Fredericksburg Music Academy Joins Forces with Fredericksburg Music Club
FMC latest venture
Fredericksburg Music Academy continues to deliver high quality education for children in Gillespie County and has been since it’s beginning in the fall of 2007. The music academy is a vision of Don Doss that has become a reality through dedication and perseverance of himself and the personnel who serve this music ministry of the United Methodist Church. The idea began as an expansion of a regular children’s choir program to include more extensive musical training in theory, singing and instrumental performance but has now included string classes in association with the Hill Country Youth Orchestra program in Kerrville.
This year the music education program currently has 21 children enrolled. It includes children from 1st through 6th grade who are taught by 4 primary instructors and another 7 adult leaders. There are approximately 20 – 25 hours of instruction in the fall semester and 25 – 30 hours of instruction in the spring semester. The class days for instruction are currently on Wednesday afternoons after school. Children from public, private, and home schools in the area are invited to enroll in the KMA classes which are provided at a nominal cost.
Funding is needed for the extensive string instruction and is always something that takes many hours of time and effort. Many church members are supporting the cost of the lessons so student’s families can afford normally expensive instruction for their children. This year a gift has come from an organization that has been bringing classical music to Fredericksburg for over 77 years. The Fredericksburg Music Club heard about our program and offered to help.
Mark Eckhardt, the President of the Fredericksburg Music Club explained, “Over the years we have been getting an increasing number of grants which are earmarked with an education focus. After considering many worthwhile options for areas we could use this money we have decided that the Kid’s Music Academy is an area where we would like to focus. Research indicates that the type of music young people hear influences what they will listen to later in life. I feel that the atmosphere created for learning at the Kid’s Music Academy is conducive to achieving many of our goals of education and appreciation of music for our younger generation.”
Since the location of the Music Club concerts has been at the Methodist Church and the KMA instructors have been somewhat connected with some of the performers, it was only a matter of time that the two groups would join forces. Eckhardt says, “We are hopeful that through this partnership the Fredericksburg Music Club will help make the program accessible to more children and that some of these children will become involved in our concerts by attending or even participating in our concerts.”
Don Doss, the Director of Music Ministries at the church, would like to model the example of the First Methodist Church in Kerrville which began the HCYO program in 1995. Since that time, sponsors and donors from the church and larger groups offering grants have established a program where every child is offered instruments and lessons at no cost. Since its beginning the HCYO has seen many graduates go on to college with full or substantial scholarships because of the church’s vision.
Doss says the Music Club gift will definitely let him focus more on the education part of the academy and begin to look ahead to offer other instrumental training through private instruction. Currently the violin classes are being taught by the Director of the HCYO program, Pat Lee. At this time there are 8 former KMA children that are playing in the HCYO in various ensembles.
As long as there are families that wish to find quality, fun musical training for their children, the church will continue to offer the Kid’s Music Academy. In future years KMA will continue to expand to offer private instruction in voice, piano, and band instruments along with maintaining its ties to the HCYO program.
Any parents interested in the KMA program are invited to visit the website and additional information at http://fredumc.org/KMA.htm or call Don Doss at the church, 977-7679.