Julienne Pape, President and Founder-Montclair Early Music (left), presents awards to four fourth-grade elementary school student artists performing at an October concert. From left to right: Lyle Harmon and Coco Luraschi of Edgemont School, Lindsay Chabla and Maya Herrera-Shimokawa of Belleville School, and Chris Bleeke, music teacher for Lindsay and Maya at Belleville School and a new Board member in 2021.

Montclair Early Music has received a grant from Investors Foundation that will provide free and low-cost music instructions to fourth-graders across Essex County.

“The Investors Grant has had two significant and desirable results,” Montclair Early Music founder and president Julienne Pape said in an announcement from the group. “First, it enabled us to collaborate with Montclair State University to engage interns majoring in music education. The interns are trained in the internationally acclaimed Suzuki method, thereby also enhancing their teaching skills to prepare them for the future. Second, the grant has enabled us to extend our program to underserved communities.”

“According to the League of American Symphony Orchestras, the percentage of classical musicians who are African Americans is 1.8% and Hispanic/Latinos is 2.5%. We hope that programs like ours can improve those statistics,” Pape said.

Bernard Schoenfeld, chairman of Montclair Early Music’s board, said he is delighted by this grant, which will continue to support the children’s growth in playing and understanding medieval music.




“Last year’s students who won the Montclair Early Music’s recorder competition performed at one of our concerts and went on to perform at the Boston Early Music Festival,” Schoenfeld said.

Max Mellman, a music teacher from Edgemont School in Montclair, said the recorder challenge brought students out of their isolation this past year, helping them advance their repertoire and deepen their studies.

“MEM is an important, affordable, and accessible part of Montclair’s rich extracurricular music educational community, and I am grateful to Investors Bank for helping MEM to continue in their mission,” Mellman said.