Mission & Impact

Pakachoag Music School is dedicated to nurturing musical journeys that cultivate the imagination, inspire creativity and develop artistry.

Welcome to Pakachoag Music School of Greater Worcester!

December 2020

Our Annual Report is now available for the 2019-2020 School Year.  Learn how we are making a difference for student and community, with the generous support of donors and grantors.  We appreciate your investment in Pakachoag Music School.

2019-2020 Annual Report


As we find ourselves smack in the middle of a pandemic – contemplated over the decades as a likely occurrence, but something for which we could not fully be prepared — we are challenged to teach and create in new ways.  2020 has also demanded that we question ‘why’.  ‘Why Music?’ during a time where so many are needing support for food, housing, jobs and healthcare?  Finding ways to make sure all have access to basic necessities is of course crucial to what it means to live in the United States, as part of a society which values freedom and democracy.

But at the same time, many I talk to in the course of my work are reminding me that we need music and the arts as part of life.  Not for just one part of life, but for all of life.  We need music  for comfort, for calm, for respite, sometimes distraction.  We know that music provides skills for success; but we have been reminded during the year (or will it be 2?) of COVID-19 that music also supports our mental health —even if or when we don’t realize that up front.

When I play (aka practice) my flute (I’ve been doing more of that recently), I am filled with happiness.  I am always reminded of the teachers in my own life who made music possible, for me.

So this year of COVID-19, we continue our work at Pakachoag to share our love of music – whether in-person or remotely.  We continue to make Music for Life!  We hope you’ll join us in making music part of your life.

Sincerely, Sarah

Sarah Smongeski
Executive Director (and flute teacher)

Making Music for Life!

We challenge students to

  • Stretch for high standards
  • Take risks
  • Recover from mistakes
  • Gain confidence to succeed

… In music and in life.

Pakachoag Music School of Greater Worcester does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national or ethnic origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. 


Annually, our programs serve over 400 students from throughout Greater Worcester, resulting in over 3,500 hours of instruction.  However, the impact of music is less about numbers and more about life-long learning.  

Annual Impact:  The Year in Review

The impact of music at Pakachoag lasts a lifetime.  Read in our annual report how we are making a difference in the lives of community, students and families.

Coming in Fall 2020:  FY20 Annual Report – posted above.

Pakachoag Annual Report FY19

Pakachoag Annual Report FY18

Annual Report FY17 web here.

Annual Report FY2016 here.

Impact Through Student Reach

Pakachoag offers private lessons at our primary home in Worcester; also in West Boylston.  Music Together classes are brought closer to home for young families west of Worcester via Sturbridge classes; to the south in Auburn; and north of Worcester via Sterling classes.

Average weekly attendance: 250
Students Enrolled (both tuition based and outreach):  Full Year: 450 +

We attract students and families from over 35 cities and towns.

  • No. 1: Worcester 21%
  • No. 2: Auburn 19%
  • Other: (35+ communities) 60%

Impact Through Student Growth

Each year, roughly 30 students are invited to perform out in the community.
A few highlights of how we’re impacting community with music:

  • Students play at local nursing homes
  • Pakachoag cellist and pianist selected to solo with Worcester Youth Orchestras
  • Flute and trumpet students win prizes in Music Worcester competition
  • 15 plus violinists invited to perform at New England Conservatory as part of the Mass. Suzuki Association Festival

…with a variety of performances at Mechanics Hall, Hanover Theater, Tuckerman Hall, First Night Worcester, civic functions, senior centers and retirement homes.

Alumni Stand Out

The lasting impact of music can be seen in the lives of alumni.  Through discipline, hard work, sustained commitment, and expert teachers to guide, Pakachoag alumni excel.  Our alumni span a wide range of professions and include:

  • Operatic soprano, winner of NEC concerto competition
  • Actress with guest role in nationally syndicated crime show and ads
  • Church music director, with CDs released
  • A Rhodes Scholar & Henry Luce Scholar
  • School Principal
  • Capital Police officer
  • Doctors and lawyers

Impact Through Access:  Financial Aid

Ensuring access to School programs is a core value for Pakachoag.  Over the past five years, we’ve awarded over $100,000 in tuition support for families in need, thanks to donor and grantor support.

Currently, 12% of Private Lesson students receive financial support (FY19) with a goal of reaching 24% sustained annual support in coming years.   The average annual award of $950 per student.

Outreach & Partnerships

Extending mission, reach, access and diversity

Afternoon Tunes at All Saints

Providing free music lessons, music and instruments for children of the Piedmont, Main Middle and Elm Park neighborhoods. Pakachoag serves as a lead partner.

Partners In Music

  • Worcester Children’s Chorus
  • Worcester Youth Orchestras
  • Pakachoag Music School

Partners In Music expands the mission and reach of each organization through selective, shared marketing and space use, along with collaborative performances.

Boys & Girls Club of Worcester

Pak@TheClub guitar classes with Michael Stubblefield, after-school, once-a-week.  For FY19, the program will run November to June.

Why is Mission Important?

An organization’s  mission provides focus for why we exist and what we do.  A mission is important when making decision’s for the future.  Mission can help shape direction, help one reflect on and assess effectiveness, and aids an organization in aligning varying points of view toward a shared outcome.

Here’s a good read around the role of mission in the life of a non-profit from the Stanford Social Innovation Review.