Tag Archives: feature article

MPTF Events Showcase: The Chamber Music Society of Mississauga

By Dan Beck, Trustee Music Performance Trust Fund

Chamber Music Society of Mississauga

The target audience for the Artfull Wellness program is aging adults; people with developmental, intellectual, and/or physical disabilities ranging from mild to severe; and those with long-term illnesses.

The Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) co-sponsors hundreds of free live events annually that enrich municipalities across North America with the talents of inspiring professional musicians. It is the hard work and creative efforts of community organizations, working with AFM locals, that make these performances happen with the quality and care to make us proud. We hope to shine a light on some of our outstanding partners in the pages of the IM from time to time. This is the first installment of that series.

The Chamber Music Society of Mississauga (CMSM) is a charitable organization dedicated to presenting excellent live, small-group chamber music events that educate and inform. It strives to make these events truly enjoyable to young and old. This not-for-profit organization is located in the lakeside city of Mississauga, Ontario, a vibrant city in the Toronto metropolitan area.

CMSM seeks to inspire a love and appreciation for music and the arts in the community, especially among school-age children and their families. The organization also nurtures talent by providing enriching opportunities for professional and community musicians to perform new chamber music repertoire, and by presenting the talent of local people from other artistic disciplines.

Committed to creating a rich cultural community in Mississauga and surrounding areas, CMSM inspires musicians and artists from diverse cultural backgrounds to come together to explore and develop their talent. This means providing an opportunity and a venue for new artists.
It also means offering cultural performance programs that stimulate and intrigue new audiences to seek further classical chamber music experiences.

The organization strives to be the key art-in-education resource in the community—for schools, libraries, and children’s festivals. The organization is a valuable resource to the community’s teachers.

Chamber Music Society of Mississauga

The Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) and the Chamber Music Society of Mississauga (CMSM) collaborated on 34 performances as part of their new Artfull Wellness program for seniors and other health-challenged individuals.

This past year, the MPTF and the CMSM collaborated on 34 performances as part of their new “Artfull Wellness” program, held primarily at retirement homes and libraries. The target populations for the program are aging adults, some with dementia; people with developmental, intellectual, and/or physical disabilities ranging from mild to severe; and those with long-term illnesses. These programs are guided by the Canadian Association for Music Therapy’s standards and practices. In addition to MPTF funding, these programs receive financial support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Community Foundation of Mississauga.

Professional musicians involved in the program begin by preparing specific repertoire. Working with a registered music therapist, they design unique programs and activities that utilize common rhythm instruments. There are opportunities, not only for the audience to enjoy the aesthetic beauty of live classical music, but also to express themselves, move, play, socialize, and relax.

Few healthcare settings have the resources to independently provide a program of this calibre. Few residents, clients, and staff members have ever been this close to orchestral instruments. For some people in healthcare settings, traveling to a concert hall can be daunting due to transportation, cost, and wheelchair seating restrictions. At Artfull Wellness events, there is generally no stage and no curtain, just people invested in the common purpose of making music together, engaged and involved in their fine arts community.

The MPTF celebrates the good work of the Chamber Music Society of Mississauga and the musicians from AFM Local 149 (Toronto, ON) who make this program so very special. If you would like to learn more about Artfull Wellness and the CMSM, visit the website: www.chambermusicmississauga.org.

ICSOM orchestras

Orchestras Are Good Business

by Meredith Snow, Chair, International Conference of Symphony & Opera Musicians (ICSOM)

In sharp contrast to the difficult but necessary strikes in the Pittsburgh and Fort Worth symphonies, a number of ICSOM orchestras have recently settled favorable, progressive, contracts well before their expiration date. Minnesota, Kansas City, Detroit, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Buffalo, and Jacksonville (where historic gains were made) all negotiated long-term contracts that advance salary and/or work weeks, and promote stability for their orchestras. Moreover, the Fort Worth settlement was not concessionary. Is it possible that our boards and managements are beginning to get the message that orchestras are good business?

According to the League of American Orchestras’ Orchestra Facts 2010-2014, the 1,200-plus US orchestras of all budget sizes contributed $1.8 billion to the 2014 economy in direct payments for goods and services, as well as indirectly fueling the economy through related services. Of the 28,000 performances in 2014, approximately 42% were educational or community engagement, one in four of which were free to the public.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is a critical part of funding for our nonprofit orchestras. NEA grants, awarded through a competitive process, also leverage funding from additional sources. On average, each NEA grant dollar generates another nine dollars in state, local, and private giving from foundations, corporations, and individuals, resulting in $500 million in matching support in 2016 (arts.gov). Through a wide variety of programs, these grants increase the ability of our orchestras to support arts education in their communities, expand public access, and fund the efforts of musicians, composers, and conductors, preserving the great classics and promoting the creation of new works.

While Congressional support for the NEA has improved in recent years, we have a long way to go to recover from the 40% cut in 1996. Last year’s bipartisan support for the NEA saw an increase in funding of $2 million, bringing the total budget to $148 million. This is a mere 0.004% of the federal budget and only 47 cents per capita. The nonprofit arts industry supports 4.13 million jobs in the arts and related industries. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis and figures gathered by the NEA, in 2013 the arts and culture sector contributed $704.2 billion to the GDP.  Investment in the NEA makes a good return on your tax dollar.

We must work to preserve the NEA and persuade the current administration to fully fund its programs. Please visit www.afm.org/2017/02/nea/ to send a letter urging your member of Congress support the NEA.

Our orchestras promote education, musical excellence, and economic activity. An investment in your orchestra is an investment in your community. That’s just good business.