Arts Playlist: Delaware School of Music Receives $10 Million Donation

Kelli Steele of Delaware Public Media interviews Kate Ransom, President and CEO of the ic School of Delaware.

The Delaware School of Music recently received an unexpected donation of $10 million.

The school receives money from a trust established by Mary Ellen Northrop. Prior to his death in June 2021, Northrop did not disclose to anyone at the music school the amount or extent of the endowment.

The money will fund scholarships offering a maximum of $5,000 per year in year one and a second year to cover up to 50% of costs up to $5,000.

It will provide scholarships to qualified students in public, private or parochial schools.

The president and CEO of the Music School of Delaware, Kate Ransom, said their job now is to encourage people to apply for the scholarships.

“It’s not going to be a useful fund unless people know about it,” Ransom said. “So we’re very excited to spread the word far and wide. There are no geographic restrictions on the giveaway. As such, residents of the entire state of Delaware and other areas we all serve could be eligible for benefit from this fund.

The scholarships are reserved for students whose family income is less than $150,000. Ransom says they hope to start distributing it this fall.

But Ransom says the first step is to build the mechanisms to distribute them.

“We still have a lot to do,” Ransom said. “We have the application forms in progress and plan to roll them out this spring. Then we hope to start awarding scholarships in the fall of 2022.”

Ransom says the music school serves — on average — 2,500 students a year.

The scholarships can be applied towards tuition fees, the purchase or rental of instruments for all instrumental and vocal courses, except guitar.

The music school has locations in Wilmington, Milford, Dover, Lewes, Hockessin, Newark and Skyline.

Private lessons are available in nearly 30 instruments, as well as group lessons, ensembles, early childhood music and its comprehensive Suzuki Academy program.

The Delaware School of Music is offering a week of free sample lessons, Jan. 24-29, at its Wilmington and Milford branches and select satellite locations. Students can start (or resume) classes with a free 30-minute interactive lesson with a music school faculty member.

More information is available by calling 302-762-1132 in Wilmington or 302-422-2043 in Milford.

Artistic coverage by Delaware Public Media is made possible, in part, through support from the Delaware Arts Divisiona state agency dedicated to promoting and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the national endowment for


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