Making Music, Celebrating Community

Music School Fundraiser Showcases Top Local Talent

By Steve Graham

A 3-month-old Grace Kuch was one of the first students at Foundation Music School (FMS), where she caught the music bug and never let go. 

Kuch is now an award-winning 16-year-old blues guitarist and singer, and FMS has grown into a large and vital part of the arts and education scene in Fort Collins. Kuch and FMS will come together again on Saturday, Oct. 3, for the Music Matters Community Celebration, a virtual fundraiser and concert.

FMS is a non-profit organization that has been forced to adapt to the new pandemic reality, along with everyone else. It was also forced to cancel its spring and summer fundraisers. 

The school’s leadership hopes to make up for that lost revenue and bring together the northern Colorado community through the Music Matters event. The online concert features Kuch alongside some of northern Colorado’s most beloved artists, including Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Whippoorwill, Cary Morin, and more.

Bevin Luna

Under the steady stewardship of executive director Karen Parsell, teachers have adapted to teaching many of their lessons remotely or, more recently, from behind face masks. 

It was not a simple transition, but the staff worked very hard, and most students barely skipped a beat in continuing their lessons. Now, with COVID-19 restrictions forcing smaller classes and more technology usage, costs have gone up while revenue has gone down.

But music education is more important than ever. Socially isolated students of all ages need the challenge, stimulation, and creative release of pursuing an artistic endeavor.

Karmen Mitchell told New SCENE last year about the mental benefits of learning music. 

“Our brain does not have a music center, and participating in music, listening to music or dancing to music activates multiple areas in our brain,” she said. “That creates a very strong scaffolding for other skills. It kind of fills in the gaps.”

Like Kush, many students start at FMS in parent-tot group classes as infants. They can then move into preschool group music and movement classes and eventually private instrument lessons. 

The school also has a robust music therapy program, with highly educated and experienced providers offering help with physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs

Sally Harris is a board member at FMS, and her child attended 2 1/2 years of music therapy to help with speech issues. 

“My child’s music therapy sessions were filled with movement, music, singing, and laughing,” said Harris. “The music therapist was able to engage my child in a fun manner and the amount of progress my child made in speech intelligibility was simply astonishing.” 

Music fans can support these vital music therapy programs, as well as music scholarships, by buying tickets to the Oct. 3 fundraiser. 

In addition to a blues performance by Kuch’s band, the event lineup includes:

Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Cary Morin, Whippoorwill, Last Call Romance, Crispy Watkins & The Crack Willows, Bevin Luna, the CSU music department, The 14ers, and Foundation Music School teachers.

The 14ers

The event also includes an online silent auction exclusively showcasing local northern Colorado businesses, and local sponsors including Brendan Mahoney with At Home Realty, Fulenchek CPA, and Height of Health Massage, among others.

For tickets and more information about FMS or the Music Matters Fundraiser, visit


Music Matters Community Celebration

What: Virtual fundraiser and concert

Where: Your couch, anywhere in the world

Who: A great local lineup, including:

  • Danielle Ate the Sandwich
  • Cary Morin
  • Whippoorwill
  • Grace Kuch
  • Last Call Romance
  • Crispy Watkins & The Crack Willows
  • Bevin Luna
  • CSU School of Music, Theater and Dance
  • The 14ers
  • Foundation Music School teachers

Bonus: Online silent auction

Cost: At least $25 per family suggested donation


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