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Arts Playlist: Music School of Delaware receives $10m donation

Tom Byrne
Delaware Public Media

The Music School of Delaware recently received a game-changing donation.

On this week’s Arts Playlist, Delaware Public Media’s Kelli Steele talks to Music School of Delaware president and CEO Kate Ransom about the gift and its impact.

Delaware Public Media's Kelli Steele interviews ic School of Delaware president and CEO Kate Ransom.

The Music School of Delaware recently received an unexpected donation of $10 million.

The school is getting the money from a trust established by Mary Ellen Northrop. Prior to her death in June 2021, Northrop didn’t divulge to anyone at the Music School the amount or scope of the endowment.

The money will fund scholarships providing a maximum of $5,000 per year in the first year and a second year to cover as much as 50% of costs up to $5,000.

It will provide scholarships to qualifying students in public, private or parochial schools.

Music School of Delaware president and CEO Kate Ransom says their job now is to encourage people to apply for the scholarships.

“It’s not going to be a useful fund unless people know about it," Ransom said. "So we are very anxious to get the word out far and wide. There is no geographic restriction on the gift. So residents of the entire State of Delaware and other regions that we serve all could be eligible to benefit from this fund.”

The scholarships are limited to students with a family income of less than $150,000. Ransom says they hope to start handing some out this fall.

But Ransom says the first step is building the mechanics to hand them out.

“There’s a lot for us still to work out," Ransom said. "We do have the application forms in process and we expect to roll them out this spring. Then we hope to be able to start awarding grants for study in the fall of 2022.”                        

Ransom says the Music School serves - on average - 2,500 students a year.

The scholarships can be applied to tuition, instrument purchase or rental for all instrument and voice lessons, except for guitar.

The Music School has locations in Wilmington, Milford, Dover, Lewes, Hockessin, Newark, and Skyline.

Private lessons are available in nearly 30 instruments, along with group classes, ensembles, early childhood music, and its comprehensive Suzuki Academy curriculum.

The Music School of Delaware offers Free Sample Lesson Week, January 24-29 at its Wilmington and Milford branches and select satellite locations. Students can start (or resume) lessons with a free 30-minute interactive lesson with a Music School faculty member.

More informationis available by calling 302-762-1132 in Wilmington or 302-422-2043 in Milford.

Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the

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Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.