Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society (MVCMS) continued its’ support of island youth through the Access & Inspiration Program, loaning instruments and sponsoring two Artist-in-Residency weeks. There were unloaned instruments in the fall of 2016, but children grew throughout the year and all but full-size instruments were loaned, over 50 loans. This fall, with an additional teacher, all children interested in playing strings were accommodated by the program. This resulted in 60 instruments from MVCMS being loaned, 100% of ready inventory, and nearly one-third of all students playing instruments in the program 2nd-8th grade. Two Artist-in-Residency programs were provided in 2017. Andres Vera, cellist with the Quartet San Francisco (QSF) convened an April AIR which included elementary and high school students and the Vineyard Montessori School. A week of visits, lessons, and mentoring concluded with a capstone concert. A second AIR was held in October. Mr. Vera returned with lead violinist for QSF, Jeremy Cohen. The duo taught lessons, mentored teachers, coached the high school orchestra, provided all-school concerts at four of the six elementary schools and played a free concert at the West Tisbury Library. Evaluations from participants have been positive. The Quartet wishes to return in the spring of 2018 to continue building relationships with island students and MVCMS.
Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society (MVCMS) received funding to purchase violins and violas and offer an Artist-in-Residency program for three years to Island youth. This gift increased the numbers of instruments available to young players and will support the public schools string program with visits from professional musicians aiming to inspire the youth of MV. MVCMS has supported Island youth for more than twenty-five years with free, loaned instruments and lesson scholarships. More than forty violins and cellos have been available to families that self identify as needing support. MVCMS also supports about fifteen students each year, receiving private instrument lessons, an important addition to in-school playing. Discontinued for many years, the public school strings program was reactivated with after-school lessons through MVCMS in the eighties. The successful program grew into the current schools program with continued support of MVCMS, promising “no barriers” to any student wishing to play. Today over one hundred sixty players in second through eighth grade participate. For the past four years, there has been a waiting list for students seeking access. This fall, led by the All-Island School Committee, the budget for strings teachers was increased from one and one half positions to two full time positions beginning in fall 2017. Thanks to the generosity of MVYouth, Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society has added twenty violins and violas, to our lending program for budding musicians, all of which are loaned out this fall. We are organizing our first Artist-in-Residency program for April 2017 and the popularity of the Island Strings program has led the MV Public Schools to increase teaching time for the Elementary Strings Program.