From Mission Impossible to Mission Possible
"Should you choose to accept this mission..."
The organization I direct is going to be 12 years old this April. In 2005 I founded Young Artists Conservatory of Music with a $70,000.00 budget. We wanted to make a lot of music and make a difference in the lives of children and families. Right after we grew out of our two studios, consolidated our space, increased faculty and cost, the recession hit and it hit hard. We were swimming in turbulent waters and we could barely keep from drowning. But during that time YACM became a kind of rescue mission for the arts.
Budget poor school music programs were cancelled and the YACM board stepped up and started Music Matters to keep some music in some schools for hundreds of children. Scholarship programs were created to ensure any young person can study music. Solano College was forced to close Solano Youth Theatre and again the YACM Board took rescue measures and brought SYT under the YACM roof. There was no significant strings education in Solano and the nearest community youth orchestra was 40 miles away. YACM founded Solano Youth Chamber Orchestra to revitalize excellence in orchestral music in Solano County. The challenges of the recession and its rescues put YACM on a “Mission Impossible”.
Today YACM has a $500,000.00 budget. We are making A LOT of music with over 2500 young people a week. During our 12 years, I have learned a lot about running a nonprofit organization, but I’ve learned a lot more about children. In my 35 years of music education I’ve watched the power of quality music education in the life of a child and in shaping the potential of life. I’ve seen them grow up and go to college, perform with symphonies, lead bands, choirs, orchestras and worship. I’ve seen them mentor, teach, help and give. I’ve watch them become doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, lawyers, seminary students, moms and dads. But more importantly, I’ve watched how engaging in the process of musicianship taught them integrity, humility, resilience, grace, poise, commitment, and how to recognize excellence, hope and the strength of community.
Today Young Artists Conservatory of Music is a non-profit youth development organization that empowers young people through excellence in the musical arts. Our mission is to help youth develop the skills to recognize and unlock their potential in life and in the arts. We believe in taking responsibility for the things our young people see, hear, and do. By doing this we and our members are exercising leadership for shaping the culture that inspires our community.
Potential is a powerful agent of abundance. It seeks partners that understand its future value and are willing to invest. One of the greatest investments in potential is through quality music education in the lives of children. Young people who study music achieve abilities to recognize hope, lean into a challenges, overcome obstacles, and contribute to community. Young people who flourish in the musical arts shape the things our community sees, hears, and does. They, along with others who flourish in their potential, shape our culture. It is our goal to help young people on a path that leads to their ability to flourish.
Under my leadership, YACM will be pursuing strategic changes in the next few months that more powerfully than ever support our “Mission Possible”.