Friends of Watertown Music is a group of volunteer parents and friends dedicated to sustain and enhance the comprehensive nature of the music programs in the Watertown Public Schools. We were established in the summer of 2011, in response to budget cuts, and our first major fundraiser, MusicFest, has become an annual celebration of music and musicians across the community!
As a small, local organization within the community, we are able to respond directly to the needs of the music program. Since our inception, we have awarded over $42,000 in grants to the music program in the Watertown Public Schools. For example, in 2018 when we benefited from especially generous donations, including an anonymous $2,000 donation, we established an Annual Fund for Visiting Performances to bring professional musical ensembles to the schools, provided over $6000 in new instruments, and, through the Meehan Memorial Fund, purchased USB keyboards for the elementary classes and bus transportation so that high school ensembles can perform at the elementary schools.
From our very first grant to restore the Middle School Jazz Band, our grants have focused on allowing more music to be taught at the elementary, middle, and high school level. These small seed grants for teaching were matched at least 2.5:1 by the School Department and eventually incorporated into the budget. We are extremely proud that our funds have contributed toward increased teaching for adaptive music and instrument instruction. All of our elementary students – no matter what school they attend – now have equal access and instruction on all of the instruments offered in the Watertown Public Schools!
We have also won grants and earned credit from outside organizations, funding over $22,000 worth of new instruments and instrument repairs for the student instrument program at all schools. That total includes $1,950 in earned credit through the Music & Arts Corporation, which offers instrument rentals to Watertown students, and our most recent 2019-20 grant of $2,500 for percussion instruments for the High School from a School Program Grant from the Watertown Community Foundation.