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Spotlight on Our Donors

Opportunities | Development Staff | Giving Options | Donor Spotlight

In their own words, faculty members and local business donors say why they choose to support the Department.


Applewood at Amherst, a member of the Loomis Communities

Much to our delight, Applewood at Amherst became our first Pops Gala Event Sponsor! Applewood at Amherst is a member of the Loomis Communities, a not-for-profit organization consisting of four retirement communities in the Pioneer Valley. Loomis Communities has partnered with the Department for several years as a Table Sponsor and made the leap in 2010 to the Event Sponsor category. While there are many Seat and Table Sponsorships, each with its own set of benefits, the sole Event Sponsorship brings with it major visibility at the Pops and throughout the academic year.

Susan Moore (pictured right), Director of Sales & Marketing for the Loomis Communities, finds the sponsorship, "a very cost effective way to get my message across compared to direct mail, TV and radio. The kind of person I want to reach is right there in the room at the Pops concert." A 1984 graduate who holds an MBA from the UMass Amherst School of Management, Moore knows that many of the people who attend the Pops Gala are Amherst-area residents. Some of these people are likely to be the appropriate age to become residents at Applewood, or the children of residents. "I could spend the same amount of money, put ads in the newspaper, but not be sure if the ads are seen by the people I want to see them."
Susan Moore


Current residents also benefit. The Sponsorship gives them the opportunity to attend Pops at little or no expense. "After the concert I got a lot of very positive feedback from Applewood residents who attended the 2010 Pops. They were pleased that Applewood was so positively featured; it made them feel good about where they live. Also we have a very focused group of residents who are very appreciative of the arts in Amherst and of people who sponsor the Arts in Amherst. Our Chief Executive Officer, Carol Katz (pictured left), is a long time supporter of the arts and attended the Pops Galas even before the Loomis Communities became sponsors," said Moore. Arranging the sponsorship's benefits and cost package was not an obstacle for Moore. "Marilyn Kushick, from the Music and Dance Department, is very easy to work with. We will definitely be sponsors again!"

For information on sponsorship, contact Ms. Kushick, the Director of Publicity and Fundraising, at 413 545 0018 or


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The Piano Maintenance and Repair Fund — created by Nadine Shank, Professor of Piano

Nadine ShankProfessor of Piano Nadine Shank has created a Piano Maintenance and Repair Fund for the Department's 68 pianos. Our pianos are in constant use and to keep them in good shape, funds are needed for ongoing repairs, some extensive maintenance, and a rebuilding program. "When the piano tuner comes to me with a list of repairs, it is so much fun to say, "Go ahead, go ahead!" said Shank enthusiastically.

It is vital for our students and faculty, pianists and non-pianists to have well maintained instruments. For example, when a voice teacher was hired, the Fund was used to completely rebuild the piano in her new studio. "We couldn't have her working on a poor piano," said Shank, who has been on the faculty since 1980. The very generous gifts that she continues to make, enable the department to work closely with the piano technicians to create a multi-year repair plan. The department is also very grateful to the matching funds from Julie Candler Hayes, Dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, and the Chancellor, which greatly enhance Shank's own gift.

"It is more fun to see my money working now, than think about the benefits that will come after I retire. Basically, I love all the students at UMass Amherst and will do what I can to make their lives more enriched musically-through my own teaching, accompanying them in recitals, and by giving them access to better maintained instruments." Shank also gives a scholarship for an outstanding undergraduate collaborative pianist.

Professor Shank comes from a family of musicians and a tradition of giving. Her mother, a classical and big band singer and pianist, volunteered for innumerable hours to organize music festivals and serve as treasurer for the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs. Her father was a clarinetist and saxophonist who served in World War II; her parents met while performing in big bands. "I heard the sound of his taped radio shows of big bands throughout my childhood." Her grandmother, a pianist and organist, played for silent films.

"Also, I donate because I am forever grateful to the 'universal life force' which has allowed me to have this wonderful position with my fabulous colleagues for such a long time."

Dance Department