Pennsylvania Choral Concert Performance Leads to Give a Note Foundation Donation

The Conestoga (Pennsylvania) Camerata


Frank Orman, director of worship and music at the Church of St. Monica in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, coordinates an annual recital series. In May, 2012, he invited the Camerata at Conestoga High School in Berwyn to perform the finale concert at the church. Music teacher and choral director and NAfME member Suzanne Dickinger leads the Camerata choral group.

“After our concert, a free will offering was taken. Half went to the concert series, and half went to the Camerata. We decided that a donation (of $500) to the Give a Note Foundation was the best way to end our school year,” Dickinger said. (She is in the front row of the photograph, far left).

In 2011 she was District 12 Professional Development Representative to the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) Board. She said Scott Sheehan, PMEA Immediate past president, spoke to the board about the work Give a Note Foundation does. She remembered that when the opportunity for a donation arose.

Give a Note Foundation was founded in June 2011 by leaders of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). Give a Note Foundation’s mission is to expand and increase music education opportunities for all children, especially those in low-wealth and underserved areas.

This fall is the launch of the Give a Note Foundation Founders Campaign with a goal to raise $20 million in 10 years.  Contributions to this campaign will provide small grants to more school music programs in need, be used to conduct research on ‘the state of music education’ nationwide, and fund programs that support teachers in their first 5 years of teaching.

Conestoga has a wide-ranging music program, that impact a lot of students, Dickinger said. She conducts several groups, including a concert choir, men’s and women’s choirs, acapella groups and the Camerata, an auditioned group of 11th and 12th grade students.

The instrumental side of the music program includes a concert band, wind ensemble, a symphony orchestra, jazz band, marching band and percussion ensemble.

The Camerata’s donation to Give a Note Foundation is in keeping with the service-oriented way music students think at the high school. Many of them are members of a Tri-M ®Music Honor Society chapter at the school.

Tri-M recognizes students for their academic and musical achievements and rewards them for their accomplishments and service activities, and ways they can inspire other students to excel at music and leadership. There are more than 5,550 chartered chapters at secondary schools throughout the world.

Dickinger said “Our Tri-M Music Honor Society is made up of juniors and seniors, who are required to participate in one of two yearly recitals and accumulate at least 150 points (performance and service). I serve as the advisor.”

Some of the service opportunities have included

  • Working with the school district middle school choirs (and conducting at their concerts)
  • Working with the school district middle school jazz bands
  • Accompanying school district elementary school choirs
  • Working in all aspects of the Marching Band Cavalcade, a music department fundraiser.
  • Performing at area nursing homes and senior centers
  • Conducting church choirs, or serving as soloists in church choirs
  • Assisting with District Pennsylvania music educators
  • Association festivals for middle and high school

GiveaNote Foundation has been active since its founding. For example, from September through December 2011, the GLEE Give a Note Campaign a cause-marketing collaboration between the Foundation, NAfME, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, and the TV show GLEE resulted in Fox contributing $1,000,000 to help school music programs in need.

Grand prize grants of $50,000 were awarded three different schools but 73 schools received grants as well. Read more about Give-a-Note Initiatives .

Read more or donate to the foundation.

Read more about the Conestoga High School Music Program

Roz Fehr, NAfME managing editor for news, September 26, 2012. © National Association for Music Education (