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Rotary Club donation benefits senior music scholarships

This article first appeared in Harbor-Country News



THREE OAKS — The Rotary Club of Harbor Country has donated $2,000 to the School of American Music (SAM) for senior citizen scholarships.

SAM Founder Garth Taylor said there are quite a few retired music students at SAM, but “we know we can get more.”

“Many of them say they don’t want to take a scholarship because they don’t want to take money away from kids,” he said. “We have senior students who are taking voice, piano, dulcimer, guitar, flute and violin.”

Taylor said the school currently has about 120 students – a number that has gone up as the scholarship program has been expanded. There also are about 10 instructors.“We have twice as many students on scholarship and we also increased the subsidy. About two-thirds of our students are on a 90-percent scholarship,” he said.

Rotarian Tom Flint said the Club raised funds several years ago for senior workout equipment at New Buffalo Township’s Memorial Park, had some money left over that had to be used for senior programming, and decided that SAM scholarships were a perfect match.

Taylor said The Pokagon Fund, TCU and other donors also have supported the school.

The Pokagon Fund recently made a $10,000 grant to support scholarships and free concerts.

“We are so grateful for the Fund’s commitment to our programming, as well as its dedication to helping us build a full continuum of opportunities for musical training and music appreciation in Michiana,” said Taylor. “I’d like personally to thank the Fund’s Executive Director, Dan Petersen, for his partnership.”

The School of American Music received its first grant from the Pokagon Fund in 2013, shortly after the school was founded in Three Oaks. Now, as it celebrates its tenth anniversary and launches the Future Fund endowment campaign, Pokagon will help propel SAM into its next decade.

“Even throughout the pandemic, SAM has been steadfast in its mission,” said Petersen. “Now, as we emerge from the pandemic, SAM is once again demonstrating its readiness to step up to foster music education and provide cultural, community-based programming that showcases local talent. SAM’s offerings have never been more relevant, and The Pokagon Fund is proud to support its efforts.”

Such support has allowed SAM to do more public programming (including the second annual American Music Festival scheduled for 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. July 24 – see the Community Notes section of this website for more).

Taylor said a Some Enchanted Evening fund-raiser show will take place on the last Saturday in September.

Also planned is a 7 p.m. Friday, July 30, concert, on the Spring Creek Stage at the School of American Music’s Arts & Education Center, 14 Maple St., featuring the Dale Prasco Trio. Local jazz vocalist Livia Gazzolo, will open the show accompanied by Matt Berger on guitar.

“Rarely does Three Oaks have the opportunity to hear a trio of this caliber,” said Ron Spears, organizer and underwriter of the event. “This is a jazz concert you don’t want to miss.”

The School of American Music offers quality, one-on-one instruction in instrumental music, voice, and music theory and composition, delivered by experienced teachers who are also performers. The School’s mission is to provide opportunities for area residents and visitors to participate in the arts and educational programs. For more, visit the School of American Music online or call (269) 409-1191.

Arthur Anderson at the piano
Donna Mitchell teaching ukulele

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