2020 was expected to be a break-out year for CMS, with a growing number of students, group classes, outreach programs, volunteer projects, and events. We had a lovely Faculty-Student Recital on March 1, which included the debut of our vibraphone and performances by our Big Band and Modern Band groups. At the beginning of March, we were looking forward to presenting our Women in Music recital-lecture series, followed by several other events: our annual Spring Brunch, Piano Achievement Evaluations, Gala Auditions and Recital, Year-End Recital, and summer programs. Then, on Friday, March 13, 2020, with Covid-19 cases spiraling across PA, the Governor mandated that all K-12 schools close for two weeks. CMS pivoted to online lessons, beginning immediately, on Monday, March 16. Thanks to the dedication of our students and faculty, since March 16, CMS has completed over 5,137 online lessons, 116 new student interview lessons, and five virtual recitals, with a total of 78 students participating (Spring, Year-End, Summerfest, Monster Concert, and the Holiday Recital). Kudos to Alex H., ukulele; Drew B., piano; Isel M., piano; Logan R., ukulele; and Nora H., ukulele; these students performed in all five virtual recitals in 2020. We applaud their dedication and thank their teachers, Cliff Tracy, ukulele, and Carole Houghton, piano.
While the CMS building has been closed, the administrative staff has been very busy “behind the scenes” maintaining the property, launching several projects, including a new CMS “swag sale” with an original imprint designed by student Savannah C., and preparing for the eventual reopening of the building. Since March, we have introduced a new donor management platform, launched a completely redesigned and mobile-optimized website at cmslv.org, and developed updated strategic objectives through our Strategic Direction Task Force. The staff also continues to work closely with TeacherZone to improve our students’ experience related to scheduling, payments, and online learning. In 2020, we welcomed four new teachers: Joe Wagner, guitar; David Fahim, piano; Sunny Murthy, violin; and Jonathan Leeds, clarinet. We also sent our best wishes for a happy retirement to Dr. Richard Metzger, guitar, and Jon Maury, drums.
At the CMS building, we have safely completed or begun a number of improvement projects, including the installation of our new donor wall in the lobby, an overhaul of the HVAC systems and installation of a UV light filtration system, and enhanced soundproofing in the studios. We thank former CMS student Sammi Ciommo and West Park neighbor volunteer Ellen Roberts for helping maintain our native plant garden and keeping the inevitable weeds under control.
Thanks to support from multiple foundations and other generous donors, CMS was able to complete these projects, sustain our operations, and provide additional financial aid to student families that were adversely impacted by Covid-19-related job losses and financial stress. CMS applied for and received a small, potentially forgivable loan through the Federal Paycheck Protection Program. The School also applied for and received a Covid-19 County Relief Block Grant from Lehigh County. We are grateful for this unprecedented level of support amid the pandemic, and we thank everyone who helped to keep the music alive at CMS in 2020!
In 2021, CMS will continue to expand virtual opportunities for quality music education and performances, both for our students and for our community. Check our events page for information on our upcoming virtual Women in Music Recital-Lecture Series, Faculty-Student Recital, Spring Brunch & Silent Auction, and more!
Following special IRS tax law changes made earlier in 2020, charitable donations of up to $300 that you make before December 31, 2020, may now be deductible, even if you do not itemize your deductions, when you file your 2020 taxes in 2021. Learn More…