When the Community Music School was forced to close last fall because of financial troubles, supporters donated more than $100,000 to help.
The school, which offers affordable music and singing lessons for children, reopened in February but its future is uncertain. A recent fundraising campaign brought in enough to keep the school afloat until June, said Carol Holland, vice president of the school’s board of directors.
“I hesitate to say that we’ve made it, though we’re so blessed by the overwhelming support of the community,” Holland said. “We’re not out of the woods yet. We still need the community’s help.”
Since 1994, the Community Music School on Tucker Street in downtown Raleigh has given children ages 7 to 18 the opportunity to learn how to play musical instruments. For $1 per half-hour session, students learn the basics of guitar, harp, recording, song-writing and more.
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Jenine Johnson’s son, Kenyah, has taken violin lessons at the school for three years. She said Kenyah is a gifted musician and a member of the Raleigh Boy Choir, but music and singing lessons can be expensive.
“This isn’t something I would be able to afford on my own,” Johnson said. “It’s a huge blessing. Without the school, Kenyah wouldn’t be able to do it.”
When Johnson heard classes would be halted in October, “my heart just sank,” she said. When the school reopened, she and her son were overjoyed.
“The school has touched so many lives,” Johnson said. “They serve a purpose in the community. We are so thankful.”
The outpouring of support was “eye-opening,” Holland said. By mid-March, more than 200 people had donated to the fundraising campaign, which had surpassed its goal of $100,000.
Community Music School, a nonprofit, relies on grant funding and donations to cover its expenses and pay teachers.
“It really showed us how important the school is to the community,” Holland said, adding that most of the students returned in February.
The school’s board of directors is working on a plan for next year, which will include more fundraising. Donations are still being accepted online at www.cmsraleigh.org.
Holland attributed the school’s financial struggles partly to a lack of reserve funds.
“Right now, we’re working on re-envisioning to help better plan for the future,” Holland said. “We’ve got a real task ahead.”
Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; email@example.com