NEA Grant Award


   Worcester Chamber Music Society to Receive $10,000 Grant  from the National Endowment for the Arts


May 12, 2021 Worcester, MA
— Worcester Chamber Music Society has been approved for a $10,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support Neighborhood Strings. This grant will support WCMS’s work with underserved youth in two of Worcester’s downtown districts. Students, ages 6-18 receive weekly lessons, orchestra, and performance opportunities both during and after school, most attending 2-3 hours a week.

Worcester Chamber Music Society’s Neighborhood Strings program is among the more than 1,100 projects across America totaling nearly $27 million that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2021 funding.

“As the country and the arts sector begin to imagine returning to a post-pandemic world, the National Endowment for the Arts is proud to announce funding that will help arts organizations such as Worcester Chamber Music Society reengage fully with partners and audiences,” said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “Although the arts have sustained many during the pandemic, the chance to gather with one another and share arts experiences is its own necessity and pleasure.”

WCMS Executive Director Tracy Kraus stated, “We are thrilled that the National Endowment for the Arts recognizes the value of our work here in Worcester. The profound impact of the pandemic on our current Neighborhood Strings students made clear how valuable and necessary the program is.  The grant will allow us to pursue planned expansion of the program.”

Neighborhood Strings is an El-Sistema inspired, community-based program of the Worcester Chamber Music Society that offers free music lessons in violin, viola, and cello to youth from Worcester’s Downtown and Main South neighborhoods. The program provides high-quality arts education, fosters family involvement and is open and accessible to the neighborhoods. Youth learn to make music together with musicians and friends from the WCMS. In the process, they discover a creative outlet that hones life skills like discipline, cooperation, imagination, and leadership. Teachers work to forge strong relationships with students that strengthen WCMS’s ties to the community. The focus is not just on the child as a musician, but the child as a citizen and a contributing member of society.

For more information on the projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit  For information about Worcester Chamber Music and Neighborhood Strings, visit or call (508) 926-8624.

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About Worcester Chamber Music Society

Hailed as a group with imagination, style and chops, the Worcester Chamber Music Society took the Worcester, MA scene by storm with its initial concert in 2006. It has become a recognized cultural presence within the Greater Worcester area by presenting sold-out concerts to captivated audiences, receiving consistent critical acclaim, building new young audiences, and training rising musicians through both its Neighborhood Strings and Summer ChamberFest programs. WCMS brings world-class chamber music to intimate, beautiful, and uniquely Worcester venues. WCMS nurtures the community through a unique combination of affordable concerts, education and community engagement.