Educational Outreach

Mandolins Make a Difference: Mandolins MAD!

From the inception of the mandolin clubs in the late 19th century and early 20th century in North America, there was a philanthropic, service, and social aspect to those groups. They raised money for those in need and they met socially to improve the spirits of the club members and to engage with their communities. Now is the time for us to show leadership and to commit resources to cultivate opportunities for all people.

Along with many other musical organizations, we are committed to cultivating an inclusive environment that promotes anti-racism, accessibility, and philanthropic service. Today, the CMSA would like to update the historic intentions of mandolin orchestras and expand them to also include making fundamental differences in who plays, how we play, where we play, and why we play. We want to “Make a Difference.”

We can do this together with your help. Through our love for mandolin playing and mandolin music, we can commit to making a difference in our communities. We are reaching out to mandolin players worldwide to ask that you commit to this vision of music without barriers. We have included some ways that you can take your first steps to create change. We urge you to take action, and Make a Difference!

Our goal is to move the mandolin world toward a more accessible, inclusive, diverse, and vibrant community. We feel that music is a way to make a difference in the world—our orchestras, ensembles, and the music we play can Make a Difference.

 Here are the questions we asked ourselves.

  • How can we make our orchestras and ensembles more welcoming and accessible to people who currently are not present in our audiences and groups?
  • How can we attract younger students and others from underserved communities?
  • What music are we playing and where are we performing? Can we perform in new locations? Perform different styles of music from diverse cultures and countries?
  • Who are we missing—in our orchestras and ensembles, at our conventions, in our audience?
  • Mandolin Orchestras of the early 20th Century had a history of community service. How can we further support local community services while we perform?

Our plan addresses all these questions with exciting and specific ideas that will help us to grow a new generation of members and composers from all of the various and diverse populations in North America, and beyond.