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Pakachoag Music School is pleased to announce that two students have been selected for the 2021 Reinburg Award for Effort, Commitment and Attitude:  Mai Caslowitz, voice student, of Sturbridge and Ksheeraja Ramanujum, violin student, from Shrewsbury.

About Mai Caslowitz of Sturbridge

Mai Caslowitz, from Sturbridge, is a senior at Tantasqua High School.  Mai has been enrolled at Pakachoag for over 10 years, first starting at age two! Mai began her musical journey with Pakachoag in 2005 as a participant, with mom, in the School’s early childhood Music Together program.  Mai later enrolled in the School’s Suzuki Program as a violin student, and in 2018 narrowed her focus to private vocal studies.

Mai has excelled during her music studies, most notably being selected for the 2021 All Eastern Music Festival Chorus which draws vocalists from across the northeastern US.

Mai’s private voice teacher, Pakachoag faculty member Silvia Irving, formerly a professional vocalist with Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society, writes:  “These four years with Mai have been an inspirational journey with a blossoming young artist. From the beginning she has been an exceptionally self-motivated student, always being open to learn, explore and share new ideas and literature. Mai’s consistent focus and effort has allowed her to gain richness and flexibility in her vocal expression and to sing an impressive array of songs from classical to music theater.”

Mai will enter Ryder University in the fall pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre.

About Ksheeraja Ramanujam of Shrewsbury

Ksheeraja Ramanujam, of Shrewsbury, the second recipient of this year’s Reinburg Award, studies violin at Pakachoag with Amy Matherly.  She has been enrolled for seven years and is currently completing her junior year at Shrewsbury High School where she plays in the school orchestra.

Teacher Amy Matherly comments, “Ksheeraja loves playing the violin and views it as a pleasure to be enjoyed. She listens to music with interest and sets goals for herself. A dedicated and enthusiastic student, she practices thoughtfully and comes to her lessons well prepared. I am pleased that she has received this award!”

In addition to her activities at Pakachoag, Ksheeraja participates in the Shrewsbury High School Orchestra and studies the Carnatic style of classical Indian violin at the Anubhava School of Music. She was also accepted into the 2021 MMEA Senior Orchestra.

Ksheeraja is interested in biochemistry and plans to pursue a career in that field.  She plans to continue playing the violin in college and would like to set up a multi-instrument fusion club where people from different backgrounds and cultures can come together to learn from each other and enjoy music.


About the Peggy Kelley Reinburg Award

The Peggy Kelley Reinburg Award for Effort, Commitment and Attitude, named after the School’s second director who strove to instill an appreciation for excellence among all School students, is awarded annually, each spring.  With the pandemic closures in Spring 2020, the School did not present an award last year and is thus happy to be able to acknowledge two very deserving students this spring of 2021.

Prior recipients of the PKR award, which dates back to 1992, include students who have gone on to excel in the sciences, law enforcement,  engineering, aviation, education (both k-12 and higher education), social work and professional careers in music performance, music education, and musical theater.

Sophia from Sutton, Voice and Guitar


This month’s student spotlight is Sophia Maloney.  Sophia takes voice lessons with Silvia Irving and guitar lessons with Jeff Dostal.

What Does Sophia Particularly Like about Lessons?

The thing that excites Sophia the most about her lessons is learning to play and sing the songs that she loves. Combining her guitar and voice skills she has acquired over the years, Sophia says it has been fun to learn songs by the many different artists she enjoys, from indie rock to musical theatre!

How Have you Grown with Music?

Sophie prepares to sing at a December 2014 performance class. Year 3 of lessons.

Sophia’s mom says, “Sophia has grown tremendously.”  During her first lessons, Sophia remembers feeling a bit overwhelmed, but also felt comfortable to ask questions and to try her best.   When she was in middle school, Sophie says “it felt like a pain” to practice.  More recently, as a high school student, through her perseverance, Sophie has developed a love and passion for music, and is consistently self-motivated, practicing almost every day now for a number of years.

On Remote Lessons During COVID…

In 2020, Sophie continued her musical education through remote lessons. One of her most memorable remote lessons was with her guitar teacher Jeff:  “Jeff and I were both trying to play a song together that I had brought in. We were able to time it out in a way that we were playing a song at the same time going around the lag on zoom. Although it was difficult it worked in the end!”

Sophie looks forward to moving back to in-person lessons.  She says online classes have their benefits, like not having to drive, but “nothing compares to being able to make music with someone in person”, and we couldn’t agree more, Sophie!

