Joy of Music was founded in 1986 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 over 40 musicians, all dedicated to the art of teaching.
In June 2000, Joy of Music 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 JOMP 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 wonderful community support, succeeded in purchasing its own facility. Renovations started in April 2001. 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 collapsed 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 $143,133 in need-based scholarships to 133 students. This year’s fundraising goal for financial aid is $150,000.
* 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.”
Joy of Music received the 2005 Visions Award for Cultural Enrichment
* Rainbow Child Development Center ~ “…above and beyond in providing special opportunities…”
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, Frost (U. of Miami), 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), High Point and Syracuse Universities; UMass Amherst, UMass Lowell, and Universities of Akron, New Hampshire, the Pacific 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, Connecticut, Dartmouth, Hamilton, Holy Cross, Ithaca, Middlebury, Oberlin, Providence, Skidmore, Smith, St. Olaf, Swarthmore, Vassar and Wheaton Colleges; Brown, Clark, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, 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, Eastman Summer Jazz Studies, Killington Music Festival, Maine Jazz Camp, NEC Jazz Lab, New Hampshire and New York Summer Music Festivals, SMS at UNH, National Youth Orchestra of the USA (NYO2), Philadelphia International Music Camp & Festival, and Tanglewood Institute.
Current Outreach Programs:
* Chorus, Creative Movement and Drumming at JOMP for children from Rainbow
Child Development Center and Worcester Housing Authority’s Great Brook Valley
and the Boys and Girls Club’s after-school and summer programs.
* Elder Drumming at Notre Dame Du Lac Assisted Living led by Nan Gibbons.
* Burncoat Quadrant Initiative: Students from six elementary and Burncoat Middle
and Senior High Schools receive financial aid for lessons,ensembles and orchestra.
* Partnerships with Mentor Network, Devereux Massachusetts, Rise Above Foundation and Ascentria Care
Alliance providing private lessons for children and teens in foster care and for teen
and young adult unaccompanied refugees.
In addition to recitals at JOMP, students play at local festivals, corporate events, retirement communities, annual meetings and non-profit fundraising functions and other events, as well as many other community events and benefits. Faculty members perform in the school’s Faculty Concert Series and in the Worcester Public Schools each year through “Music-to-Go,” funded by the Music Guild of Music Worcester.