spread music. spread joy.
MCMA is committed to helping all students unlock their creative potential and express themselves through music, regardless of their ability to pay. Since the school was founded in January 2012, we have offered over 120 scholarship awards totaling $75,000 to committed students to pursue their music education. MCMA now raises $25,000 annually to support committed music students during our academic semester and summer programs. We are honored to recognize the following MCMA students, parents, and community members who have elected to raise a named scholarship in honor of a cause, person, or musical concept. Read on to learn more about the inspiration behind each of these special named scholarships.
The Dennis H. Lopez Memorial scholarship
Raised by Jen Feldman, MCMA parent and board member
Dennis H. Lopez was a poet, author, carpenter, journeyman, dog lover, beach bum, friend and, above all things, a musician. Den passed away suddenly this spring. “Love and help others” were his last words. I had been struggling with how best to honor my friend in a way that would be in line with his life and philosophy until the idea for a memorial scholarship was placed in my lap. I cannot think of a better way to honor the memory of this generous musician than by offering the opportunity to play, grow and learn to another student of the art. I cannot think of a school better suited to his gifts than Midcoast Music Academy.
Born in Reseda, California in the late 40s, Dennis moved to New York City as an adolescent, where he brought his love of surf music to his first young band, the Malibooz. He landed at Notre Dame in ‘65 where he fell in with Captain Electric and the Flying Lapels as their bass player. In the article “My Unwarranted Gift,” published in Notre Dame Magazine in 2010, Dennis wrote: “a minor record deal, writing, touring and recording — those years with Captain Electric and the Flying Lapels were an unforgettable experience. We didn’t witness the ’60s, we lived them. I’m proud of the progress we made down a hard road and grateful for God giving us a shot at the big time. Some chances come but once. Playing music has remained a faithful sidekick even today, some 40 years on.”
After years of music, travel and sharing living space with bandmates, Dennis wound up back on the East Coast. One day he got on the Block Island Ferry from Rhode Island and stayed for fifteen years, honing his skill as a carpenter and house builder and, of course, making music. He found his love Kathleen there, and they eventually made their way to Rockport.
In 2011, Dennis and I began playing together in a local dance band that became known as Sea Train. He passed on his “unwarranted gift” to all of us. He inspired faith in the music and trust in one another. He allowed us a cushion of friendly safety as we got to know one another on a deeper musical level and experimented with a type of freedom in playing that most of us had never been lucky enough to know. He reminded us what it meant to have fun making music - and did we ever!
Dennis was a killer bass player with an intensely sneaky groove that I miss. He could intuitively feel the group better than anyone I’ve ever played with. He practiced every day that I knew him, usually pulling along to his beloved Aimee Mann in his living room with the windows open. He had a bone-dry wit that cut through ego and nonsense. He loved the 5-string Alembic that he bought “by accident” in San Francisco, and that crazy low B that he’d drop at just the right moment.
In honor of my pal, the Dennis H. Lopez memorial scholarship will be offered to a young musician who is ready to work hard to improve her or his craft and who is inspired to experience the joyful give and take of making music with a group.
The Girls Rock! Scholarship
Raised by Vera Fine, MCMA Student, Age 17
For the second year in a row, Vera has committed to raising a named scholarship for young girl musicians. When Vera came up with the idea for this scholarship fund, she wrote us the following letter:
"MCMA has exceptionally talented instructors and an extremely supportive atmosphere, but what I find most outstanding about MCMA is their commitment to provide scholarships to music students who otherwise cannot afford music lessons. Each year, MCMA works very hard to raise money for their scholarship program so that all local talented musicians can have access to lessons.
The scholarship program is especially important to me because having spent my early years in an orphanage in Russia and then going on to be adopted and live in the US, I know what it means to be given an opportunity in life. The MCMA scholarship fund ensures that no local musically inclined student will be denied the opportunity to grow and develop their talent.
My goal is to raise money for an MCMA “Girls Rock!” scholarship. Being a girl drummer, I want to help interested girls to have access to music lessons and be inspired to find their voice and their talent. Music is a gift to us all, so please take a minute and donate whatever you can.
Please remember every penny counts. It’s nice to know you can help someone reach their dreams!
Thank you and rock on,
Vera Fine, age 17"
the 7/4 scholarship
raised by Ruben Feldman, MCMA student, Age 13
Ruben is raising this scholarship in honor of his favorite time signature, 7/4. To commemorate the fund, Ruben designed a logo.
