2018 Annual Report with 2018-19 Season Highlights


Our primary mission at the Community Center for the Arts is to connect people through shared experiences in music. We believe that the connections we create make our world a more creative, humane, and interesting place. In the course of a year we enjoy successes and encounter challenges every step of the way. Here are some of the highlights from our 2018-19 season:


Maria Del Toro, originally from Puerto Rico, has been teaching violin at C4A since 2011!

We firmly believe that greatest joy in music comes from playing with others. Our private and shared lessons are specifically tailored to help our students reach their personal musical goals and prepare them to participate in bands, orchestras, and other music groups.

Our teaching artists can work with all ages and skill levels: Private lessons address the needs of the individual; shared lessons provide a technical foundation based on the interests of participants. 

Our faculty includes some of the finest artists on the local classical, folk, rock, and jazz music scene—giving our students access to expertise in a wide range of musical styles.

We also offer individual and group instruction in flow arts: a combination of juggling, object manipulation, dance, balancing, performing arts moves, and related circus skills.

Steve Meadows, a native of east central Illinois, has been teaching guitar at C4A since 2013

Our teachers are professional performers, both veteran and emerging artists, and many hold advanced music degrees. Additionally, 3 of our teachers are certified to teach Alexander Technique.

During the 2018-19 season we added 5 artists to our teaching roster to meet specific needs: Jonny Beckett, a jazz specialist to teach saxophone & clarinet; Loba Chudak, who is equally at home playing orchestral flute, recorder, and native flute; John Gantz, a long-time player of 3-finger style banjo; Dave Madden, well-known in the area for his abilities on drumset; and Leigh Meador, who specializes in jazz piano. 

While we’re always happy to bring on new teachers, we are proud to note that our continuing teachers choose to remain at C4A year after year, contributing stability and continuity to our pool of teaching artists. We had a total of 21 studio teachers during the 2018-19 season.  Of these, 12 have been with C4A for over 6 years, and some as many as 12 years!



Members of C4A’s Jazz Band in rehearsal

Ensembles are the keystone of our organization and one of the best ways to create relationships around music. Most of our ensembles continue running year after year, allowing community musicians to really get to know one another.

AND–because our ensembles are based on community demand and the passions of our teaching artists–there’s always something new coming up at C4A!

Where besides C4A would you find Country Music, Jazz, and Middle Eastern Music ensembles under the same roof—right along with a baroque orchestra, African drumming circle, and an award-winning kids’ string band?

Bow-Dacious String Band onstage at the Urbana Sweet Corn Festival

Our ensembles give back to the greater community, often performing for charitable and civic events.

We welcome opportunities to collaborate with other community groups! Some of our community partners are listed here.

Members of Olde Music Baroque & Renaissance Ensemble; the group played for a costume ball presented by the English Country Dancers.


We are grateful for the support we receive from this community, and welcome chances to reciprocate. Naturally our contributions are usually in the form of music! Here are some things we did during the 2018-19 season:

  • Our teaching artists presented “Music Mornings,” a free Saturday morning musical experience for very young children and their caregivers.
  • The Bow-Dacious String Band performed for the Junior League’s Festival of Trees to help raise money that supports programs for families and children.
  • We hosted our 5th annual old-time jam weekend–free to all players!
  • The Marvelous Cretaceous Band assembled before 7:00 am on a Saturday and play in frigid conditions to cheer on the runners in the Illinois Marathon!
  • The Bow-Dacious String Band performed at season opening for the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
  • We offered free music and art workshops during the Boneyard Arts Festival.
  • We hosted events for the 10th annual CU Folk and Roots Festival.
  • We provided exhibit space for local professional and student visual artists.

The Marvelous Cretaceous Band, seen in the background, played to encourage runners in the Illinois Marathon.


Our 2018 operating budget was $222,000.

Tuition fees came to $183,584, and the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois granted us $2,215 to purchase some djembes (hand drums) to use in our new African Music program.

We received $35,569 in donations during the year.

The remaining income in 2018 was from facilities rentals.


The biggest part of our expenditures are for programming, occupancy, and staffing.

Teacher payments and program supplies totaled $127,153 in 2018. Occupancy, including rent and utilities, came to $42,466, and $34,973 went to administrative expenses, including administrative staff, and bookkeeping.

We awarded $3185 in work/study arrangements and scholarships, and spent $3796 on advertising.

The balance of our expenses consists of insurance, bank fees, licensing, and professional affiliaition membership dues.

At this writing we’re nearing the end of the fall 2019 semester and it’s been a great season so far! Recitals and the holiday season are right around the corner, and we’re already looking forward to spring semester.

We are in the planning stages for initiatives to build more connections that will expand our reach in the community so we can engage more people from different social and cultural backgrounds.

In the opening paragraph we mentioned encountering challenges.  Here are two that we face on a nearly daily basis:

  • We need to make some updates to our facility and equipment to keep providing the best space possible for making music.
  • Requests for financial assistance are greater than available funding.  We do what we can, but we want to do more!
Can you help us out with a tax-deductible donation? As a non-profit organization we rely on financial help from people like you, friends who recognize the value of community arts education. With your support we will continue to award scholarships, upgrade equipment and facilities, and create innovative and relevant music programming.

When you support us, you…
…allow a deserving child, who would otherwise not be able to afford lessons, to receive musicial instruction.

…provide a place where entire families can come together around music.

…create a space for adults in our greater community to build relationships with each other that bridge personal and cultural boundaries.

…help professional musicians make a living wage so they can stay in our community and enrich our local music scene.