During this time of uncertainty, we want to let you know what we are doing to hold Amherst Early Music together, and share ways in which you can stay involved.
Having to postpone this year’s Festival means not bringing together some 400 colleagues and friends who annually gather for musical inspiration, fellowship, and professional support. While recognizing that virtual learning cannot replace the in-person experience, we’ve launched “AEM Online” – four classes each weekend taught by different faculty members. Our goal is to feature as many faculty members as possible while also giving students a chance to learn and interact with each other. As we work to offset deep community financial losses, registration fees fund the work of the teachers and organizers of the program.
We are working on a plan for an Online Festival Week, scheduled for July 6-11. Proposed plans include online classes, salon concerts, round tables with instrument makers, and maybe even a zoom auction. We’re encouraged by the positive response we’ve received to weekend online classes, and hope to involve as many people as possible during a time when most of us will still be seeking connection and support.
In addition to providing continuity to our broader community, the AEM board has prioritized keeping operations running so that we will be in a position to present the events we know and love when it is safe again. Our annual operating budget depends on individual donations, especially those received or pledged during the Festival. Without that help we are in a tenuous position with regards to meeting financial obligations and maintaining bare-bones functionality. Our generous Board and friends have put together a Crisis Matching Fund of $51,000 to meet donations to AEM dollar for dollar. We hope you’ll consider giving an amount that makes sense for you so that together we can keep Amherst Early Music afloat.
All of us in the AEM community – enthusiasts, performers, scholars, craftsmen, and organizers – have built AEM over the past 57 years into the largest provider of early music workshops in North America. We’ve come all this way together, and together we will get through this. --Marilyn Boenau, Executive Director