Good News May 2019

Page 12


May 2019


music should be for everyone

The Helen Fox Gospel Music Center (HLFGMC) believes music is a pathway for success and excellence in all areas of life and should be for everyone, currently offering violin, viola, cello and piano lessons to youth on an ability to pay basis. Lessons are provided to individuals having a desire to learn and are open to anyone in the community. In fact, HLFGMC has several adult students. The primary focus, however, is on urban youth who have been identified as having an interest in music education but have little or no resources to access music instruction, instruments or practice facilities. The importance of music education cannot be overemphasized. Research has demonstrated that music education expedites learning in other academic subjects and boosts students’ abilities useful in everyday life. Studies show that playing an instrument can improve reading and comprehension skills, math skills, language skills and IQ. Helen L Fox taught music lessons in the community at the Moss Piano Studio in the 1970’s, and continued teaching for over 30 years at her home and the homes of her students, enriching countless lives through lessons that extended far beyond music, to

faith, hope and love. Every student was expected to pay something, sometimes as little as one dollar – she believed her students would value their lessons more if they paid something. Helen L. Fox passed away on August 14th, 2016 and just a few short months later, the Helen L. Fox Gospel Music Center began operations after years of planning. “It is our goal to honor and extend her legacy of service through the Helen L. Fox Gospel Music Center, where lessons in music and life will benefit generations to come,” said Helen’s son, Joseph Fox, Vice President and cofounder of the music center. Bridget Tucker Gonder, a self-described mentee and personal friend of Helen’s, is the President and cofounder. The Helen L Fox Gospel Music Center began operations with four students in October 2016 and has since provided lessons to over 25 students, providing over 800 lessons and they continue to grow! Volunteers are an important part of the HLFGMC mission; over 1,500 volunteer hours have been donated since their inception. They welcome individuals and groups to volunteer to improve the lives of the youth of the community. There are a number of ways to volunteer and you need not be

a musician to contribute. Volunteers can take on a variety of roles such as administrative, social media, newsletters or other outreach, fundraising, and other event planning. One such event is the summer music petting zoo in which students in the community are provided hands on exposure to a variety of musical instruments. They have the opportunity to see, touch and learn about instruments that perhaps they have not encountered previously.

You can submit a volunteer application online or feel free to call or email them at the contact information listed below. The Helen L. Fox Gospel Music Center is a 501c3 charitable corporation established for the purpose of providing access to music education to the community with a focus on the underserved urban youth population. Access to instruments is also facilitated by HLFGMC. Families of students are expected to make a donation for each lesson just as Helen required of her music students. They have gained the trust of foundations in our community to do this work, while not being entirely reliant on grants. They are excited to report that a meaningful amount of their work is made possible through individual donations. Please consider helping them to reach more children with music education as a pathway for success and excellence in all areas of their lives, by making a donation to HLFGMC. Donations can be made online at, or offline by sending a check to P.O. Box 2621, Portage, MI 49081. HLFGMC also welcomes instrument donations. The Helen L. Fox Gospel Music Center is located in the heart of the north side community of Kalamazoo with office and studios located within the Douglass Community Association, 1000 W. Patterson Street. They are open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-7pm, or by appointment. For More information visit their website at, call (269) 365-2826 or email Jackie Merriam

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