In 2011, A.P. U.S. History Teacher Nicole Doherty and her student Locher Grove of Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke, VA were selected as Bezos Scholars. Locher Grove – a talented violinist – and Nicole spent the following year working together to design a community change project that pulled from their shared passion for music. On March 9, 2012, they launched The Noteworthy Music Festival and with it, a long-term commitment to bring music education to young people in their Roanoke, VA community.
The initial Noteworthy Music Festival launched as a day-long event featuring 13 local and regional musicians and what seemed an ambitious goal of raising $5,000 to fund elementary music education. Thanks to generous community support and the 1,400 community members that attended the Festival, the duo almost tripled their fundraising goal and were able to donate more than $14,500— enough to purchase 60 new instruments for elementary school students!
Over the last eight years, Noteworthy has continued to grow and expand under the leadership of Nicole and a revolving team of high school students from the Noteworthy Music Club – a Club created from the original Noteworthy Music Festival and comprised of students who are passionate about music and music education who also want to make a difference in the community. Over the last eight years, the Club has grown from 10 student leaders to over 45 members today.
Each year, the team selects one elementary school within Roanoke City Public Schools as the beneficiary of the Festival’s ticket sales proceeds. The selected school uses the funds to purchase instruments for their music education program. Since inception, the Festival has raised almost $32,000 and helped seven elementary schools bolster their music programs.
“I love that our Festival has now become a tradition and that Locher and previous club members and participants return to Roanoke to attend the Festival and see how it’s grown. The most important lesson from this community change project has been that my students now know how to become inspired to recognize an issue in their community that they are passionate about and create a way to make a difference,” excitedly shares Nicole.
As part of their work to support music education, the Noteworthy Music Club also holds monthly fundraisers, elementary school visits, music tutoring, and provides younger students with positive high school role models – all in addition to running the Festival. The Club’s work to raise awareness in the Roanoke, VA community about the importance of music education has helped Roanoke City Public Schools become known statewide for having one of the best music programs in Virginia.Nicole (center) pictured with two students at the Festival in 2016
This year, Seattle-based eMedia Music contacted Noteworthy Music Club with an incredibly generous offer: 110 new and used instruments to support their efforts. The donation – which includes 79 acoustic guitars, eight electric guitars, 17 ukuleles, four violins, and two banjos – is currently on its way to Roanoke for the Club to disseminate to public elementary school music programs.
eMedia Music owner Adrian Jovanovic, who passed away two years ago, was a proponent of public education who benefited from excellent public education at Hunter College High School and Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York. He was a generous supporter of music and musicians throughout his life, and served as a City of Seattle Music Commissioner. After his passing, his brother, Oliver, and mother, Sabina, coordinated with the Bezos Scholars Program to facilitate this donation. They are thrilled that Adrian's legacy in music and his generosity lives on.
Nicole was just named the DAR 2019 Outstanding Teacher of American History Award and beams as she shares, “I teach all my students that one person can make a change in the world around them.”
Adrian’s donation is sure to change the lives of hundreds of children in Roanoke elementary schools. The 8th annual Noteworthy Music Festival, coming up on Saturday, April 27 will help too.