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SPRINGFIELD — Community Music School of Springfield recently raised $150,000 to support student scholarships following the school’s 40th anniversary Spring Gala.

The funds were in part raised through a $40,000 matching grant from an anonymous donor that the school was awarded two weeks before the gala, Executive Director Eileen McCaffery told Reminder Publishing. The grant was donated by a longtime supporter and matched all donations within the two weeks leading to the gala.

Each year, CMSS hosts the Spring Gala to raise funds for student scholarships and celebrate the school’s work to support local communities, McCaffery said. The event includes live music, food and an auction. All funds raised at the event are utilized for student financial aid. The gala is hosted at Springfield’s Robyn Newhouse Hall and took place this year on April 27, she stated. The public event was first hosted 20 years ago.

“On a weekly basis, CMSS serves 2,000 young people so raising funds at the Spring Gala allows us to offer these musical opportunities to young people in Springfield and the surrounding communities,” McCaffery explained, highlighting that nearly 70% of students at the school utilize financial aid. The Gala is the largest fundraiser for this aid, she said.

The raised funds will go towards providing free or reduced costs for students in certain programs, McCaffery stated. Programs offered by the school include the Children’s Chorus of Springfield, the youth Sonido Musica program and music therapy. They are offered at CMSS’s 127 State St. building, Springfield Public Schools and Holyoke Public Schools.

Another program supported by the Spring Gala is the Adaptive Music Program, McCaffery highlighted. This program supports students with disabilities from preschool to grade 12 and worked with more than 800 students across 17 schools during the 2022-23 school year, she said.

When asked about what was important for CMSS to continue as it moved beyond its 40th anniversary, McCaffery emphasized CMSS’s work to support students’ dreams. She described a recent experience at a Children’s Chorus of Springfield concert when a singer forgot lyrics during a solo performance.

“The singer next to her reached out her hand and held it until she remembered what she was there to do. We all felt that unspoken message. ‘I got you, lean on me.’ That is CMSS; that is who we are,” McCaffery said. “All of us deserve to follow our dreams and be amazing and at the same time, know that someone is there to hold your hand and say, in words, in a gesture or in song; “I got you. Lean on me.”

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