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April 2012 Newsletter

Songweavers: A Place Called Home


Every Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the Music School is home to more than 130 women and a dozen African-style drummers who make up Songweavers and Songdrummers. Songweavers is a non-auditioned chorus, open to women of all ages - welcoming seasoned and new musicians, grandmothers, mothers, daughters and friends. The group's annual concert was April 15, capping off a musically marvelous year. This year's theme was "Coming Home."

Peggo Horstmann Hodes, Songweavers director, said, "This was my first year at the helm of a long-standing tradition begun 21 years ago by Carolyn Parrott. Turns out, I absolutely love conducting a large group of eager, enthusiastic, ready-for-anything women! Musically, we found home in songs of heaven, heart and sanctuary. Personally, I found home in my return to the Music School - a community I love deeply - and the weekly vibrations of drumming and the eager voices of the Songweaver women."

Songweavers member Carol Aldrich said, "I have been singing since 1996, soon after my husband passed away with a brain tumor. Little did I know what a healing effect music creates. I think I will never stop singing!"


Women of all ages are invited to join Songweavers at the first rehearsal of the season on Sept. 11, 2012. Come experience the joy of singing!

To hear a part of the Songweavers spring 2012 concert, click here and here.

To watch a video about Songweavers, click here.


A happy anniversary!

Thank you for making the 2012 Performathon a success! We raised more than $13,000 for financial aid! More than 100 students performed non-stop during this day-long celebration, which also included an instrument petting zoo. We are proud to be able to provide financial support for 150 students from 29 New Hampshire towns. Thanks to our generous supporters, we will be able to meet our Financial Aid Fund budget of $100,000 this year. When added to the $100,000 in additional contributed support for the Music in the Community Initiative (see below), these two funds support 45 percent of the students taught by Music School faculty each week.

Financial aid is granted to students on the basis of family need and the Music School's availability of funds. While a family's financial need is the primary consideration in determining awards, the Financial Aid Committee also considers temporary unemployment, emergencies, illnesses and total music training expenses.

To listen to three Story Corps recordings from Anniversary Weekend, click here: Story 1, Story 2 and Story 3.

Music in the Community Initiative (MICI) partnerships showcased in Manchester

John Faggiano with two Beech Street drummers.

Our Beech Street drummers performed in Beechfest at Beech Street School in Manchester on April 18. During this wonderful community event, approximately 10 fifth-graders, led by Percussion Department Chair John Faggiano and Calvin Herst, director of education and community partnerships, performed two pieces before an audience of approximately 500 people. This partnership between Beech Street and the Music School began in 1998 as the pilot program for the Music in the Community Initiative.

"This year's group of fifth-graders was so much fun to work with," Faggiano said. "I was not only impressed with what they accomplished musically, but also so proud of how they worked together, helped each other and showed leadership. They gave a terrific performance at Beechfest. Many parents, teachers and staff members mentioned how well the children performed and how the drumming program has become such an integral part of the event."

On April 5, Heather Oberheim and her creative dance and movement classes from McDonough School in Manchester performed at the 21st Century Learning Center showcase at Central High. The Music School's partnership with the 21st Century after-school program at McDonough and Hallsville schools this year is another of our longstanding MICI partnerships. The event was titled "A Night with the Stars," and the students truly shone bright.

Calvin Herst and Faggiano with the drummers at Beechfest.

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Photo credits: Larry Crowe