2017 recipients of Bluegrass Foundation grants

The Foundation for Bluegrass Music has announced the recipients of their 2017 grant requests. Each year since they formed in 2007, the Foundation has awarded cash grants to worthwhile organizations to assist in their efforts to further music education and historic research related to bluegrass.

Like many such umbrella groups, the Foundation exists to simply the process of supporting bluegrass music for myriad donors around the country. Rather than having to research the many agencies that work in this field when considering donations, people can channel their charitable giving to the Foundation who then do the checking and hand out grants accordingly. And as a 501(c)3 non-profit, all donations are tax-deductible, and they welcome contributions of any size online.

This year’s recipients include:

  • Acoustic Sound – Wintergrass Bluegrass Academy
  • Coda Mountain Academy, Inc.
  • Greater Ozarks Bluegrass Society – John Wynn College Scholarship
  • Madison County Arts Council – Junior Appalachian Musicians Program
  • McCall Folklore Society – Kids Mountain Music Camp
  • Podunk Bluegrass Festival, Inc. – The Mosaic Project

The Foundation offers these thumbnail descriptions of the recipient programs:

The Acoustic Sound/Wintergrass Youth Education program based in Bellevue, Washington includes the well-known Youth Academy and Youth Orchestra, which successfully introduces middle school strings students to bluegrass and integrates them into a world-class festival experience while performing with nationally known bluegrass artists. New in 2017 is “Pintgrass,” created for pre-school children, “Youth Academy Teacher Training“ and “Rhapsody Songsters”—both for ages 14-20. The YATT program is designed for youth interested in pursuing a music education career, and the Rhapsody Songster program mentors disadvantaged youth with information about the wider array of careers available in and around the music community.  

Coda Mountain Academy, Inc., is a nonprofit organization committed to equipping under-served youth with the tools they need to live productive and fulfilling lives. Based in Fayetteville, West Virginia, the Academy has several programs, one of which is a two-week, residential music camp, which focuses on providing high caliber musical opportunities and training for students regardless of their socio-economic status. Coda offers two distinct tracks during its summer festival, bluegrass studies and classical music.

The Greater Ozarks Bluegrass Society based in Springfield, Missouri, decided in 2012 to honor John Wynn, a nationally recognized luthier and bluegrass educator. A scholarship in his memory has been award annually since 2013 to a local graduating high school senior or a current college student who has an interest in bluegrass music. Numerous people throughout southwest Missouri credit Wynn for their discovery of bluegrass music. He was an encourager to dozens of musicians and bands in the region, always generous with his time and expertise. His family band also performed for numerous school band and orchestra students, introducing them to the instruments and the sound of bluegrass music.

The Madison County Arts Council grant goes to fund a sound system for the Junior Appalachian Music (JAM) program so students may continue to present their music throughout the county at festivals and community gatherings. Performing teaches self-expression, enhances self-esteem and provides opportunities to polish public speaking skills, as well as giving students an opportunity to give back to the community. Based in Marshall, North Carolina, JAM programs in this area have grown from 7 students in 2007 to 60 young musicians from kindergarten – college age. The program teaches bluegrass and traditional music and dance.

The McCall Folklore Society, based in McCall, Idaho, hosts a three-day Kids Mountain Music Camp for beginning and intermediate young musicians as a part of their Summer Music Festival at Ponderosa State Park on the McCall Outdoor Science School campus. The grant will go to add an additional instructor for the 2017 event, and also to provide scholarships to young musicians. Classes are offered on mandolin, guitar, fiddle, banjo, bass and singing.

The Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival in Hebron, Connecticut will present The Mosaic Project in 2017. Participants will be given formal and informal opportunities to explore bluegrass instrumentation, songwriting and personal artistry. The mission of the Podunk Bluegrass Festival is to promote and proliferate bluegrass music in Southern New England by producing and hosting an annual festival unique to the area with a focus on education and awareness of the heritage of bluegrass music.

These annual grants can be up to $2,000 each, and are separate from the smaller mini-grants which the Foundation offers to Bluegrass In The Schools programs around the country.

The deadline to apply for the annual grants is December 1 each year, and details about the application process can be found online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.