In the early 1970’s the full orchestra at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School was discontinued due to a lack of string instrument students. Programs in the elementary schools had eliminated string instruments thereby providing no opportunity for continuation at the high school level. In 1987 the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society initiated the development of an All-Island After School String Instrument Program. The program, which started with 47 students, has expanded to include well over 200 students, is an integral part of the island school curriculum and employs two full time teachers, one at the elementary level and one at the high school. The cost of rental instruments being beyond the abilities of some families to pay, the MVCMS purchased its own violins and one cello to provide low cost rentals for deserving students.
The MVCMS is committed to helping interested children who show aptitude pay for music lessons with its Scholarship Program. The number of applicants has increased considerably since the program’s inception, as has the cost of private lessons. Last spring the Board voted to increase its scholarship funding by one third to meet this need. However, even with this increase we were not able to assist all qualifying applicants. Parents have been enthusiastic about their appreciation of our support and the positive influence music has made in the lives of their children.
We are very grateful to the Permanent Endowment Fund for a grant that will enable us to purchase two 1/4 size ‘cellos. These instruments will be made available at a modest yearly rental for students who could not otherwise afford to rent an instrument.
Donations specifically designated for these programs are gratefully accepted.