Music In Our Schools Month — Featuring Community Music School

At the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, we know that by working TOGETHER great things can be accomplished.  Every day, we see the impact that true partnerships have on our communities and on improving the quality of life in each and every town. Here we celebrate those people and organizations that embody the collaborative spirit, who reach out to share their passion and talents and embrace new initiatives. March is “Music In Our Schools” Month, an appropriate time to recognize our neighbors’ passion for music and the good work of one of our many partners, the Community Music School in Centerbrook.  .


The Power of Partnership and Music Therapy

Music therapy is beneficial to people of all ages with unique needs, and the greatest benefits and life-altering results may be achieved when it is used as an early intervention practice. It is for this reason the Community Foundation supports the Community Music School’s (CMS) work with area public schools to provide music education for a varied population of students, especially those with special needs and those of pre-school age.  CMS provides weekly classes at Essex Elementary School and John Winthrop Middle School as well as the Region 4 Collaborative Pre-School, a program that serves approximately fifty children from Essex, Deep River and Chester, some with disabilities and special educational needs.  This special collaboration between Region 4 Schools and CMS, with funding from the Community Foundation, other private foundations and individuals, is becoming a model approach to closing the gap between a community’s educational needs and its available public resources.


A Legacy of Music Education

Harold E. “Hap” Merrick and his wife, Paula, of Essex shared many things. Both were avid music lovers; both were Community Music School (CMS) Board of Trustee members; both wanted to ensure a sound future for the school and make certain that its great programs and collaborations continued for a very long time. The CMS Board of Trustees shared their vision of long term sustainability and sought a partner to help them fulfill the next step in the organization’s growth to honor Hap’s memory. The Community Foundation is pleased to be that partner. Thanks to the generous donations of Hap’s family, Paula, and numerous friends, the groundwork turned into the Hap Merrick Endowed Fund for Community Music School at the Community Foundation – a means of providing for the Community Music School today as well as in the future.


A Community of Giving

By working with the Community Foundation, CMS’ many collaborative initiatives, such as the Music Therapy Program, Kate’s Camp for Kids, and tuition-free awards for young musicians provided bi-annually through the Carolyn R. Greenleaf Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation, will go on and on and will help inspire music lovers everywhere. Partnerships do matter, making it possible for Good People To Do Great Things.

For more information about these and other programs supported by the Community Foundation of Middlesex County call 860-347-0025 or emailing us at


This article was previously published in March, 2015,  in both the Valley Courier and the Harbor News.


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