Friends of Music Encourages Community Support of Talented Musicians

Posted: April 11, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Probst

With a longstanding history, Friends of Music (FOM) has been dedicated to providing financial and volunteer support for the George Mason University’s Department of Music.

Recognizing that music permeates every aspect of our daily lives, Friends of Music encourages others to appreciate music for its vital role in the community.

“The mission of the Friends of Music is to get the community involved and encourage them to support the Music Department and provide scholarship funds to many of our young musicians,” says Alice Heyer, chair of Friends of Music.

Although the group was developed many years ago, it was revitalized during the 2004-05 academic year by key players such as Linda Monson, associate chair of the Music Department; William Reeder, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts; Brian Marcus, associate dean of development; James Gardner, chair of the Music Department; and Heyer. The group now includes approximately 150 members.

Recently, Leonard Slatkin accepted the position of honorary chair. Slatkin is the music director of the National Symphony Orchestra and is a strong supporter of Mason’s music programs. The Friends of Music expects that his involvement will enhance the awareness of the group’s work in promoting the Music Department’s students and faculty.

“The Friends of Music has two vital connections with the Department of Music,” says James Gardner, chair of the Music Department. “First, the group provides indispensable financial support to the department for facility projects, concerts and scholarships. Second, the group provides a reality check for the academic programs in the department. The group helps keep the department on target in continuing to promote musical excellence.”

With about 330 music majors in the Department of Music this year, there is not always enough scholarship funds to go around. With the help of its members and contributors, the Friends of Music was able to raise $50,000 in scholarships last year to support the department’s talented musicians.

The Music Scholarship Concert, held every year, is the Friends of Music’s biggest source of scholarship funding. In part sponsored by Phaup Brown Wealth Management Group, the concert features winners of the 2007 Department of Music Concerto Competition. This year’s concert will be held on Sunday, April 29, at 7 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall.

Before the concert, Friends of Music will hold a champagne reception honoring supporters of the Department of Music. The reception will begin at 5 p.m. in the Concert Hall, Grand Tier III.

Depending on the level of membership, Friends of Music offers its members numerous benefits, including a newsletter and mailings, recognition in the Music Department programs and private student performances in member’s homes. Membership costs range from $50 to $5,000.

According to Heyer, the Friends of Music reinstated the hosting of “Musicales” in 2005, which has proven successful in attracting new members and getting others involved. Musicale events are held once or twice a semester and give other members or those interested in music the opportunity to invite friends and associates to their homes to hear talented student musicians from the Department of Music.

By assisting the host in planning the event, the Friends of Music hopes to alert the community to the outstanding musical and academic talent in the Music Department. Hosts can choose programs that reflect their musical tastes and interests. Past events have featured flute and woodwind ensembles, jazz combos, strings, piano and voice.

To find out more information about the Friends of Music, contact Nyla Louh at 703-993-8641 or visit

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