Our youth programs have started 2016 with exciting new programming. We are most grateful to MVYouth grant funding for our Access and Inspiration program to purchase 20 new student violins and violas, as well as provide an Artist in Residency program over three years. Additionally, a Grant from The Tower Foundation and private donations have allowed us to add another 10 violins and purchase badly needed new cases for some of our current violin stock. These purchases will allow us to increase access to more students while we hope the inspiration of the Artist in Residency will keep students involved in playing for many years.
MVCMS has been committed to removing barriers for interested student players since the late 1980’s. Purchases of its own violins and several cellos over a number of years has supported student strings players in the early elementary grades. Currently 40 violins and 1 cello are in circulation to students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in the strings program.
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, expanded over a number of years and was eventually added back into the school curriculum from the early elementary grades. The elementary strings program includes up to 200 students a year. Several teachers worked with the program through the 1990s, Nancy Jephcote became the full-time instructor 17 years ago and continues today. She is joined by part-time instructor Chelsea Pennebaker and several program assistants. We hope our support will continue a vibrant elementary strings program and interest in classical music.
The MVCMS is committed to helping interested children who show aptitude pay for private instruction with its Lesson Scholarship Program. The number of applicants has increased considerably since the program’s inception, as has the cost of private lessons. We continue to reach out to private teachers for help identifying families who could use our support. We currently provide funds to about 15 students per year with partial scholarships. Parents have been enthusiastic about their appreciation of our support and the positive influence music has made in the lives of their children.
Finally, we continue to offer an annual College Scholarship to a deserving student pursuing music or music education. This is seen as a continuation of our support for music throughout the life span. We are pleased to have provided this support to many deserving students over the years.
Donations specifically designated for these programs are gratefully accepted.