The Gift of Joy through Music

By Mike Steely


Frank Graffeo, Executive Director of the Joy of Music School, was surprised Thursday with a donation from Steve Hunley, Fountain City Auction, The Knoxville Focus, and Fountain City Antiques Market. Electric and acoustic guitars, violins, a clarinet, a flute, a trumpet and many other items were presented to the school by Greg Lawson, Rose King, and Melvin Whittington accompanied by the staff of The Focus.

Founded in 1997 by James A. Dick, a prominent business leader and philanthropist, the Joy of Music School is located at 1209 Euclid Avenue in Knoxville. The school is a nonprofit organization that provideds free music lessons for children who cannot afford them. The school also provides instruments, music and supplies at no cost to the students. The school offers opportunities through private and group lessons, ensemble participation, and music enrichment classes and exercises.

More than 200 students are taught at the school by volunteer instructors and the school also does outreach music instruction. There are currently another 55 children on their waiting list. Graffeo shared that the best way of placing those in a class is through additional volunteer music teachers.

Many former students have gone on to college to major in music, receive special scholarships and recognition, and join the education field as instructors and teachers. One noted Joy of Music graduate, Taber Gamble, returned to the school earlier this year and presented a benefit concert. He attended University of Hartford under scholarship and is currently studying at the Juilliard School’s Graduate Jazz Studies Program under Wynton Marsalis.

The school’s premier annual benefit “Holiday Sparkles & Spirits” will be held this Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Cherokee Country Club with lots of good food, drink and holiday cheer.

On Wednesday, December 9 the students will perform from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Courtyard Senior Living at 815 East Inskip Drive and admission is free.

The Winter Recital is at the Shannondale Retirement Center at 810 Vanosdale Road on December 10 at 6:30 p.m.

For more information about the school, visit www.joyofmusicschool.org or call (865)525-6806.