Is there anything you have learned in your lessons that helps you in other situations?

Student Recital 2019

One outstanding point that Sophie makes is that “a big part of music is advocating for yourself and and sharing your thoughts, and that has absolutely helped me to speak my mind in group settings”.

As of spring 2021, Sophie has been enrolled for 10 years!  Becoming a musician doesn’t happen overnight.  Along the way – no matter whether year 1 or year 10 – the lessons we learn last for life.  What a thrill that Sophie has been doing this long enough to be able to learn some of the more challenging lessons that transfer from music to other settings.  Congratulations Sophie!

Hearty congratulations to Pakachoag violin students Mia and Kamden, of Shrewsbury.  Following COVID-19 shut-downs in mid-March, and as the summer arrived, Mia and Kamden decided they would challenge their “musical selves”.  They committed, together, to complete 100 consecutive days of practice.

Mia practices while camping

Mia practices while camping.

The 100 days spanned most of the summer (a little over 14 weeks).   Teacher Amy Matherly reports:  “Stories of their determination include remembering that they hadn’t practiced yet after putting their head down on their pillow at night and dragging themselves up to practice before the clock struck 12.  They also insisted on bringing their violins on camping trips.”

Mom writes, “They started in mid June. Everyday they picked a piece they’d like to either review or sight read on top of the regular practices. We then recorded the name of the pieces on the spreadsheet. Kamden went the extra mile by recording a short video of each piece, each day and posted on his Instagram account. We’re very proud of their accomplishments! ”

Both Mia and Kamden will perform at the School’s first official event of the new school year:  The annual Suzuki Program Book Review recital on October 6th.   Amy notes, “We look forward to hearing the results!”.  Me too!

Well done Mia and Kamden.  Challenging ourselves, without external twisting of arms, is a great way to learn and excel.

May & June 2020 Music Together /
Early Childhood Special

Whether you are a former student or new student, you can sign up for a free demo class for Music Together Online, ages birth to five years, between May 22 and June 13.  Please email info@pakmusic.org for details.  Please book 2 to 3 days ahead.  For Spring MT Schedules view our MT Calendar.

What Other Parents Are Saying

 What do You like the most about Spring Music Together Online?  “My daughter is 2 and loves seeing Miss Julie every week. Week 1 was tough keeping her engaged but once she got familiar with the songs, the following weeks were much better…  The props [recommended for use at home during class time] definitely draw her into the songs (teddy bear, sticks, scarves, etc…) so that’s been great. She loves the MT songs and participates almost the entire online class which is impressive for a two year old!”
– Anonymous Music Together Parent, MA Spring 2020

“I cannot thank you enough for pulling together such an impressive and inspiring online curriculum. We’ve been skeptical of distance-learning activities for our daughter P., as she’s 2.5 years old and doesn’t really grasp the concept yet, and she has not enjoyed some of the other online classes for her age group. However, last Sunday was our first Music Together class (via Zoom), and we loved it! Thank you again for what your community has done for our families during this unpredictable and unprecedented time.”   -Music Together Parent, CA

What to Expect:  Active & Interactive !

With Music Together® Online or one of our Summer Samplers Online, you’ll have access to the same high-quality music and movement curriculum loved by millions of families and teachers around the world—from home!

Like all our classes, Music Together Online is designed to teach the way young children learn: through play. During each online music class, our teacher will lead music activities for the whole family to sing, play, and jam along to and show you how to make everyday items like dish towels, pots, and stuffies into musical props. Even though your teacher is on the screen, each class has been designed as an active music-making experience for little ones and their grownups.

Classes are appropriate for children under 5, but the entire family is welcome (and encouraged!) to participate in the musical fun.

Our Winter 2020 News is out.  Below you can view a color pdf copy.

Headline for This Edition

The Path Forward Widening:

Regional Foundations Aiding Expanded Engagement as Pakachoag Connects in the Heart of Worcester.

 

If you would like to receive future newsletters via US postal service, you can submit your contact information here.

Click below to view a pdf copy:

2020 Pakachoag Music Worcester Winter News Web

Included in this Newsletter

  • Introducing New Board and Advisory Board Members
  • Teacher Recognition:  10 Year Milestones
  • 2019 Verderese Volunteer of the Year
  • Almnus Highlight:  Joel Spinney, School Principal
  • Suzuki Teacher Training Unit 4 Offered
  • Special Events
  • Summer Session Overview

 

The Pakachoag Fiddle Band will be part of the line-up for the December 14th Student Recital at Pakachoag Music School.   Other performers include violinists, pianists, flutist, fiddler, and the Suzuki Allegro Violin Group.

