Please share a bit about yourself and your background: Are you a Chambersburg native? What is your role in our community (now or previously if retired)? Were/are you a musician?
Neither of us is originally from Chambersburg. Mark grew up in the Pittsburgh area and Karen is from Trinidad. Karen is a local family doctor and Mark teaches physics labs at Gettysburg College (as well as teaching guitar for CVSM).
Tell us about your family.
We have four sons, three of whom have taken lessons at CVSM. Isaac, Jonathan, and Nate all started with the piano. After a while Isaac fell in love with guitar and switched to that. Isaac and Jonathan both decided to continue to pursue music in college, and Isaac recently graduated from Geneva College. Nate is a freshman at St Maria Goretti High School, and he still takes lessons on piano and flute. Our son Ben has special needs, and he has really enjoyed hearing his brothers practice, attending recitals, and being surrounded by music.
How were you introduced to CVSM? Describe your first event/concert/experience.
Isaac was 7 when he started playing songs from his video games on the piano, so we decided to sign him up for piano lessons. We’d seen the signs on Rt 11 and I called to register him. His piano teacher was Mrs. Fritts, and when Isaac showed up with video game sheet music, she was all in. The first performance we attended was when Isaac played at the Performathon.
What is your best/favorite memory of your experience with CVSM?
We love going to recitals and seeing students of all skill levels perform – both kids and some very brave adults.
What are three words to describe CVSM?
Practice Practice Practice (okay, maybe not) – Inclusivity, Passion, Excellence
As you understand it, what is the CVSM mission/cause? Why does CVSM exist?
CVSM provides a unique service to this community. CVSM offers opportunities for education and performance in solo music, ensembles, choir, and drama for students with different needs and abilities, including students who are preparing to eventually make a career in music, to others who enjoy playing just for fun.
Who is CVSM’s competition? Are there other organizations in our community doing the same work?
To our knowledge, there is no one else in the area providing the breadth of opportunities that CVSM does.
Why, as a donor, is CVSM one of your charities?
The quality of education, as well as the opportunities here, is exceptional. Our two older sons attended a school that had a very small music program, still CVSM was able to help foster a love for music such that both of them chose to major in music in college. Without CVSM, this wouldn’t have been possible; their CVSM teachers were able to prepare them very well for their college auditions and their future musical studies. We give because we want more people to have this chance.