As a nonprofit, CMS is fortunate to receive regular donations of previously loved sheet music* and instruments. In December, our newest voice and piano teacher, Evan Nelson, took on the enormous task of sorting our most recent sheet music donations and re-organizing our music library.  We then made any  extra sheet music freely available to CMS students, faculty, and friends.  We are pleased to report that some of this sheet music has found a new home – 5,659-miles away, in Puerto Varas, Chile – in the Patagonia region of South America.   

Thanks to CMS Board of Directors member, Kathy Matthews, we were able to “pay it forward” to students of the COMBAS Conservatorio de Música y Bellas Artes del Sur with a donation of sheet music and music books. Executive Director Jeff Reed helped Kathy select some appropriate music and songbooks to donate to the school in Chile. Later in February, Kathy visited the COMBAS school as part of a hiking tour of the Patagonia region with Overseas Adventure Travel.  The tour company’s Grand Circle Foundation coordinates giving to the places where they travel and to the people who live there.  In addition to a suitcase full of our extra sheet music and CMS swag, Kathy and other members of the tour group also donated strings for various instruments, blank staff paper, and music stickers for the students of COMBAS.  The music books also came in handy during the lengthy bus journey as the musical members of the tour group entertained themselves with a variety of patriotic, folk, and gospel tunes, including the Village People  hit “YMCA.”

COMBAS Conservatorio de Música y Bellas Artes del Sur is a nonprofit music and art school, founded in 2018 by Jean Paul Harb, a prominent pianist, teacher, and orchestra director.  The school’s mission is to provide children from vulnerable sectors access to opportunities for individual development in the arts and music, with the goal of rescuing children and teenagers from an empty, disoriented, and deviant youth.  Similar to CMS, a large percentage of the students are on scholarships, funded by generous donors, where families pay what they can for lessons. The school has about 30 students and 9 music teachers in fiddle, viola, violin, double bass, guitar, piano, flute, recorder, percussion, and voice.  A renovated house, built in 1907, houses the School, and includes studios, a concert and dance auditorium, a cafeteria, and a visual arts room.  Funds raised through the Grand Circle Foundation on this trip will go to help improve the facilities. 

During Kathy’s visit, a young strings teacher entertained the tour group with a viola piece by his favorite composer, Mendelson.  This young man who grew up taking lessons at the school. He has now completed his advanced education in music, and recently became an instructor in the school. He said the greatest need of the students, other than instruments and facilities, is to have more opportunities to perform outside of the school so they can use the skills that they have worked so hard to learn.  They don’t have a community orchestra, so sometimes he and friends put on performances in the local park.  

Having served on the CMS Board of Directors since 2012, Kathy is a lifelong musician and a long-time supporter of CMS.  In college, she majored in bassoon, piano, and political science.  Now retired as Senior Director of Business Ethics & Compliance at PPL, she travels and enjoys musical pursuits, most recently with the ukulele.  We thank Kathy for sharing this opportunity for CMS to “pay it forward”!

*Because of space restrictions, we are no longer able to accept donations of sheet music and books.