Community Music School among NEPR award recipients

Date: 2/27/2015

SPRINGFIELD – New England Public Radio (NEPR) is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s Arts & Humanities Awards. The 2015 honorees are: Community Music School of Springfield (Outstanding Organization), musician and instructor Andrew Lawrence (Outstanding Individual) and poet Karen Skolfield (Emerging Talent).

Recipients will be celebrated at the seventh annual Arts & Humanities Awards Gala, May 12, at the Log Cabin in Holyoke.

National Public Radio “Morning Edition” co-host David Greene will provide the keynote address. Other musicians and entertainment will round out the evening. Tickets, $75, are available here. Ticket proceeds support the programs and services of New England Public Radio.

“We are thrilled and honored to receive this prestigious award from NEPR,” Eileen McCaffery, executive director of the 30 year-old Community Music School of Springfield, said.

“I’m so pleased to be receiving this award and gladly do so on behalf of all the outstanding individuals who have done the real work that gives meaning to mine, namely the participating musicians of Community Guitar and Django in June,” Lawrence added.

“I’m so grateful and happy to see NEPR supporting the arts in this way,” Skolfield who teaches at the UMass Engineering school and is also the poetry editor for Amherst Live, said.

“The NEPR Foundation received an all-time high number of nominations this year which is a direct reflection of the amazing talent we have amongst us in the Valley”, Stephen Wittenberg, chair of the NEPR Foundation’s outreach committee, said. “We also look forward to performances by all of this year’s winners on May 12 in Holyoke.”

Established by the New England Public Radio Foundation, Inc. in 2008, the New England Public Radio Arts and Humanities Award has been recognizing the rich and varied arts scene in the region. The award recognizes the contributions of local talent and how they bring greater public awareness to the critical role played by musicians, artists, dancers, actors, writers, storytellers and teachers in western New England.    

The Community Music School of Springfield is dedicated to inspiring people of all ages to begin or renew a lifelong journey into the joy of music and the arts, making this experience accessible and affordable to all. The school offers instruction in classical, jazz, Latin, gospel and other popular music styles to individuals and families of diverse backgrounds and cultures, ages, abilities, talents and financial needs.

Their experienced international faculty of 50 music educators provide instruction to more than 1,000 students who attend weekly lessons, spanning more than 30 area communities.

For Lawrence, guitarist, teacher and event producer, it’s all about “the jam.” For 15 years his unique group-instruction program, Community Guitar, has offered area guitarists a spot in the circle where they can develop not only technical skills and repertoire, but also relationships grounded in the shared pleasure of music-making.

The annual event he produces, “Django in June,” draws an even wider circle. The only music camp in North America devoted to the Gypsy jazz tradition, Django in June has brought hundreds of avid students of that musical tradition to the Smith College campus over the past decade.

Skolfield’s book “Frost in the Low Areas “won the 2014 PEN New England Award in poetry and the First Book Award from Zone 3 Press and is a Massachusetts “Must Read” selection.

She is the winner of the 2014 Split This Rock poetry prize and the 2012 Oboh Prize from Boxcar Poetry Review. Skolfield is the poetry editor for Amherst Live and an associate editor at Sundress Publications and she has received fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Ucross Foundation, Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio Center, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. Skolfield is an Army veteran and teaches writing to engineers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she earned her Master of Fine Arts.