Joy of Music was founded 30 years ago by its current director as a program of music & movement classes for preschoolers. In 1989, JOMP was incorporated as a nonprofit community music school to meet the growing demand and raise funds for financial aid. The school has grown from its initial enrollment of 12 to over 500 students from infants to seniors with an outstanding faculty of 40 musicians, all dedicated to the art of teaching.
In June 2000, JOMP was seriously affected by the fire at the First Unitarian Church in Worcester, where it had been a tenant for 16 years. The school had to relocate, resulting in substantial loss of space. For 18 months the school faced the enormous challenge of continuing operations while spread out in three churches. In December 2000, the school embarked on its first capital campaign and, with generous community support, succeeded in purchasing its own facility. Renovations started in April 2001, and on January 3, 2002, the school opened in its new site. A vacant, rundown building is now a beautiful cultural resource for the greater Worcester community. From 2012 through 2016, the school’s second capital campaign succeeded in replacing a moribund storm water drainage system, paying off the mortgage and building the new 200-seat Joseph & Jordan Shapiro Concert Hall.
Our mission is “to enrich lives and foster community through accessible music education and performance.” Financial aid is key to this mission. Generous annual donations to our Financial Aid Program from individuals, foundations and corporations, as well as students who gather sponsors to raise funds for JOMPATHON, make it possible for us to devote 17% of our budget to financial aid. Last year we raised and awarded $140,780 in need-based scholarships to 130 students. This year’s fundraising goal for financial aid is $147,000.
- Catalogue for Philanthropy (1997 & 2006) ~ “ . . . a gem of a community school.”
- YWCA of Central Massachusetts ~ “ . . . a cultural treasure in the community.”
Director Wendy Ardizzone received the 2002 Katharine F. Erskine Award in Arts & Humanities.
- Worcester Telegram & Gazette ~ ". . . excellence and community spirit."
JOMP received the 2005 Visions Award for Cultural Enrichment
- Rainbow Child Development Center ~ “…above and beyond in providing … special opportunities…” 2008 “Pot O’ Gold” Award
On all four occasions, JOMP’s remarkable commitment to financial aid was recognized.
JOMP alumni majoring in music are accepted at some of the nation’s finest music schools, including Boston, New England, Oberlin, Peabody and San Fransisco Conservatories; Curtis Institute of Music; Eastman, Hartt, Ithaca, Juilliard, Longy, Manhattan, Moores (U. of Houston), Pappert (Duquesne), Schulich (McGill), Thornton (U.So.Cal) and University of Michigan Schools of Music; Berklee College of Music; Boston University College of Fine Arts; Dave Brubeck Institute of the U. of the Pacific; CALArts; New School of Jazz (NYC); New York, Northern Illinois, Plymouth State (NH), and Syracuse Universities; UMass Amherst, Universities of Akron, New Hampshire and Southern Maine.
Many JOMP alumni not majoring in music seek schools with strong music departments and actively continue their music as members of college orchestras, jazz ensembles, bands and choruses across the country, including Amherst, Barnard, Boston, Dartmouth, Holy Cross, Ithaca, Middlebury, Oberlin, Skidmore, Smith, St. Olaf, Swarthmore, Vassar and Wheaton Colleges; Brown, Clark, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, High Point, McGill, New York, Northeastern, Notre Dame, Stanford, Tufts and Yale Universities; the Universities of Chicago, Connecticut, Maine, Richmond, Vermont and Virginia; and WPI.
Our students are also being accepted by first-rate summer programs, including Amherst Early Music Festival, Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music (NH), Eastman Summer Jazz Studies, Killington Music Festival (VT), Maine Jazz Camp, NEC Jazz Lab, New Hampshire and New York Summer Music Festivals, and Tanglewood Institute.
Current and Recent Outreach Programs
- Chorus, Creative Movement and Drumming at JOMP for children in Worcester
Housing Authority’s Great Brook Valley after-school and summer programs.
- Elder Drumming at Notre Dame du Lac Assisted Living led by Nan Gibbons.
- Burncoat Quadrant Initiative, in its eighth year, strengthens and supports public
school music programs in JOMP’s neighborhood. Students from six elementary and
Burncoat Middle and Senior High Schools receive need-based financial aid for
private lessons, ensembles and orchestra.
Last year, faculty and students presented 80 performances, reaching a combined audience of over 15,000. In addition to recitals at JOMP, students play at local festivals, First Night Worcester, corporate events, retirement communities, annual meetings and other non-profit functions, as well as many other community events and benefits. Faculty members perform in the school’s Faculty Concert Series and in 8 - 10 Worcester Public Schools each year through “Music-to-Go,” funded by the Music Guild of Music Worcester.