Giving all children access to music through inspiration, instruments and instruction.
What began as the vision of Northwest composer and pianist Michael Allen Harrison has evolved into a community effort that shares the joy, the healing, the learning, and the life-changing gifts music has to offer. The Snowman Foundation was formed 1999 to fill the gap in music left by a lack of funds in schools. The foundation’s primary source of funding comes from our annual Ten Grands concert and since 2000, we have raised nearly two million dollars! There’s nothing more ubiquitous than music. We hear it every day. On the radio, in TV shows, on our computers, at the mall. It’s in our phones, in the games we play, it’s everywhere we turn. And we love it. There’s also nothing quite as powerful as music. It can alter our mood. It can change a life; it can even unite and transform an entire generation. But have you ever stopped to think about where musicians come from? Are they magically born with an instrument in their hands? Are they savants who can pick up a score and hear the music? Ask one. They’ll likely tell a different story, one that involves a gift of an instrument at an early age; patient encouragement and tutelage from someone who already knew how to play; lots of hard work striving to be better. Yes, people who make music have a talent, but like any artist, their talent needs a patron in order to grow, develop and thrive. At The Snowman Foundation, we understand the importance of music and we’re committed to providing the instruments, instructors and inspiration young people need to develop. After all, if we fail to keep creating musicians, who will make the music? The Snowman Foundation provides access to music for all kids!
Ten Grands features ten grand pianos and ten concert pianists playing a variety of classical and modern pieces both simultaneously and individually. Ten Grands is presented just once a year in Portland at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. The 2015 concert features Michael Allen Harrison, Tom Grant, Sergeant Jim Quackenbush, Hailey Kay Rowden, Mac Potts, David Lanz, JJ Guo, Michael Kaeshammer, Colleen Adent, and Andrea Johnson.
Air-guitar is great for parties, but it won’t do children any good. They need real instruments – and there are many out there sitting silent. Play it Forward brings young musicians and unused instruments together. Grandma’s piano, the flute you haven’t played since high school, that old guitar under the bed. you donate it, we fix it up, and a deserving child gets a gift that will help him or her improve their musical abilities, their cognitive powers, and their future.
The Piano Forte Guild is a spectacular members-only group for those able to make an annual gift of at least $1,000. This group’s impact is significant, as they use their collective donations to bring music into a child’s life. Each year, the group comes together and identifies a recipient, or recipients, who will be gifted with a grand piano (or pianos!). That recipient is introduced at Ten Grands Portland each year.