COVID-19 Notice

SAM offers sanitized, socially-distanced 1 on 1 classes as well as online lessons. Please inquire for further information.

We are raising funds to provide scholarships up to 100% of the cost of lessons.


Michiana’s Musical Connection

SAM Wants You: Volunteer!

SAM has big plans for its instructional program, for performances, for fundraising. To make those plans reality, we need all the help we can get. If you love music, if you’re looking for volunteer opportunities where you can make a difference, join our dedicated group of volunteers.

Two Simple, Painless Ways to Donate to SAM

Just a few clicks, and you can donate part of the purchase price of items from Amazon and from a local grocery store to SAM. Signing up is simple, it costs you nothing and the benefits go towards helping SAM meet its commitments to music education and bringing fine music to its communities.

Offering Individual Instruction for

Offering Individual Instruction for

About the School of American Music

The School of American Music (SAM) offers quality, one-on-one instruction in instrumental music, voice, and music theory and composition, delivered by experienced teachers who are also performers. From a single student in April 2012, SAM has grown to serve more than 100 students per year. Most lessons are available at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels, and offered to both children and adults.

Every effort is made to keep lessons at SAM affordable. Because it is a not-for-profit corporation, SAM isn’t under pressure to make money. Many of the funds it raises—through benefit performances, grants and contributions—are returned to students in the form of scholarships.

Private lessons take place in studios on the second floor of the Three Oaks, Mich. library, 3 North Elm Street in Three Oaks. Group lessons and other activities, such as the Harbor Country Singers, are offered at SAM’s Arts & Education facility at 14 Maple Street, Three Oaks. The A&E Center also houses SAM’s recording studio and is home to its pre-school programs.

SAM regards performance as a key part of musical instruction, and holds twice-yearly recitals featuring its students and teachers. Because its students, faculty and participants in associated activities represent a huge pool of musical talent, SAM-based musicians are frequently asked to perform in concerts, benefits, sing-alongs and other musical events in the area it serves.

Some Of Our Recent Activities

It’s been a busy September for SAM. An outdoor sing-along featuring folk music and sponsored by the Harbor Country Singers drew a record crowd. A benefit concert starring SAM students, faculty and guests raised a substantial sum for the school’s Endowment Fund, a 10-year drive to build a fund that will ensure the school’s continuation and get it through unexpected demands on its finances. Finally, Jamileh Cornejo, a promising young vocalist and SAM voice student, performed at the Converge Community Church in New Buffalo.


Who We Are

Board of Directors

Arthur Anderson, Secretary
John P. Balich, A&E Caretaker
Philip Bauman
Robert Blake
Thomas Flint
Priscilla Lee Hellenga
William Korbel, Treasurer
Robert R. Mueller, Vice President
Pat Putnam
Ron Spears
D. Garth Taylor, President
Ryan Van Plew-Cid
Brendan Wagner


Donna M. Mitchell, Executive Director
Priscilla Lee Hellenga, Director of Event Planning


Our mission is to provide education, performance, and audience opportunities in music and the related arts in the Southwest Michigan area.

Future Fund Underwriters

Judith & Robert Dryden
Greg Fine
Graham Tree Services
Bill McCollum
Jim McDaniel & Kevin Hochberg
Susan Phelan
Ron Spears
Sue Taylor
Allen Turner




Offer programs only when there are highly qualified people to lead them.


Operate a community institution based on transparency, fairness and openness to all in participation and governance.


Ensure financial security and the ability to continue to provide programs.


Keep fees low and provide scholarships when needed.



Support Local artists and teachers. They are vital to our quality of life.


To support the arts in the Michiana Region

Volunteer at SAM

The School of American Music is always looking for folks who want to be involved in the day-to-day operations of SAM or in special projects we have planned throughout the year. Perhaps you have a special skill or talent you want to share. Maybe you are very organized and looking for ways to improve the world around you. If you’d like to help out, send us an email with your name, address, phone number and email address, and let us know a little about what kind of volunteering you’re interested in. One of us will give you a call to see what we can do together.


Copyright © 2016 - 2020 School of American Music  | Site Developed and Maintained by  Maestro Creative LLC