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LITTLETON — Indian Hill Music celebrated 30 years in May, sharing its successes with an anniversary dinner and fundraiser attended by music students, concert-goers and staff that featured Indian Hill’s own Big Band.

The spirit of the evening has continued through, as the end of fiscal 2015 approaches and an effective annual fund comes to a close.

The goal this year was $400,000. To help in the effort, an anonymous donor offered to match year-end contributions dollar for dollar. With a week to go, Indian Hill Music was within $24,000 of the total.

Director of Development Catherine Coleman noted, “The response to matching gifts is always positive. They raise awareness and act as a powerful motivator. We are very grateful to our donor for this generous gift.”

With a vision that acknowledges the meaning, support and inspiration that music provides and a desire to give the community greater access to that music, Indian Hill Music wants to be a strong resource and leader, creating a vibrant cultural center for participation through artistic innovation, programmatic depth and modern educational tools.

Founding member and Executive Director Susan Randazzo has been a key player over Indian Hill Music’s 30-year journey.

“We have traveled through all the typical life stages of an organization,” she said. “The first 10 years as a young organization trying to prove itself; the next 10 establishing our presence here, growing our programs and creating a culture. And the past 10 years — a time of solid performance in our core programs with a more intentional emphasis on music philanthropy and service to the community.”

This year, together, the Indian Hill Music administration and Board of Directors developed a new hallmark mission: “Indian Hill Music shares the transformative power of music, through teaching and performing, and giving music generously when there is need.” Indian Hill Music is working hard to implement its strategic objectives through three key initiatives that include performance, education and outreach.


Serving over 60 communities in the Indian Hill region (Nashoba Valley, Merrimack Valley and MetroWest) translates into the engagement of 5,000 concert attendees annually. The Orchestra of Indian Hill performs six concerts from October through April at the Littleton High School auditorium. Artistic Director and Conductor Maestro Bruce Hangen plans the year’s repertoire to feature acclaimed soloists, accompanying the orchestra as they play classical pieces composed by the likes of Mendelssohn, Debussy, Copland and Mozart. The year ends by showcasing Indian Hill’s own musicians.

Indian Hill’s Camilla Blackman Hall and the Kalliroscope Gallery in Groton are home to nine more Chamber and Jazz concerts during the year, as well as a series of 20 “Bach’s Lunch” concerts and 13 community concerts, all offered for free.


Indian Hill Music, with 73 faculty members, educates 1,500 students of all ages annually. From the early childhood Kindermusik classes, to the private and group lessons offered to youths and adults, Indian Hill provides year-round educational opportunities.

Recently, the Nashoba Youth Orchestra was integrated into the music school, adding to the Youth Choir as another option for young adults. Masterclasses are offered, a summer theater program is available and many different ensemble groups gather regularly. All of these programs are made more accessible through the $55,000 in annual scholarships awarded.


Positioning themselves to provide greater outreach, Indian Hill Music brings together volunteer vocalists to join the Threshold Choir, where singers visit members of the community who are ill or under the care of hospice, offering calming, peaceful bedside music at a time when many people are fearful or troubled.

Indian Hill Music has also partnered with the Ayer and Shirley schools to supplement their reduced music programs affected by budget cuts. Setting up instrument demonstrations and an afternoon music program for 4th- and 5th-grade students at Page Hilltop and Lura A. White elementary schools has had a direct, positive impact on the enrollment and vitality of the middle school and high school band programs. Additionally, through a grant, Indian Hill Music’s licensed music therapist has been able to work with 40 special needs students in the district.

So, how is Indian Hill Music able to fund all of these programs?

With an annual budget of $2.7 million, Indian Hill Music has a diversity of revenue sources. Contributed revenues equaled $660,000 last year, coming from individuals, events such as this year’s anniversary Gala dinner and auction, corporate and business partnerships, state grants and one federal grant. Tuition is a driving component of earned revenue as are ticket sales for concerts.

Other sources supplementing contributed revenues are charitable lead trusts (for example, a $50,000 per year donation over a five-year period) and recurring gifts and leadership gift initiatives. Wills and estate gifts are another important stream for supporters to consider.

With this kind of support, the theme of “no cruise control for us!” is part of Randazzo’s mantra.

“We have embraced growth and change and created a robust five-year strategic plan,” she said, “with the overarching goal to make Indian Hill Music the first place in the region the public chooses for music education, performances and outreach. To fulfill this plan, we are looking to invest in strategic growth.”

Randazzo said, “Our plan is to:

* Enrich, focus and integrate our education and performance programming to broaden our impact.

* Implement an expanded music philanthropy program, providing services when there is need.

* Attract, retain and support our professional musicians and staff.

* Increase local and regional awareness/visibility of Indian Hill Music.

* Create greater connections with and among our internal and external stakeholders.

* Increase our financial capacity to support our strategic objectives.”

Ultimately, the driving ambition of Indian Hill Music is “…to be a valuable community/cultural center in the region,” both Randazzo and Coleman agreed.

“We draw people for many different reasons,” Randazzo said, “music … shared, created and experienced together. But community is created from this and that’s what people are supporting!”

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