Students range in age from  five to adult; and represent the towns of Worcester, Auburn, Boylston, Brimfield, Charlton, Douglas, Dudley, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Sterling, and Webster.

Recitals are a staple of Pakachoag’s lesson program providing opportunities for students to set goals and share favorite selections with guests. We invite you to come enjoy the music and celebrate community music-making with the students of Pakachoag Music School.

Advance Ticket Reservation Requested.  Click below to secure tickets.

  • Date:  Sunday, December 14, 2019
  • Time:  3:00 to about 4:15 pm
  • Location:  The Sanctuary at All Saints Church, 10 Irving Street, Worcester, MA  01609
  • Back door, off Pleasant Street, opens at 2:30 pm
  • Watch for signs for front door opening – on Irving Street.
Dec 14 Recital Tickets


Introducing Our Newest Faculty

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is a vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.

Carl Yung
Founder of Analytical Psychology
Artist, craftsman, builder
1875-1961

We’re happy to introduce….

Pakachoag Music School is happy to introduce five new faculty joining us this fall of 2019.

Our new faculty and returning faculty total 30 members strong, and we’re all looking forward to welcoming students both new and returning during the month of September.

If you are not yet enrolled but have been thinking about becoming musically involved, please feel free to email or call. While schedules are filling, we still have opportunities available.

Also, we’re offering a free Music Together DEMO Class in September.

All details below.

With the onset of the new school year, we look forward to the opportunity to touch each of our students with the warmth of music – a warmth that lasts a life-time.

Sincerely,

Sarah Smongeski, Executive Director

 


New Faculty


Financial Aid Program

Thanks to the generosity of donors and grantors, each year Pakachoag is able to provide tuition financial support for families of low income.  Please email Sarah@pakmusic.org for details.

While available funding is limited, we strongly encourage you to apply for assistance if your annual income qualifies.   If we cannot provide immediate assistance, we’ll wait-list you until additional funding becomes available.


Music Together Demo Class

Free Sample Class

Saturday, September 14, 2019
9:30 am at Emmanuel Lutheran

Limited slots available.
Advance booking required to:  Sarah@pakmusic.org

MORE INFORMATION

NEW for K – Grade 1

We’re excited to announce an all NEW addition to our program offerings.

Like most group classes, enrollment is limited so we suggest registering sooner than later.

Music Safari: A Beginning Keyboard and Music Literacy Class.

MORE INFORMATION

OTHER Programs

Private Lessons?

email our Program Director Kristjon@pakmusic.org

Rhythm Kids

Learn More Here

Music Together

A staple of our programming for over 30 years
for Birth to age five in six locations:  Worcester, Auburn, Sterling, Sturbridge, West Boylston.
Learn More Here

Not sure?  Browse all of our programs here.

Make music part of your school year.  Music teaches so many skills which transfer to other areas of learning.  But beyond the learning, by enrolling with Pakachoag you also become part of a musical family where together we enjoy music, celebrate growth, and bring dreams to succeed and excel to life.  We are very much about music, but we’re also so much more.

Explore our program web pages to find what works for you, your child or other special person.

If you are not sure if music is for you, please take a moment to consider all of the possibilities an investment in music can bring to life.  Through classes and lessons, students learn to become comfortable in making music, develop fluency around musical reading and language, and develop skills for listening and creating.  At the same time we are learning to become musicians, we’re also strengthening things like memory, large and fine motor coordination, pattern recognition, and spatial intelligence.  Our Music Together little ones discover outlets for appropriate self-expression; our private lesson students, school-age and adults, develop skills for self-discipline; and if you become part of the performance program, we’ll help you learn to feel comfortable and successful on stage, and what to do when not everything goes as planned.

We offer programs for all ages – literally birth into retirement.  If you don’t find what you are looking for when browsing the program pages of our website, please feel free to email info@pakmusic.org or call if you have questions.

We invite you to become part of our musical family as we begin our 38th year – now with our offices and much of our programming in Worcester.

Sincerely, Sarah Smongeski, Executive Director

Elevating the Arts, Engaging Creatively!

$50,000 Grant Awarded

Jim Canales of the Barr Foundation with Sarah Smongeski, Pakachoag Executive Director

We’re taking the next leap forward, thanks to the Greater Worcester Community Foundation‘s investment in Pakachoag with a $50,000 creative engagement grant. The program, administered in partnership with the Barr Foundation of Boston, will be supporting our work to become a more diverse organization, reflective of our changing world.

