WCM Awarded Grant from the NEA

NEA Grants for Arts Projects

WCM Awarded Grant from the NEA

Two Acclaimed Artists to Join 2020 Summer Music Institute

Wednesday, May 12, 2021


(MILWAUKEE) — The National Endowment for the Arts has announced that the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit community music school, was selected as part of the NEA’s Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2021 funding. More than 1,000 projects across America totaling nearly $27 million were selected during this second round.

Grants for Arts Projects (GAP) is the principal grant category of the National Endowment for the Arts, supporting public engagement with, and access to, various forms of art across the nation, the creation of excellent art, learning in the arts at all stages of life, and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life.

The Conservatory is just one of seven Milwaukee-based organizations to receive support, which will allow WCM to bring in two renowned guest artists for its 2021 Summer Music Institute and launch the WCM MusiCreation Station, a mobile music-making experience for the community.

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 Wisconsin Conservatory of Music 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

Eric Tillich, president and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, said the grant will help strengthen the nonprofit school’s mission: “Inspiring individuals and communities through exceptional music education, accessible to all.”

Through these initiatives, the Conservatory continues to create pathways for underserved students. In 2018, the Conservatory raised more than $200,000 for private lesson scholarships and financial aid.

2021 Summer Music Institute

Summer Music Institute is open to students entering grades 3 – 12 and is made possible with support from the Milwaukee Public Schools Partnership for the Arts & Humanities. The week-long camp, held from July 12 – 16, is offered to Milwaukee county residents at the reduced cost of $45 per student.

The first guest artist, Brandon Boyd, has been nationally active in social justice issues, including directing a women’s prison glee club in Tallahassee. He appears regularly as a conductor, clinician, composer in residence, collaborative pianist, and lecturer for conferences, collegiate choirs, choral festivals, and workshops. He is assistant director of choral activities and an assistant professor of choral music education at University of Missouri.

The second guest artist, Bolokada Conde, is a master drummer from Kissidougou, Guinea. He is an expert of Malinke or Mandinka rhythms, one of the world’s foremost djembefolas, and was featured in the IMAX movie, “PULSE: A Stomp Odyssey.” He has been performing and teaching in the United States since 2014.

WCM MusiCreation Station – Coming Summer 2021

The Conservatory’s MusiCreation Station will travel to area neighborhoods, offering students and community members the opportunity to create digital compositions with WCM faculty and local guest artists.

Complete with microphones, a mallet station, drum kits, percussion pads, keyboards, speakers, and equipment to provide half-day jam sessions, the MusiCreation Station van will help students  create beats, write their own lyrics, and tell their stories through song creation. At the end of the summer, a crowdsourced soundtrack will be shared at a public event.

2021 Summer Music Institute Guest Artists

Brandon A. Boyd

Brandon A. Boyd

Dr. Brandon A. Boyd is the Assistant Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at the University of Missouri, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in choral conducting and choral music education. Boyd appears regularly as a conductor, clinician, composer-in-residence, collaborative pianist, and presenter for All-States, conferences, conventions, collegiate choirs, church choirs, and choral festivals.

As a proponent of choral singing to build community, his research interests include organizing choirs for the homeless, identifying the social and physical effects of choral singing on senior citizens, and creating authentic field experiences for music therapy and choral music education students. For three years, Dr. Boyd co-directed three choral community partnerships in Florida: The Tallahassee Senior Choir, RAA Middle School Partnership Choir, (university students and middle school singers), and the MTC Women’s Prison Glee Club (university students singing with women housed in a correctional facility).



Bolokada Conde

Bolokada Conde

Bolokada Conde is a true Master Djembefola (master drummer), expert of Malinke Rhythms and one of world’s best djembe players.

Bolokada was a young musical prodigy who became a sensation in the Sankaran region of Guinea, West Africa. As a master folklorist, he became the premier djembe player of all the major village celebrations in the region for many years.

Bolokada joined the world famous Les Percussion du Guinee to replace the legendary Noumoudy Keïta as their lead drummer. He traveled and performed in major performance venues all over the world since 1996 and was even featured in the IMAX movie PULSE: a Stomp Odyssey. He has conducted percussion workshops all over the US and Europe, and he has released two musical cd’s Morowaya and Sankaran.



kettle moraine school district

To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.