Michiana’s Musical Connection


Michiana’s Musical Connection

SAM Wants You–Volunteer!

The School of American Music runs on volunteers. Whatever your talents, we can use your help–from staffing tables at events to producing concerts and recitals, there’s a place at SAM where you can make a difference in the local arts community.

‘Viola Virtuosity’ Theme of January Free Family Concert

SAM’s Free Family Concert on January 25 in New Buffalo will feature renowned violist Rudolf Haken and violinist/violist Kunito Nishitani. The concert is part of a collaboration between SAM and the Michigan City Chamber Music Festival. For free tickets, click on the Tickets and Merchandise tab on this website.

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

The Harbor Country Singers entertained audiences at the Episcopal Church of the Mediator in Harbert, Mich. and St. John Church in Three Oaks, Mich. during its fourth season of sacred Christmas music. For this year’s event, HCS Director Cindy Dryden supplemented the Singers with dance and instrumental performances, a children’s choir and a poety reading–a Christmas Collage.


Who We Are

Board of Directors

Arthur Anderson
John P. Balich, A&E Caretaker
Philip Bauman
Robert Blake
John Forbes
Stephanie Grider
Priscilla Lee Hellenga
William Korbel, Treasurer
Evan Margol
Robert R. Mueller, Vice President
Pat Putnam
Ron Spears
D. Garth Taylor, President


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.




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.


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