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Faculty News

Faculty Enrichment Fund Awardee: Claire Allen

The Academy values the importance of our teacher’s professional development. The Faculty Enrichment Fund annually provides partial and full reimbursement for teachers to attend conferences, workshops, and teacher training sessions. Our violin teaching artist, Claire Allen, attended the American String Teachers Association and Suzuki Association of the Americas conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Claire writes:

“I am grateful to be a recipient of the MCAA Faculty Enrichment Fund this year. The funds helped cover a portion of the conference registration fees for the first ever co-located American String Teachers Association and Suzuki Association of the Americas conference in Louisville, Kentucky! I had a fantastic time at the conference and got to learn from so many incredible teachers from throughout the Americas. I attended sessions on left hand technique, building community within a private studio, teaching music theory in group classes, and strategies to support neurodivergent learners – just to name a few!

I also presented my own session, titled “Creating A Diverse Repertoire Sequence for Intermediate Violinists,” which shared suggestions and strategies for working with students at this level to create a personalized selection of repertoire from composers outside of the stereotypical dead European white men that we so often focus on in the classical music world. And finally, I was incredibly honored to be recognized as a Distinguished Young Teacher by the Suzuki Association of the Americas, and was thrilled to receive this award alongside the other recipients at the opening keynote session. Attending the conference was affirming, educational, and inspirational, and I know that the connections I formed and teaching tips I learned will fuel me for the rest of my career. Thank you for the support in attending this event!”

Categories
Announcements

Virginia House Of Delegates Honors MCAA & AFYP

This week, Delegate Kathy Tran presented our Executive Director Mary Lechter with House Resolution 804, in honor of Acting for Young People’s 25th anniversary in 2022. Co-signed by Delegate David Bulova and unanimously approved by the entire House of Delegates, the Resolution highlights AFYP’s long history in the surrounding community, and the even greater impact these programs have had, made possible in collaboration with Mason Community Arts Academy.

“I’m truly humbled by this honor.” notes Ms. Lechter. “This recognition is especially meaningful, as we have had the opportunity to work with children from both the Tran and Bulova families in our Acting and Music programs over the years. Perhaps most important of all is the feedback Delegate Tran shared in person, and includes in the Resolution itself, commending our staff and faculty for the authentic experiences they provide for our students. It has always been my goal to provide a warm, welcoming, and inclusive environment in which students can learn and grow. I am touched that we’ve been acknowledged for this core value of our programs.”

We look forward to providing quality arts education to the community for the next 25 years and beyond!

Written by Mary Lechter
Edited by Regina Schneider

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Piano Available

Piano Available to Good Home

A generous family from Stafford, VA recently contacted the Academy about gifting their Story and Clark upright piano to a good home. If anyone is interested in accepting this gift, please contact us ASAP.

The piano is approximately 30 years old and is free of charge; however, the family requests the recipient to pay for the moving expense, which averages around $250-300 (when using a professional piano moving company) depending on the distance traveled, number of stairs involved, etc. Also, acoustic pianos usually require a tuning from a professional piano tuner after a move as well. 

If you think you have a need (and a space) for this piano, it’s a great opportunity to look into. We will handle this on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please email us at academy@gmu.edu  (no phone calls please) and put “Piano Available to Good Home” in the subject (or simply Reply to the Newsletter email). A recipient will be matched as soon as possible.

Please note that these opportunities typically come up several times throughout the year, so keep checking the Academy Newsletter!

Categories
Piano Available

Piano Available to Good Home

A generous family from Alexandria, VA recently contacted the Academy about gifting their Wurlitzer upright piano to a good home. If anyone is interested in accepting this gift, please contact us ASAP. The family is moving in mid-March, so they are hoping to find a recipient as soon as possible.

The piano is approximately 65 years old and is free of charge; however, the family requests the recipient to pay for the moving expense, which averages around $250-300 (when using a professional piano moving company) depending on the distance traveled, number of stairs involved, etc. Also, acoustic pianos usually require a tuning from a professional piano tuner after a move as well. 

If you think you have a need (and a space) for this piano, it’s a great opportunity to look into. We will handle this on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please email us at academy@gmu.edu  (no phone calls please) and put “Piano Available to Good Home” in the subject (or simply Reply to the Newsletter email). A recipient will be matched as soon as possible.

Please note that these opportunities typically come up several times throughout the year, so keep checking the Academy Newsletter!

Categories
Community Outreach Instruments in the Attic

MCAA Congratulates GRAMMY Award winner and Instruments in the Attic Recipient Annie Ray

Throughout its existence, Mason Community Arts Academy’s Instruments in the Attic (IiA) Program has had the pleasure of providing recycled instruments to teachers and students in Northern Virginia, the DMV, as well as throughout the United States and abroad, in addition to serving our local community here. Our goal is always to get our inventory into the hands of those that need it, and thanks to the generosity of donors, we are able to continuously fulfill our mission and provide teachers with the instruments and supplies they need to create a lasting impact through music education. As a result, we have been fortunate to connect and develop lasting relationships with incredible and inspiring teachers in our local community and beyond.

Two of IiA’s main supporters are Jenna and Jason Day, of Day Violins. Their immense generosity, tireless dedication to our program and its mission, and unending willingness to volunteer their time makes all of IiA’s string instrument loans possible. They are a critical piece of IiA’s impact and existence, and their connection to the community both locally and afar has allowed our program to broaden its reach and strengthen its influence.

In 2022, Jenna Day connected Annie Ray (Annandale High School Orchestra Director and Performing Arts Chair) with IiA after learning that her program’s need of instruments was hindering the aspirations and goals she had for her students. Ray had goals of starting the Crescendo Orchestra for students with severe developmental and intellectual disabilities. Her goal was to teach these students how to play an instrument with one-on-one instruction tailored to their needs, and she was seeking the inventory to be able to make it happen.

There are people that come into your life that touch your heart instantly and so deeply that you are a better person forever. Annie Ray’s positive attitude and ability to always see the potential in others has motivated me to reach deeper and further into the community to bless lives with IIA instruments. Through my involvement with the Crescendo Orchestra, I have been reminded that music is the universal language, one we can all speak.

Jenna Day, describing Annie Ray

The Crescendo Orchestra is among Annie Ray’s many accomplishments and endeavors through which she changes her students’ lives for the better. On February 3, 2024, Ray was presented with the 2024 GRAMMY Music Educator Award. Annie Ray was selected as the GRAMMY winner out of more than 2,000 initial nominees and was honored in Los Angeles as a part of GRAMMY Week.

I am honored to have received this award on behalf of the students of Annandale, Crescendo, and Parent Orchestras who every day teach me so much more than I will ever teach them. This award belongs not to me, but the community of musicians, teachers, and supporting organizations that make our program what it is. Thank you especially to Instruments in the Attic for supplying the instruments to Crescendo Orchestra that give our students access to music making. I encourage directors to look into the resources of United Sound, Giving Bach, String Rise, and other organizations so every student can have the opportunity to be a part of our ensembles.

Annie Ray

Mason Community Arts Academy and Instruments in the Attic extend our sincerest congratulations to Annie Ray and her students on this incredible accomplishment. We are fortunate to have educators like Ms. Ray in our community and look forward to continued collaboration. 

Written by Dr. Samantha Clarke
Edited by Regina Schneider