On Sunday, June 2, the Oberlin Community Music School hosted a three-hour long community celebration. Dubbed the Mega Musical Mashup, the afternoon featured performances by Community Music School students, the Oberlin Choristers, the Oberlin Community Church Choir, the Oberlin High School Concert Choir, the MAD Factory, the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestras, students and teachers of the Woodshed, the First Church Bell Choir, and the Cello Champs: Adult Cello Choir.
The afternoon of music, which also featured instrument making, an instrument “petting zoo,” and free ice cream, was the culminating event in a series of 10 concerts celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Oberlin Community Music School. Watch a video from the Mega Musical Mashup.
The Community Music School, recently selected as Lorain County’s “Best Music Instruction” by Pulse magazine, is a major outreach program for the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and is successful partly due to its accessibility. Music lessons can be expensive, but at the CMS students can get scholarships to fund their lessons and lending programs help students obtain instruments. The school has expanded greatly from its start with a few dozen students in 2002. About 240 students now receive instruction from 20 professional teachers from the Oberlin area.
For the 2013-14 year, the Community Music School (CMS) plans to add adult chamber music instruction to its program. Also in the fall, the school is planning to begin a class on technology in music for middle school and high school students, especially geared toward girls. Students would learn electronic composition and how to use synthesizers, microphones, and mixing techniques in cooperation with the TIMARA department and professor Tom Lopez. On similar lines, the school is exploring the option of creating a radio DJ workshop in collaboration with WOBC.
All of this is made possible in part by the valuable support the CMS has received from the Kulas Foundation and the Nord Foundation. In addition, this coming year, an anonymous donor will match contributions to the CMS up to $7,500 with the goal of reaching this amount by May 2014.
In addition to the focus on outreach and accessibility, the Community Music School is committed to “music as a vehicle of social activism,” as director Louise Zeitlin describes it—using the social connections provided by music and music education to work for the benefit of society. This year’s program raised money to support local service organizations, and in previous years the school has supported such worthy causes as tsunami relief in Japan, Harvest for Hunger and earthquake relief in Haiti. At the Mega Musical Mash-up, which was free and open to the public, the CMS accepted donations to aid Oberlin Community Services.
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