In the late 90's the Wolfeboro Friends of Music’s school outreach program was launched by bringing Daniel Heifetz and "The Classical Band" to Wolfeboro. In its most esoteric form, the thesis of the effort was that music plays a vital role in the culture of a community and to ensure the future vitality of the music presenter organization it is necessary to create and recreate audiences for the musical arts among people of all ages. In its simplest form, exposing the young people of our schools to quality music performances seemed like a good idea and was a part of the mission of the organization.
That first visit in 2000 by the Heifetz group was, of course, history making. First, it was extremely successful (nearly 3000 kids were transported to the high school auditorium and treated to concert performances over 4 days), our public concert audience swelled as kids insisted that their parents come and bring them again, at least a handful of young people were motivated to join the string music program that had coincidentally just been started at Carpenter School and finally, it introduced Dan Heifetz to Wolfeboro and he soon moved his summertime Heifetz International Music Institute from Maryland to Wolfeboro.
The Heifetz appearance had been planned in cooperation with the school administration and its successful execution gave credibility to the Wolfeboro Friends of Music as "Friends of the Schools" as Superintendent Jack Robertson later said. The school system remains enthusiastic about subsequent artists being brought in for performances and brief residencies in conjunction with the WFOM annual concert series. Further, a school music teacher, Jill Daley-Gibson, was supported by the administration to become a member of the WFOM Board of Directors. This greatly helped to facilitate communication, scheduling, programming, etc. for this annual outreach program.
Following the outreach debut with Heifetz, the Wolfeboro Friends of Music has expanded its outreach programs to area students. Performances are offered to students in instrumental ensembles, choral ensembles and solo artists. In addition to performances, workshops have been offered directly working with students. The outreach program is still developing and thru the William H. Gibson fund more opportunities will be made available to students. A variety of performances, workshops and presentations have been made for the students in the GWRSD school community. Students that are home schooled as well as Brewster Academy students are included in the presentations. Depending on the performer, appropriate grade level tailored performances are held for certain students.
Performances have included: the Festival of Four, classical guitar and flute, Rhythm and Brass, Indiana University “Singing Hoosiers and Pieces of Eight an a cappela group.
Specific programs for elementary school children have included: Calico Winds, Wood Wind quintet, Fireside Winds, and Chapman Nyaho a concert pianist. In some cases, the artist traveled to area elementary schools.
Specific programs for middle and high school students include: Plymouth State University Chamber singers joint concert with the High School vocal ensemble, Chic Streetman performances and workshops with Middle School students, Richard Stoltzman master class for 7-12th grade district music students and workshops with his son, Peter, to high school students and Brewster Academy students.
The education outreach program is an important part of the WFOM annual program. The community has been particularly supportive with the school administration, Gov. Wentworth Arts Council, supporting grants and individual donations added to what WFOM has included in our budget through the William H. Gibson Fund.
Another element of the school outreach program is the awards program which is two-fold and supported through funding from the William H. Gibson fund. The WFOM Annual Awards are given to students identified by their teachers as outstanding contributors to the music programs at their individual schools at the eighth grade level and senior level. Eighth graders receive concert tickets for the following WFOM season and the high school seniors receive $500 cash awards. In addition, each fall awards of $500 are made to four students for music lessons, for buying musical instruments or for tuition to summer music camps.