CHIME was founded by Dorothy Marschak in 1997 as a response to her experience as a National Symphony docent visiting Title I DC elementary schools to prepare third-graders for their one free NSO concert in their school careers. She was dismayed by discovering how inadequate and unequal the access to music education - during and outside of school - had become for most inner-city DC school children, and she was inspired by witnessing how responsive - even thirsty - they were when it was offered to them. Years before she had organized a volunteer music project . SDeborah. She decided to explore the possibilities of creating a new volunteer music education project in DC that would respond to its needs.
After the success of our first two in-school programs - classes in listening skills at Marie Reed Learning Center by composer and pianist Dina Koston, and a class in recorder instruction by pianist and music educator Beatrice Frank at Seaton Elementary School, it was decided to incorporate CHIME as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, which was done in May 1998, with the help of the pro bono legal skills of Ann Stansbury.
Our mission has remained unchanged from the beginning, but the ways we have carried it out have continued to expand. . Since inception we have successfully added new programs to an ever-growing repertoire of music instruction (during school, after-school, and joint sister-school projects), educational music presentations, professional development workshops for DCPS teachers, instrument donations, research, advocacy, collaborations, and education and social policy activities.
Our main accomplishments since inception include providing "Music Around the World" participatory programs to over 25,000 students from over 80 DC schools, of which 20 have been videotaped for DC Public Access TV; organizing 40 workshops for DCPS teachers on how to incorporate music into their classrooms; distributing over 300 donated instruments to 12 DC schools; organizing 7 joint choral or instrumental partnerships between pairs of DC schools with different demographics (3 of which have been videotaped for DCTV); initiating and partnering with the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum in an exhibition documenting the history and significance of DC public school bands (2006-7). Advocacy activities include successful campaign to get DC govt to provide $250,000 for a city-wide summer music program at DCPS summer school sites.
Awards and honors include a Finalist twice (2006 and 2007) for Mayor's Arts Award for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education, and Swarthmore College 2011 Alumni Award to CHIME Founder/President Marschak for Outstanding Community Service.
We have done all this with one hard-working pro bono staff member (Marschak), aided by volunteers and partners. We pay the performers in our participatory in-school "Music Around the World" series modest honoraria, but not our ongoing instrumental and choral instructors , who are mainly either volunteer professionals or advanced music students.
In addition to donations, we welcome volunteers with needed administrative skills as well as music performers/instructors with relevant experience. A volunteer form is on the CHIME IN! page of our website, www.chime-dc.org.