The late Otto Warkentin owned and operated Wayne Strings in Fort Wayne, Indiana for over four decades. Now, thanks to a generous donation in his memory by Otto’s family, instruments from his shop have found a new home in the hands of students in the ECoSistema music program.
Byron Warkentin, son of Louetta and the late Otto Warkentin, first heard about ECoSistema in a segment on WNIT’s show Education Counts Michiana. A retired teacher, Byron resonated with ECoSistema’s mission of providing quality music education for students facing access barriers. Before Otto’s death in May 2022, he expressed a wish for his instruments to be donated to young people. Thanks to his family’s efforts, this dream became a reality.
This fall, the Warkentin family donated nearly 50 string instruments to ECoSistema sites in Goshen and Elkhart. This donation couldn’t have come at a better time. Enrollment nearly doubled for ECoSistema at the Boys & Girls Club of Goshen this year, and the Warkentin instruments have been put to use immediately in the hands of eager new beginners. At Roosevelt STEAM Academy in Elkhart, the instruments have been invaluable in serving the school’s influx of new students this fall.
This donation has made an immeasurable impact on the longevity and scope of our program. We are honored and grateful to be able to steward these instruments into a new season of music-making. Many thanks to the Warkentin family!