs have quadrupled in productivity in the past 5 years.
- The Base Program, Classics in Schools, features international artists and Steinway Festival Winners to perform for the students. Donna Jiaras V.P. is the Chair Person of this program.
- The Annual Festival Piano Competition held at Xavier College Prep on Cook St. Open to 7-18 year olds, provides a unique opportunity for local students to participate with World Class Judges, have Master Classes, receive Study Awards and Performance Opportunities with $5,000 in prizes for 10 winners during a concert event held at the Annenberg Theater, P.S. Art Museum. James McCormick V.P. is the Chair Person of the Festival Competition and the Winners Concert.
- The Piano labs have dedicated classrooms in 5 schools. The Director and V.P. of Programs is Leslie Crichton Demuth.
- The Outreach Program provides private study with pianos in the home for the student. This program is privately funded! It consists of 11 outreach students and has 4 teachers.
- The Volunteer Docent Programs include Mr. McSymphony a music appreciation class written by Mr. Steve Battaglia who coordinates the program through the Coachella Valley. This program introduces the children to all types of music and music history of famous composers it is 12 years old. The Basics of An Orchestra Program created by Bob Poehling and Joe Giarrusso, teaches the children all the instruments in the orchestra and culminates with a visit from an ensemble of the Redlands Symphony Orchestra. A new pilot Ukulele Program is taught by Recording Secretary Jeanie Cunningham, at the James Madison School. This program made its debut on CBS. Channel 2. An annual Jazz workshop for all the Jazz bands in the valley will be on April 20th with the PSUSD. The chair of this event is Board member Roger King.
To Support the Coachella Valley’s own Steinway Society you can attend the next event at the Annenberg Theater, Palm Springs Art Museum on November 11 at 2:00pm. The Event is a FREE to attend “Outreach Students Showcase”.
You can also DONATE YOUR PIANO! Pianos in good condition are needed for deserving students. Call 760-341-4130 for more information, or To make a donation on please visit
Help us bring music to the children!
Support and Education for Local Music and Arts, Coachella valley Chapter 1.