The idea of Midcoast Music Academy was born on the back of a lobster boat in the fall of 2011. My husband, Tom Ulichny, and I were living on Matinicus Island at the time; I was serving as a senior education fellow in the Island Institute’s Fellows Program, and Tom was a sternman with a big dream but no start-up capital. He had graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2005 and dreamt of founding a community music school that would provide music lessons to any committed student regardless of their financial constraints. He came home from an especially grueling day on the boat with the initial beginnings of plan: a name for the school, a clear mission, and an unshakable belief that this leap represented his life’s work and deepest calling. In January 2012, we rented a small room on Main Street, furnished the studio with one desk and his collection of world instruments, and welcomed our first students.
Six years later, the studio has now grown into a full-fledged school with 150 students, a robust scholarship program, and a team of faculty of the highest caliber. The school promotes public appreciation of music through instruction, community programs, and performances, and our classes include individual and group lessons, camps, and workshops that range in focus from rock, blues, digital music, jazz, world music, and classical. All of our classes and programs combine the fundamentals of music – theory, notation, and ear training – with a contemporary approach to learning. Thanks to a $50,000 Community Development Block Grant awarded to the school in the fall of 2015, Midcoast Music Academy was able to expand further: we now offer instruction on over a dozen instruments to students of all ages and skill levels in a fun, relaxed, and creative environment. In addition, we have given over 60 scholarship awards totaling approximately $50,000 to committed midcoast students. The majority of support for our scholarship program has come from small individual gifts from over 200 donors, most of whom are members of the immediate midcoast community.
The next phase of the school’s growth has been carefully mapped out by our committed board: we have submitted our application for nonprofit status, formed a development committee, and are planning an expansion of our school and community-wide program offerings. We invite you to learn more about Midcoast Music Academy by attending our open house (see attached flyer) and to support our work by donating to our first annual appeal. Seventy percent of Midcoast Music Academy’s annual operating budget is covered by our tuition and program revenue, and as a grassroots organization we know how to make every dollar count.
We have seen the transformational power of music, and we are deeply appreciative of the community that has coalesced around the school over the last six years. With your support, we look forward to serving the community for many years to come.