COVID Programming @ WCCMA

VIDEO: YouTube Playlist with links to public and unlisted recordings:–Hl3cSb9SA-KcR
CALENDAR: Listing of Events (scroll down to past events):


In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing
About the dark times.

– Bertolt Brecht, motto to Svendborg Poems, 1939

Founded by Claremont native Melissa Richmond in 2008, the West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts (WCCMA) brings professional music and arts experiences, diverse musicians, and educational opportunity to the underserved and low-income community of Claremont NH, and the wider Upper Valley region. Our role is to bring great music to our community, and great community to our music.

To achieve our mission, we cultivate a diverse and eclectic family: local artists whom we pay a living wage for art therapy and music lessons; national performers who commit to residencies in our schools; international award-winning artists commissioned for work that celebrates our region. We are committed to offering performances and workshops without charge, ensuring all in our region have myriad opportunities to enjoy the arts, nurture their talents, and experience the benefits associated with creativity. 

In March 2020, we clearly saw the devastating effects the Covid pandemic would have on the students and citizens of our region. Education gaps widened due to lack of broadband access; childhood development stunted thanks to food insecurity; a rise in poverty levels due to a 4000% increase in unemployment; isolation taking a toll on the elderly who make up 20% of Claremont’s adult population; a community mourning for beloved gatherings; fear of the economic effects resulting from a loss in arts-based tourism.

Thus it was with trademark flexibility that WCCMA responded to the growing needs of our community by adapting our 2020-21 programming with a strategic investment of time, talent and resources to “Engage, Educate and Nurture.”

Thanks to investments in the below programs, we now have the systems and technology to stream concerts and education programs and shape them to our audience’s needs: barriers of time, geography, age, and familiarity have been eliminated by virtual events. By assembling and training a new technical team, purchasing technology, and sourcing lodging and performance spaces, we were able to collaborate with the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College and Saint-Gaudens Memorial on four separate concerts when they were restricted from using their people and spaces. We adapted our education programs, feeding the creativity and souls of our students, neighbors and friends in this time of isolation. We expanded our volunteer base to support our adapted programs and continued to work on plans for our new home. Our adaptations prove WCCMA to be an innovative model of excellence for the music and arts world. Thus, we feel well-positioned to move into our bright future and achieve our vision of a community where all engage actively in the social, emotional, and intellectual benefits of creativity. 


Created in collaboration with our Artistic Advisory Board, our reimagined Professional Concert Series provides unique opportunities for our community to participate in the arts and is a springboard for future programming and engagement. Since May of 2020, our Professional Concert Series was adapted to include: 

Augmented-Reality Concerts — In partnership with Saint-Gaudens Memorial we are excited to be part of an innovative new virtual program that creates holograms of performing artists. Artists are supplied with a green screen and software that “beams” their image from their living room or studio into remote locations: imagine a sitar player on a tractor in a New Hampshire farm field, or a grand piano at the top of one of the Presidentials. Audience members can watch from their phones, with or without re-usable headset glasses.  

Salon Series – With its DNA based in WCCMA’s hallmark intimacy, our new Salon Series brings the connection between our artists and our community to a whole new level. Our internationally renowned professional artists perform or record LIVE from their homes or ours, followed by curated conversations, streaming world-class music into our patrons’ homes. For 3 concerts in Summer 2020 and the entirety of the 2021 Season performances will be presented in Partnership with Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park.

Recording Studio for Digital Performance — During Summer 2020 WCCMA and our partners in technical expertise DeGange Sound Solutions provided a space and expertise for WCCMA and our partner artists and organizations to record concerts according to safe COVID protocols. This included hosting WCCMA collaborations with Saint-Gaudens Memorial, the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College, and the Kennedy Center.


Elevating Artists of Color –  Our 2020 and 2021 seasons highlight black composers, black classical composers who identify as female, and indigenous performers. For 2020 our family show included Akwaaba Ensemble with West African drumming and dancing. We are actively celebrating and elevating the voices of people of color in performances, educational experiences, and materials. We continue to actively recruit diverse staff and board members.

Access —  As with all WCCMA’s programming, our adapted 2020 Season was offered for free or by freewill donation; all paid performances had scholarship options. We continue this practice into 2021 and the future.


In addition to moving existing camps, lessons, and recitals on-line, during Covid we introduced new education opportunities: 

ArtEx – ArtEx is a new year-round program designed to introduce middle and high-school aged students to a wide variety of creative opportunities, cultivate connection, and nurture creative thinking. ArtEx provides members monthly virtual content created by incredible artists from our region and all over the world. Our most popular program through ArtEx has been Basic Acting: Creatures and Characters with Mary Gaetz. These Zoom workshops have drawn middle school age participants from Claremont, as well as students from Canada and the west coast.

Arts Packs (new) – Art Packs encourage creativity, provide an outlet for emotions, and demonstrate compassion to those most isolated. Each pack includes non-internet sourced art supplies, music, and designed activity plans. Art Packs were delivered to 40 residents at Sullivan County Health Care (Long Term Care Facility) in March 2021 and are slated to be delivered to youth in spring 2021. 

We are optimistic all our investments made during the pandemic will largely remain in place and increase access to and interest in the arts for years to come.

WCCMA Pandemic-time Events

MON, DEC 7, 2020 The Bach Tree: 6 Essentials for Creativity in Music
Online Event
More info at:


FRI, NOV 20, 2020 Dana Lyn and Kyle Sanna (Augmented Reality Concert)


FRI, NOV 6, 2020 Ensemble Schumann: Affairs of the Heart (Augmented Reality Concert)


MON, OCT 12, 2020 Celebrating Indigenous and Immigrant Heritage with Mali Obomsawin and Jose Lezcano
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts – Online Event
Available at:


TUE, SEP 22, 2020 ArtEx: Basic Acting: Characters and Creatures
Online Event
More info:


SUN, SEP 20, 2020 Creations for a New Day and Reflections on Home
Online Event
With Kinan Azmeh and Dinuk Wijeratne
Available at:


FRI, SEP 11, 2020 Francesca Anderegg, violin: Invisible Threads (Augmented Reality Concert)
Online Event


SUN, SEP 6, 2020 Family Picnic at Home Day: Dance and Drum!
West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts – Online Event
Available at:


SUN, JUL 26, 2020 Danae Doerken, piano: East and West (Augmented Reality Concert)
World Technology Premiere – in Partnership with Saint-Gaudens Memorial
Online Event


WED, JUL 15, 2020 Classical Salon Series: Sally Pinkas and Friends
Hopkins Center for the Arts, Dartmouth College – Hopkins Center for the Arts, Dartmouth College
Available at:


FRI, MAR 27, 2020 Live Stream: Kirsten Becker Senior Recital
West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts – West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts
Available at:

*** Other collaborative projects:

15th Annual Rosamond Edmondson Memorial Concert 
“…of Love and Nature” – Sally Pinkas, piano
With guest Melissa Richmond, flute
Produced at WCCMA for Saint-Gaudens Memorial
Available at:

Women Composers of New England with Virginia Eskin and Friends
With guests Melissa Richmond, flute and Angela Biggs, voice
Produced at WCCMA for Saint-Gaudens Memorial
Available at:

Classical Salon Series: Filippo Ciabatti & Friends
Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra Director Filippo Ciabatti is joined by four members of the talented Horak family—Paul, Marcia, David and Anya
Produced at WCCMA for the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College
Available at: