School News

We’re Preparing to Celebrate 40 Years of Community Music-Making!

We’re excited to announce that Catherine Z. Collins is our 40th Gala Honorary Chairperson.

Melanie Donegan of Worcester is our Gala Committee Chair.

Please join us in celebrating 40 years of high quality music learning and enrichment—for community, family and students of every age.

  • Saturday, September 17, 2022
  • 6:00 PM
  • Tuckerman Hall

Watch for more information coming soon regarding the celebration.

Participation Options

If you would like to join the Gala Committee, our planning and execution team, please email Melanie Donegan at: MDonegan16@gmail.com.

  • Advertising choices range from $100 to $500.
  • If you are looking for bigger impact, we also have sponsorship opportunities available, starting at $1,000.  Please email Sarah@pakmusic.org for more information.
  • Tickets On Sale starting March 1st

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If paying by check:

  • Use the button below to complete the Ad Order Form; and indicate “pay later”.
  • OR Download and print this  Ad Order Form

By Credit Card:  Please use button below to complete the Ad Order Form and purchase information.
Thank you for your support.

We’re occasionally sharing inspiring stories in the field of community arts education happening across the country.  This month, we’re highlighting some of the cutting edge work of the National Guild for Community Arts Education, including announcement of their new Executive Director Quanice Floyd.

New Leadership on the National Front for Community Arts Education

Pakachoag Music School is an active member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education.  Founded in 1937, the Guild was originally oriented around music schools but has expanded to now include every art discipline and every form of community arts engagement from independent schools to community centers with arts programming to arts based youth programming in all forms.

Why Community Arts Education Matters

From the National Guild:  “Community arts education only exists for a few in this country. There are inequitable opportunities for those most at the margins to realize and embrace their full creativity, feel liberated and whole, and exercise that creativity and sense of wholeness for community change. This is a problem, because we believe that community arts education is essential to human development and healthy communities.

People thrive when they participate in community arts education programs that are sustained and responsive to community needs. Arts learning can fuel people’s imaginations, build critical learning and life skills, promote better health, and generate a sense of shared culture and community belonging.

As people of color and marginalized communities are disproportionately impacted by the multiple crises of this time, community arts education is more crucial than ever as a vehicle for activism, individual and collective self-expression, and healing.”

For these reasons, the guild is fully engaged in advocacy on behalf of the field of community arts education.

New Director at the Helm starting 2022: Quanice G. Floyd

New York, NY—The National Guild for Community Arts Education (“Guild”) announced in December that Quanice G. Floyd (she/her) will become its new Executive Director effective January 10, 2022. The Guild is the sole national service organization for providers of community arts education, with over 400 members spanning a wide range of art forms, organization types, and geographic locations across the U.S. A longtime member of the Guild family, Ms. Floyd is a passionate advocate with a deep understanding of the community arts education field, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial equity. Her visionary leadership will be invaluable in this critical time of transformation for the organization. Ms. Floyd was selected as part of a national open call for applications that took place in spring 2021. The search was led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG).

Ms. Floyd has worked previously at Levine Music and Washington Performing Arts, both based in Washington, DC. She first became involved with the Guild as a volunteer supporting the annual Conference for Community Arts Education in 2015 and 2016.  Ms. Floyd served as the Guild’s Director of Learning and Leadership Development in 2019, and as staff liaison to the board’s Racial Equity Committee.

Ms. Floyd has also served as Executive Director of Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS), and is the founder and former director of the Arts Administrators of Color Network, and has played an integral role in campaigns for racial equity across the field, most recently as part of the Progressive Arts Education Coalition (PAEC).

In her journey from Guild member, to volunteer, to program participant, to staff member, now culminating in a return as Executive Director, Ms. Floyd exemplifies the power of investment in leadership pathways. This investment in the field is an integral part of the Guild’s strategy to ensure that all people have opportunities to maximize their creative potential.

“We are very excited to welcome Ms. Floyd, and eagerly anticipate her arrival as our next leader at this pivotal moment in the Guild’s history,” said Chair of the Guild’s Board of Trustees, Duffie Adelson. “Ms. Floyd is passionate about community arts education and its power to transform lives. Her voice is highly respected and sought after across the nation. She is a visionary leader and an “outside the box” thinker with a proven ability to build organizations around equity. We look forward to supporting and working alongside her as she leads us forward in our service to our members and the field.”

