Q. Who are the Friends of Music?

A. We are primarily residents of the Eastern Panhandle who have a passion for good music and who are willing to support FOM financially and through volunteer efforts. Our patrons are concentrated in the cities of Shepherdstown, Martinsburg and Charles Town, West Virginia, but we have regular patrons and supporters in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. You are invited to join us in the celebration of excellent chamber music.

Q. What is the history of FOM?

A. FOM was founded in 1999 by Dr. Mark McCoy, then Department Chair of the Shepherd University Department of Music, and Meryl Kiser, then CEO of Jefferson Security Bank. Its original mission was to support music programs at Shepherd University. FOM achieved 501 (c) (3) tax exempt status in 2001 and thereafter broadened its fundraising appeal. FOM achieved notable success in support of Shepherd’s programs, funding the purchase of a Fazioli piano and presenting a Guest Artist Series that brought world class performers to Shepherdstown, such as Leon Fleischer, Manuel Barrueco, the King’s Singers, Anat Cohen and many others. In 2008, FOM founded the Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra, one of three professional orchestras in West Virginia.

Q. What is the relationship between FOM and Shepherd University?

A. In June 2015 FOM and Shepherd jointly announced that their partnership would not be continued. Shepherd wished to bring its fundraising efforts in-house under the direction of its development professionals. FOM wished to pursue its mission of promoting musical excellence in our community with more flexibility than the previous arrangement allowed. FOM no longer has any funding responsibility for Shepherd’s Music Department and no longer directly supports student programs. Yet the relationship between FOM and Shepherd remains strong and friendly. Many Shepherd faculty perform with the Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra, and Shepherd has offered the use of the Frank Performing Arts Center as a performance venue.

Q. What is the mission of Friends of Music?

A. The mission of Friends of Music is to promote musical excellence in our community by presenting first class musical performances and opportunities for music education. We organize and fund the Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra and concerts by smaller ensembles. We help advance music education by granting free concert tickets to area secondary school students, and we will soon launch a grant program to help support music education in local schools.

Q. What is the Friends of Music Guild?

A. The Guild is a committee of the Friends of Music Board comprised of avid supporters and music lovers. It has its own officers, by-laws and operating procedures. The Guild performs valuable support functions for FOM, such as organizing and funding food and drink for musicians at orchestra rehearsals, and hosting after-concert receptions. It engages in fundraising for FOM, such as the production and sale of a cookbook in 2012. The Guild also provides administrative support during the concert season. FOM Board member Betty Lou Bryant is the current President of the Guild. Former Guild Presidents include Joan Ergin and Linda Walker.