What Is CMI? A Message From Board Chair Melissa Unsell-Smith

Photography by Siggi Ragnar.

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stablished as the education program of the Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio, CMI debuted in summer 2016 with a mission to cultivate classical music education as a gateway to the arts.

In 2018, the Classical Music Institute enriched the artistic curiosity of 60 young students during our summer program. Many of these students don’t have access to classical music education, and during this twoweek program they work with artists from around the world to fine-tune their skills. Without those who believe in the mission of CMI, this program would not be possible and these young students would lose their exposure to the arts.

One of the students, Jaziel Varela, proclaimed, ‘the sound, the feeling when you play–it brings joy to me. All the teachers have helped me explore music as a career. Everyone here has your back and will never let you down.’ These students are brave and bold because they commit to exploring classical music, and some don’t necessarily have family encouragement or support. They rely on CMI faculty for inspiration and learning. These students become the future framework of classical music, whether they pursue mastering their instruments or become an advocate for the arts. We are cultivating a creative ecosystem and a legacy for years to come.

Melissa Unsell-Smith and Brian Smith. Photography by Siggi Ragnar.

With the success of our education program, the long-term goal is to partner with local school districts to establish a year-round, accredited institute. One where classical music education would be at the core of the curriculum offered. Your interest in and support of CMI as an organization directly impacts this program and helps students explore their musical talents and curiosity. I ask you to explore CMI further, and consider how you can inspire the mission and enrich the lives of youth in San Antonio and beyond.

With Gratitude and In Service,

Melissa Unsell-Smith
Board Chair
Classical Music Institute of San Antonio
@melissaunsellsmith