Music Education Pioneer Lowell Mason Honored with Naming of High School Auditorium in His Home Town

Members of the Lowell Mason Foundation postponed moving the Medfield, Massachusetts, birthplace of the pioneering music educator to the week of February 21, 2011.

Lowell Mason House

The foundation is moving the house to protect it from proposed development where it currently sits to a short distance away. The new site has been prepared for the house, but weather and technical issues have delayed earlier moves.

In the meantime, the Medfield School Committee voted unanimously to rename the auditorium at Medfield High School after Mason, long considered the father of American music education. At a meeting to discuss the name change to “The Lowell Mason Auditorium,” Superintendent of Schools Robert Maguire, said. “A naming should reflect the idea that the person that’s being recognized is greatly important from either a national or state perspective and in this case, I think this individual meets both criteria,”  the Medfield Patch website reported.

Working with Medfield officials and other groups, the Lowell Mason Foundation plans to renovate and expand the house for concert and practice space, music education programs, and the display of Mason artifacts.

New house site

From 1837–1838, Lowell Mason taught vocal music at Hawes Grammar School in South Boston on an experimental basis. That “experiment” led to a decision that added music to the formal curriculum of the Boston Public schools. Mason was also President of the Handel and Haydn Society and in 1853 and received America’s first honorary doctorate of music from New York University. MENC named an annual fellowship for Mason.

MENC is accepting nominations for the next class of Lowell Mason Fellows

Prominent Music Education Historian Urges Saving the House

Letter from music historian Michael Mark

Interested in music education history? History Special Research Interest Group

Lowell Mason House

Photos by Karen Scotti

Roz Fehr, February 3, 2011. © MENC: The National Association for Music Education