Joy of Music School

Music Notes – Newsletter

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The Joy of Performing

It’s fun and there’s food! The annual Joy of Music School Spring Recital takes place Saturday, May 6, at 2 p.m. All are welcome at the Scottish Rite Temple, located at 612 16th Street in Knoxville. Be charmed by the talent and dedication of our kids, all 65 of whom have earned a spot on the recital lineup via audition.

Enjoy solo and ensemble performances on instruments ranging from piano to voice, from trombone to flute. Plus, we’ll play original song mixes produced and recorded by students.

When the music ends, there’s still more in store. Join us in the dining hall for a picnic style dinner. Bring your ears for listening, your hands for clapping and your appetite for celebrating! Admission is free!


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Office Space Available – Fantastic, Convenient Location!

  • 2,870 square feet of Class B office space (Expandable with adjacent 1,500 sf).
  • Easy access to I-40/75, downtown.
  • Tenant signage is visible to 1 million cars per week.
  • Large reception/common area, 5 private offices, boardroom, two large work-rooms/offices, common restrooms, kitchen/break room.
  • Quiet building. Large parking lot. Glass lobby with elevator.
  • Highly responsive landlord on site.
  • Rent supports Joy of Music School programs.

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Keeping the Beat Alive

Fidelis at the drums

“No, it’s not super loud,” says Ruth Felix. “It’s in the garage.”

She’s talking about the drum set her son Fidelis, a sixth grader at Northwest Middle School, is happily pounding away on.

Fidelis is a student at the Joy of Music School and found out late last year that he’d get to bring a drum set home with him. Until then, as a beginner, he’d been using sticks and a practice pad to work on drumming hand exercises.

“He was doing really well in lessons and it was time for him to get a set,” says Mike Allen, his volunteer teacher at the School.

The Joy of Music School makes drum sets and other instruments available to our students much like libraries lend out books. Students promise to take care of them while getting lessons at the School and return them when they’re done.

Fidelis says he was excited about getting to take a set to his home. His favorite types of music are gospel and hip hop.

Fidelis has already made great strides since setting up the drums in his garage, says his teacher. “He’s gone from ‘I don’t know how to do this’ to sitting down and playing some very nice rhythmic patterns and exercises incorporating not just his hands but his feet.”

Mike imagines a happy future for Fidelis in drumming. “Every time I show him something he can’t do,” he says, “he can do it by the end of the lesson.”


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Letter from the Executive Director

Francis Graffeo

Usually this spot is a letter to everyone, but this one is different. I hope you understand.

Dear Marilyn,

Your late husband and our founder, James Dick, was and is an inspiration to countless people; you know how special he was. But I’d like to say how grateful we are to you. This organization, and this community, would be a much poorer place without you. Your spirit propels children, families, volunteers, administrators, and board members to create more, mentor more, do more, and be more.

What an example you set! You make time for us when we call seeking advice, you participate in our special events, and, like an angel on earth, you’re there for us when we need help. Remember the School’s badly overdue facelift? The new carpet, paint, repairs? That was mostly you.

Not only do you give generously, you regularly increase your giving. Your influence is greater than you know. All your children and their spouses are donors. We often receive donations from admirers of yours in the Knoxville area and even from out of state. Your grandson is a board member!

Our gratitude for your contributions is a given. But honestly, we are grateful simply to be in your sphere. All of us hope to put your goodwill to work in productive, ennobling, joyful ways. We will do our best. For you, we could not consider anything less.





Francis Graffeo

Executive Director


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Our Star-Spangled Students

Tevan, Michael and their teacher, Myron Percy, on the ice.

It all started when the Knoxville Ice Bears asked the School if we’d like to perform the national anthem at an upcoming hockey game at the Knoxville Coliseum. We turned to Myron Percy, a volunteer trombone teacher, who composed an arrangement of the “Star-Spangled Banner” for three trombones. Michael, a ninth grader at Heritage High School in his first year at JoMS, and Tevan, a Powell High School 11th grader, worked hard with their teacher, knowing they would be appearing before thousands of sports fans. When the day arrived, the trio carefully trod to center ice, took their place in the glaring spotlight and delivered a rousing rendition of the anthem followed by enthusiastic applause. Fortunately, none of our sliphorn soloists slipped on the ice—or on any notes!

Well done, gentlemen!


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School’s In for the Summer

Alex and his Violin

We’ve always known JoMS student Alex had a special talent for violin—and now the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts is confirming it.

Alex recently found out he’d passed the Governor’s School’s super-competitive audition and will attend the four-week residency program this June at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. Alex, 16, is a junior at Karns High School and has been a student at JoMS since 2011. He studies with volunteer teacher Stan Smith. He performs with the Karns High School Orchestra and in the Chamber Orchestra of the Knoxville Youth Orchestra Program.

Gov. Lamar Alexander founded the School for the Arts in 1984, creating a program for gifted high school students that would rival the nation’s best summer arts schools. Students in the instrumental music program participate in orchestra or piano ensemble and take classes in theory, conducting, improvisation, and world music.

He is very much looking forward to his summer. Says Alex: “I heard a lot of good things about Governor’s School from other kids who attended, so I was very excited when I got the acceptance letter with the full scholarship and everything!”


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