The overriding goal of Greater Worcester’s Creative Engagement initiative, in partnership with the Barr Foundation, is to elevate the arts and expand creative community engagement.

Our Pakachoag grant goals will be focused on:

  • Building organizational diversity;
  • strengthening capacity; and
  • engaging more dynamically with the Worcester community.

Below, Sarah Smongeski, Executive Director, has included her informal comments around the GWCF Creative Engagement Grant, as shared with families and guests during our May 2019 Recital weekend.

Learn more about the Greater Worcester Community Foundation and their Barr partnership here.

Learn more about the Barr Foundation’s investment in arts & culture here.

Setting The Stage, For the Future

Why the GWCF Creative Engagement Grant Makes a Difference and Why YOU Are an Important Part of This Project

Gleaned from May Recital Weekend Opening Comments by Sarah Smongeski, Executive Director.

YOUR participation as a current member of the Pakachoag family is VERY important – for the future of Pakachoag, the future of our community, and the future of our world!

A little dramatic?  Perhaps.

You are connected to Pakachoag in some way because you believe in the value of music.  At some point in the past, music likely touched you in a personal way.

But, there are  many in our community, and beyond, who have not yet found the music – in a lasting, personal way.

  • They may never have sung a beautiful folk melody as part of  Music Together class.
  • They may never have had the experience of hearing a live performance of classical music with a 100 member orchestra on stage.
  • They may not have had access when growing up to music making opportunities.
  • Some may never have considered why learning to play an instrument can be valuable as well as enjoyable.
  • Some do not have the resources to buy an instrument and invest in lessons.
  • And, many, understandably, do not know what they are missing.

TODAY we are fortunate in Massachusetts and Worcester to have civic leaders  who get “IT”.

  • They get that music is THE only activity that engages the entire brain.
  • They get that the research shows that youth involved in the arts not only find positive outlets for self-expression, but then those same young people are more likely to become socially and civically engaged throughout life.
  • They get that when you remain engaged in arts activities later in life, you are healthier – and that saves money in terms of the health care system.
  • And, perhaps most importantly, those same leaders, understand that the arts simply bring value to life, regardless of all the side benefits.

This weekend, I am really exicted to share that Pakachoag is the beneficiary of these leaders who get “it”.  We’ve been selected by Greater Worcester Community Foundation, in partnership with Boston’s Barr Foundation, to receive $50,000.    We are one of five Worcester non profits receiving a Creative Community Engagement grant for the coming year.  We anticipate working for two years, even three, to fulfill all of our goals connected to this grant award.

The over riding goal of the of the GWCF Creative Engagement program  through these grants is to elevate the arts and expand creative community engagement.

Our Pakachoag grant goals will be focused on:

  • Building organizational diversity;
  • strengthening capacity; and
  • engaging more dynamically with the Worcester community.

AND THAT is why YOUR participation this weekend – and throughout the year – is so important.  We cannot do this important work without you.

Thank you harmony fund donors and our On The Move donors:  Your gifts sustain the school and make every note we hear sung or played in our studios, performance classes and recitals possible.

Thank YOU – students and families.  You are a critical piece of the future.  As we work to grow, we need you to continue to make music, for yourself, and for the larger community.  As we welcome new families into the school and work to create more diversity, you set the stage for showing others what is possible.  When we share our music and learn together, that is when we create the greatest impact as a creative COMMUNITY, setting the stage for others who have yet to discover the huge powerful impact of music and the arts.

We thank Greater Worcester Community Foundation, in partnership with the Barr Foundation, for investing in arts, Worcester and Pakachoag with this special award to support engagement and capacity building.

Learn more about the  Greater Worcester Community Foundation’ partnership wit Barr here.

Learn more about the Barr’s Foundation investment in arts & culture here.

Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19

2:00 pm and 4:00 pm

Pakachoag Music School
The Sanctuary at All Saints
10 Irving Street, Worcester  01609

60 students will play throughout the weekend in four different recitals. All ages, all levels from all around Central Mass. This is our end of year celebration recognizing hard work and growth.

Each program will last roughly one hour.  We’ll also be acknowledging five and ten year milestones; and graduates.

Recitals are generally best suited for children aged 8 and up (but depends a bit on each child’s comfort in sitting and listening).

Parking available in back lot at All Saints, at WPS Durkin Admin Building next door on Irving Street, as well as on-street. If you have a disability, please call ahead to review logistics.