My first glimpse of musiConnects came from conversations with Betsy Hinkle, the founder. While I was helping to build Community MusicWorks in Providence, she was hard at work establishing her own programming at Mattapan’s Chittick Elementary School, which served as her home base for nine years. Several years later, after I began a new position at the New England Conservatory, Betsy asked me to join Jim and Diane—a small group of committed advisors. She was worried about burning out, and could we please help her take her start-up to the next level? We became, essentially, a nonprofit board-in-training. Betsy looked to us to put in place the necessary pieces to support her vision: transforming the lives of children and families through the vehicle of chamber music.
Due to her early fundraising success and spendthrift budgeting, Betsy had managed to save up more than $40,000 by the time she realized that she couldn’t continue to carry the responsibilities of a growing organization on her own. Together, we made the decision to hire an administrator, allowing Betsy to return her focus to teaching and performing—the two activities that she loves most.
Since 2013, each year has seen substantial new developments that have refined and solidified the organization’s infrastructure. If musiConnects were a seafaring vessel, many of these developments have been made below the surface of the water, meaning that, from the shore, the changes may not be apparent. However, down below, the engine room machinery that powers the Resident Musicians’ daily work has been painstakingly constructed and refined.
Along with Betsy choosing to relinquish her leadership role in order to focus on programmatic duties as a Resident Musician, another critical moment for the organization came three years ago. In April 2016, Nancy Galluzzo agreed to become musiConnects’ first executive director. Returning to the nautical imagery, Nancy has, among other accomplishments, calmed the waters and provided a steady hand on the wheel for our committed crew of musicians.
In 2019, musiConnects continues to thrive. These days, I spend most of my time as President thinking about how to strategically integrate our varied programming within Boston’s Mattapan community or how to increase the membership of our Board. Five short years ago, several of us sat around Jim’s dining room table wondering if we dared risk Betsy’s carefully accumulated savings to invest in building up the organization’s infrastructure. I’m so glad that we did. As I conclude my service on the board this month, I’m proud of being part of the team that made that strategic decision, and so many others since, to help musiConnects move ever closer to achieving its mission.
Reflecting on these past years of being so closely affiliated with musiConnects, it feels good to support something that provides opportunities for feeling gratitude and satisfaction. This mission of creating community change through chamber music is really something very special. Thank you for joining me and playing your part.
President, Board of Directors