“It is an honor to be able to guide the National Guild into its next chapter,” said Ms. Floyd. “It is a critical time for our sector. Artists and organizations are just beginning to understand the two pandemics we have been reckoning with (white supremacy and COVID-19). We need a space and a place to heal and reimagine—not only to move beyond the moment, but also to make sure these things are not perpetuated for future generations. The field needs leadership that is collective, collaborative, and community-centered, and the Guild will be a place that embodies, supports, and grows that type of leadership. Community arts education plays a significant role in strengthening relationships with our communities, and I am looking forward to helping the Guild and the sector be the change we want and deserve to be.”

The National Guild for Community Arts Education ensures all people have opportunities to maximize their creative potential by developing leaders, strengthening organizations, and advocating for community arts education. The Guild’s work supports all arts disciplines and facets of leadership—from creative youth development, to emerging leaders, to creative aging.  Through these strategies, the Guild aims to address our country’s widening opportunity gap, which leaves millions of individuals with little or no access to the creative resources they need to reach their full potential. www.nationalguild.org

We’re occasionally sharing inspiring stories in the field of community arts education happening across the country.  This month, we’d like to share the story of this year’s recipient of the National Guild for Community Arts Education (NGCAE) National Leadership Award.

Meet William Estrada.

William Estrada (he/him/él) is an arts educator and multidisciplinary artist. His art and teaching are a collaborative discourse that critically re-examines public and private spaces with people to engage in radical imagination. He has presented in various panels regarding community programming, arts integration, and social justice curricula. He is currently faculty at UIC School of Art and Art History and a Teaching Artist at Telpochcalli Elementary School located in the Chicago neighborhood Little Village. William is engaging in collaborative work with the Mobilize Creative Collaborative, Chicago ACT Collective, and Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative.

Mr. Estrada’s current research is focused on developing community based and culturally relevant projects that center power structures of race, economy, and cultural access in contested spaces that provide a space to collectively imagine just futures.

This Guild’s National Leadership Award is given annually to an individual or institution whose work is nationally recognized as exemplifying and promoting the ideals to which the National Guild and its membership are dedicated. The 2021 National Leadership Award is being presented to William Estrada, in recognition of his commitment to promoting healing and transforming communities through teaching artistry.

Learn more about the National Guild’s work here.

Look further at William Estrada’s work by visiting:

Come Explore Music Together ® with Pakachoag!


Fun. Fabulous. Uplifting. Magical. These are just a few of the ways that parents describe Music Together.  Come nurture your child’s inner musician and meet other families.

And, did you know that research shows the brain grows (more than usual) when we make music for a sustained amount of time?

Learn more about our program here and why Pakachoag is a BEST of Central Mass. for early childhood education.  We’re registering now for Winter 2022.

While COVID-19 is with us, we’re offering classes according to current circumstances around health and safety; also weather!   We are happy to report that we had 100% safety (no COVID spread/contact) for our fall indoor Music Together classes.   We’re programming smaller classes in larger spaces.   A music parent survey similarly reported 100% satisfaction among respondents with regard to safety and health protocols.

If you are not already on our e-list, please submit your contact information here so you are on our e-mail list.

We can’t take all the credit, but the science confirms that when you make music for a sustained period of time, your brain literally grows!

Bridget O’Leary is one student currently excelling as she finishes up her Bachelor’s degree at Johns Hopkins University with accolades, community service, and dreams for the future in place.
Bridgette is double majoring in Romance Languages and Creative Writing.  That includes studies in four languages: Spanish, French, Russian, and Hebrew.  Bridget says her favorite activity at Johns Hopkins is serving as a writer for the Witness Theater Company.  She is now serving on the executive board for the group.  Her plays have been selected for performance on an annual basis.  During COVID, Bridget has been tutoring middle school children in creative writing, on-line.

Bridget says her favorite has been French Detective Fiction (sounds like fun!).  Her mom reports:  “Bridget is TEFL certified and was recently invited to join the Beta Circle of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Honor Society for her high academic achievement and  leadership.”

And the future?  Bridget hopes to live in France next year while teaching English (application now underway), wants to spend a year working for AmeriCorps, and then move on to graduate school.  Her long term plan is to secure a Master’s Degree in Library Science and perhaps from there a Doctorate in Linguistics. How’s that for a plan? !!

We are happy to know that Bridget is working very hard and, as her former flute teacher, I like to think that flute practice skills (like lots of repetition for technical mastery and all those other good goal setting practice strategies) have contributed to her success in college.  This photo is from 2014.  We played a duet for a December recital.  Bridget graduated from Marianapolis Preparatory School in Thompson, CT in 2018.  She is originally from Leicester.