In describing his scholarship, Ruben writes: "Every time I go to MCMA, I am greeted by awesome people who help me improve my playing, make me feel good about myself, and have a ton of fun doing it. I get to play with other passionate musicians and learn from them, and perform live in different venues in the Rockland area. I am truly grateful for this, and am raising this scholarship so that others can have the chance to improve their skills and expand their musical community. The 7/4 scholarship is especially for groovin’ rhythm players who are ready to lay down the beats!"
the andy reitz scholarship
Raised by BARBARA REITZ, MCMA board member
Midcoast Music Academy embodies the best of music education. In an atmosphere of safety and fun, lessons inspire discipline, risk taking, and teamwork. We are funding this scholarship because Midcoast Music Academy provides just what music education has been to our family: joyful, collaborative, and enlightening.
Andy showed us very early that he could hear more than we could. At age 5 he started lessons in percussion at the Rivers Music School in Weston, Massachusetts, continued to 18 and then went on to summer sessions at the Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory. In addition to developing his consuming passion in music, he acquired new skills, which led to his business start-up and success as an entrepreneur.
Quality music education is a life-long blessing. Midcoast Music Academy never turns away a committed student for lack of funds – a philosophy we are honored to support.
Gary clancy memorial fund
Gary was born in Troy, New York on November 12, 1951. As a young musician in the 60s and early 70s, Gary had an illustrious career touring the east coast, sharing the stage with or opening for many renowned national acts (garyclancy.wixsite.com/gary-clancy/old-skool-
Gary became the owner/music director of the “Dr. Music” program from June 1985 until June 2004, bringing music students to a higher level of playing and education. From June 1985 until 2013 Gary was a music educator/private instructor teaching a variety of instruments and music related topics at Northern Kingdom Music.
As owner of FNA Recording productions and Rosewood Recording Studio from July 1988 to October 2000 in Bremen, Maine, Gary created and produced a variety of multimedia recordings for TV, radio, film, and CD release. He also served as an adjunct professor of jazz and contemporary music at University of Maine in Augusta and Rockland starting in 1987, teaching the music business curriculum, guitar, bass and ensembles.
Shortly after Midcoast Music Academy was founded in 2012, founder Tom Ulichny received a phone call from an unknown number. On the other end of the line was Gary- a lifelong musician and UMaine faculty member in the music department who cut his teeth touring and gigging, recording, producing, writing, and teaching music. He had run across an ad Tom had placed seeking students and faculty members for a new, contemporary music school in Rockland. He was curious about this new school and wanted to meet Tom.
Upon entering Midcoast Music Academy for the first time, Gary looked around at the small, 400-square foot studio that had one waiting room, one lesson room, and a handful of instruments scattered about to help fill in the corners- and he simply grinned.
Tom and Gary spoke about educational philosophy, swapped stories from the road, shared a few laughs about the good old days of how music used to be. Almost immediately, they agreed about how imperative it is to create a safe and welcoming environment so that any student could realize their potential to explore, create, fail in order to succeed, and in all ways embrace and communicate through the world's universal language, which is music. On a handshake, Midcoast Music Academy truly started that day with its first faculty member.
Gary Clancy loved MCMA from the first day he walked through the door. He believed in Tom during moments of doubt and stress, tears and desperation. Gary poured such love and unwavering support into the crazy idea to start a school from scratch with nothing else but heart and belief.
Reflections from some of Gary’s students may best tell the story of a life well lived:
“It is with a heavy heart that I learn about the passing of a man who transformed my life.” “He ignited a lifelong passion for the guitar and music in general.” “I’m not sure you ever knew the gravity of the true impact you’ve had on others.” “Musical Mentors are more than teachers... They are planters of seeds that will bear the fruit of their musical legacy long after they leave us...” “One of the greatest men to ever touch my life. And it didn’t matter where you fell on the musical knowledge scale Gary never made you feel inferior.” “Gary taught me that sometimes as in life the wrong notes are the right choices to get to where you want to be.” “He pushed my creativity instead of my technicality. I will always hold my time with him close to my heart.” “He ushered in countless non-traditional musicians into the UMA music program with grace, patience and wisdom. He was able to gently push us to expand our boundaries.” “Inclusive of everyone at all levels. An amazing teacher and beautiful human being.”
Gary Clancy will be missed. His music is in the air, his lessons are in the walls.
As a founding faculty member of Midcoast Music Academy, Gary’s passion for music and education will live on through the Gary Clancy Memorial Scholarship Fund. This will help fulfill the mission of allowing any dedicated student to study music regardless of financial constraint.
Midcoast Music Academy admits students of any race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities, generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school administered programs.