Good luck Aaron and Carole!

We're very sad to say goodbye to Aaron McFarlane and Carole Bestvater, our two most recent Fellowship Program graduates.


Aaron has accepted a position as Centre Director for Sistema New Brunswick (Canada). In its first year, the Saint John Centre will offer 60 children free after-school music education, 5 days a week, 3 hours per day. About his two years at CMW, Aaron writes:

I appreciate "having had the opportunity to be at CMW for two years. Itʼs pushed me to think hard about my role as a musician, and I feel like my work going forward will bear evidence of that thinking."

"The skills I acquired will become more evident after Iʼve left, I think, but Iʼve gained a lot in terms of conceptualizing what needs to be done for big projects. I feel much more like I can start with an endpoint and plot backwards from my desired outcome, and for someone interested in starting [an organization], that feels powerful."

"I thought relationships would develop between the core staff and the fellows, but I had never really considered the strength of the relationships I developed with the other fellows. It was a thrill being surrounded by such incredible, like-minded people."

"I was touched by the fact that several of my students in their end-of-year self-evaluations listed me not only as their teacher, but also their friend."


In the fall, Carole will begin a Masters program at Memorial University's School of Music in Newfoundland. About her CMW experience, she writes:

"I came here looking for a network of people who would inspire me and help me develop my thoughts and ideas. I came here ready to absorb everything I could, and I think I did just that."

"My conversations with Sebastian during our shadowing sessions were largely influential. I pondered, thought, and read recommended books. For me, the Experiential learning environment is most effective. Being around all the staff members and having space to ask questions, think deeply, and absorb information over the past two years has proven to be a very effective method for me."

"Shadowing Heath was very important in [learning the logistical aspects of CMW]—there were aspects of his job I had never even imagined before, and now I can think clearly about details I could never even fathom. I am thinking specifically along the lines of donor relationships, event coordinating, and the visual presentation of an organization. I have tools that I didn’t have before, and that gives me the confidence to move forward and start developing my ideas into a reality."

We all wish Aaron and Carole the very best in their next endeavors, and no one should be surprised to see them turning up in Providence from time to time… we certainly hope they'll be back to visit soon!

Institutional support

We're grateful to the following foundations, organizations, and businesses, all of which provided significant and meaningful support to CMW during our current season through grants, in kind donations, and in other ways. Thanks for helping to make what we do possible!

American Composers Forum
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation
Arts and Letters Foundation
The Bridgehaven Foundation
The Carter Family Charitable Trust
The Champlin Foundations
Entelco Foundation
First Unitarian Church
Henry Gonsalves Family Fund at The Rhode Island Foundation
Jephry Floral Studio                      
Mary Dexter Chafee Fund
The Met School
National Endowment for the Arts
The O'Halloran Family Foundation
The Partnership Foundation
Private Education Endowment Foundation
The City of Providence's Community Development Block Grant Program
Providence Department of Art, Culture, and Tourism
Providence Shelter for Colored Children
RJG Foundation
The Rhode Island Foundation
Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School
The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts
Seymour and Sylvia Rothchild Foundation
The Stranahan Foundation
Surdna Foundation
West End Community Center
Wheeler School
William D'Abate Elementary School
Your Heaven®

More CMW grads bound for college thanks to CV!

In May, four more college-bound CMW high school seniors were honored by College Visions, the incredible program that "provides low-income and first-generation college-bound youth in Rhode Island with the individualized advising and resources needed to graduate from college." With CV's support, students "apply to college, make informed choices, enroll, and earn college degrees.

Congratulations to Hector Rivera (Community College of Rhode Island), Elvis Rosario (CCRI), Glademil Rosario (CCRI), and Marys Soto (Barry University). Also, congratulations to 2007 CMW alumna Tae Ortiz who is graduating from Guilford College this summer!

Here is an excerpted version of one of Hector's college essays:

Although I grew up with classical music through television, my relationship with the genre evolved through a program called Community MusicWorks. Over time, the violin became my partner in crime. I started playing at the age of 10 and at first I was excited to learn how to play the instrument. I would come home from school everyday elated to practice my violin. However, these feelings changed and as the years passed by, I became older as did the relationship between the violin and me.

As I was entering my teens, my thoughts of classical music being this fascinating genre that set the tone in television faded away. No longer did I embrace each sound. I had given in to peer pressure and listened to the cynical views of others. I also became exhausted with the time I had devoted to playing my violin. It was hard balancing my personal life with my lessons.

As I was entering high school, the thoughts of others no longer bothered me. Playing music had again become a major part of my life and Community MusicWorks had become a second family to me. To this day I am thankful that my mother would not let me quit playing the violin. I have learned many things through the program. They did not just teach me about music — how to read, perform and the history — but also life lessons and characteristics. They taught me about responsibility, patience, leadership and discipline.

To other classical music is just music that sets the tone in a show or movie, but when I listen to it, it is not just sounds coming from the background. I think of it as something that has set a tone in my life.

Learn more about College Visions here.

DUDAMEL: Let the Children Play!

Can’t make it to Los Angeles to see Gustavo Dudamel in person? Experience DUDAMEL: Let the Children Play in movie theaters nationwide on Thursday, June 23. Captured in seven different countries, this event provides a glimpse into the world of orchestras, conducting, and the importance of music as a hopeful path to face the educational crisis worldwide.

Inspired by El Sistema, the Venezuelan musical and educational program which immerses children in the world of music, art, teamwork, discipline, creativity and high values, Gustavo Dudamel brings us on a journey through the stories of some of the young lives who have been touched by the joys of music.

The two-hour event will also include Crescendo: Why Music is Life, a 20-minute CNN en Español production that chronicles the importance of music in children’s lives and explores the role of music in society. Well-known Latin singers, musicians and CNN en Español anchors – including Emilio Estefan, Daisy Fuentes, Lady Gaga, Luis Enrique and more – share insights about their enduring relationship with music, from their earliest memories to the impact it continues to have on their lives today.

Theater information here, and a flier to download and post is here.

Mentor appreciation

We are so grateful for the hours upon hours that our volunteer Musical Mentors have spent with CMW students this year, including assisting with Fiddle Lab, Media Lab, Music Lab, Phase I Orchestra, CMW Club, Saturday cello class, and Performance Parties, and in some cases, even weekly practice sessions in the homes of CMW families.



Alex Graff, Alison Brock, Anne Williard, Bryce Aebi, Celia Laskowski, Colby Davis, David Lee, Emily Arai, Emma Stanton, Flannery Brown, Francesca Inglese, Hendrik Spaepen, Hope Williard, Ilana Revkin, Jeff Chu, Johanna MacBeth, June Yoon, Lara Crystal-Ornelas, Lauren Marini, Lawrence Chung, Liam Hynes, Margret Chang, Michelle Wu, Molly Feldman, Natalie Martin, Paul Oung (CMW alum), Ruthanne Sanchez (CMW alum), Sara Barone, Sarah Faught, Sarah Schuster, Sidhi Gosain, Teddy Nikol, and Walker Mayer. Thank you mentors!