For Ages 5 to 7 years/K,Gr.1and2

This semester, your child will learn to drum, sing, move to new rhythms, work in ensembles, conduct, improvise, and play dynamic music games!  In each weekly music class, in addition to singing and moving, we play rhythms inspired by musical traditions around the world, from West African Gahu, to Japanese Taiko, to Brazilian Samba, just to name a few.

More Details here.

The Tree Frog Collection contains energetic triple-meter rhythms inspired by Japanese Taiko drumming. We’ll explore these patterns in “Suzume Odori” (Sparrow Dance), as we adapt the intricate steps danced in festivals throughout Japan. “Canta Coquí” (Singing Frog) has two distinct song phrases that evoke the abundant Puerto Rican tree frogs singing and hopping everywhere! We’ll celebrate the beautiful rivers and mountains of Japan in “Tree Frog Song,” while learning a delightful Japanese hand-clapping game. And “Tree Frog Night” will give us a chance to experience a night in the life of a tree frog!

All 22 song selections have been chosen and arranged specifically to support your child’s music development.

Schedules, details and a registration link can all be found on this Rhythm Kids program page.

This Fall, we’re introducing 16 children, grades 3 to 5, to the Ukulele at Worcester’s Elm Park Community School.
We extend thanks to School donors and grantors whose support is making it possible for us to invest in this program. Grants are currently pending in hopes of continued and expanded partner-based outreach programming in 2022.
Elm Park Principal Lucas Donahue, music teacher Danielle Maldonado, and Jeanne Gohary, School Administrative Assistant, have all been instrumental in helping get the program started.
Guitar /Ukulele teacher Michael Stubblefield is at Elm Park on Thursdays for 1 1/2 hours.  Kristjon Imperio, Director of Programs and Community Engagement, is spearheading the project.
What is this unusual space where the students are meeting?  It is Elm Park’s Hogwart’s School library!  Featuring all things ‘Harry Potter’.   Elm School librarian has created an engaging, calm space that includes pleasant aromas, things to touch, and lots of things to read.

Meet (or Catch Up With!) Joy O’Connor Miller, 2006 Graduate
Artist and Art Teacher

When the Lessons of Music at Pakachoag Keep Giving

Joy took flute lessons through middle and high school.  She is originally from Auburn,  MA

This fall, Joy joined our Harmony Fund family with her first gift.  Joy now lives in Mississippi*.  She graduated from Ann Maria College in Paxton, MA.
I asked Joy if she is still playing her flute. Joy says not so much, but she does have some reflections to share about the impact of music learning in her daily work.

I have a poster in my classroom that reads “Practice makes Progress.” That’s definitely an idea I grew very familiar with through my lessons and daily flute practice throughout middle and high school. I was never a perfect flutist, but I definitely witnessed a lot of progress, which was so rewarding that it then fueled more practice and more progress. I hope to convey the importance of progress over perfection to my art students: they don’t come to my classes because they already create perfect art, but because they want to learn and develop into better artists.

The impact of music lessons becomes broader and deeper over time. What we do is about music, but so much more, like improving reading and memory skills for beginners to lots of analytical thinking involved in mastering technical challenges for older, advancing students; and definitely, as Joy well knows, instilling a life-long understanding of the importance of hard work through practice – for progress, not necessarily the illusive idea of “perfection”.

Many thanks to all, including Joy, who support Pakachoag as volunteer, donor, grantor, community member.  Your support helps make Music for Life.

*Oops.  I (Sarah S.) mixed up my state abbreviations and translated MS earlier as Missouri.

Many thanks to all who keep the music playing at Pakachoag, year-to-year, decade-to-decade.  Here, you can view/download a pdf copy of the Fiscal Year 2021 Annual Report.

Annual Report for 2021

Students from the after-school Black Excellence Academy enjoy a music class with Pakachoag faculty member Christon Carney. Chris visits BEA once a week again this fall.

21 Ways to Harmony Update

Due to the increased demands on office staff for COVID tracking and technology-related challenges over the last two months, we made the decision to permanently suspended production of 21 Ways.  While we fell two episodes short of our target, we are proud to have had the unique opportunity to feature five productions that explored the role of music and the arts in creating harmony within ourselves and our community.  Thank you for your views and support during our 21 Ways journey.

Kristjon Imperio, Director of Programs & Community Engagement

To view prior features, check the links available on our Special Events page.