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Program Support

Gifts to Program Support are gifts that make memories and change lives. Program Support funds the unique and dynamic programs that create “aha” moments outside of the classroom– such as master classes, guest artist visits, community outreach programs and career development initiatives–as well as the inspirational experiences that come from participating in ensembles and touring.

Program Support is also an essential connection to the greater University. Beloved non-major ensembles–such as the Men’s and Women’s Glee Clubs and the Michigan Marching Band–connect students from across campus, instill a lifelong appreciation of the performing arts, and often define a student’s Michigan years. These cherished programs are only possible with program support from devoted donors.

A gift to Program Support can be as broad or specific as you desire. Here are some existing programs and funds to consider:

The Music, Theatre & Dance Fund supports a wide range of programmatic initiatives that address the School’s most important imperative: excellence in the artistic process and engagement with audiences and communities. These are programs that foster innovation, create immersive learning opportunities, provide real-world experiences, and offer invaluable interactions with celebrated artists.

The EXCEL Lab  (Excellence in Entrepreneurship, Career Empowerment & Leadership)provides SMTD students with exceptional career development skills and entrepreneurial training to build viable careers in the performing arts. It features courses, co-curricular workshops, ongoing mentoring, and $100,000 in annual student project and venture funding.

The Gershwin Initiative is a long-term partnership between SMTD and the families of George and Ira Gershwin to undertake a two-part initiative that will bring the music of the Gershwins to students, scholars, performers, and audiences across campus and worldwide. Initiative components include a multi-volume scholarly edition of the Gershwins’ works as well as educational and performance opportunities.

Friends Groups provide vital support and enrichment opportunities for our performing artists and ensembles:

  • Friends of Dance: provides funding for summer scholarships for students to attend dance intensives; supports performance opportunities; and provides for master classes and workshops with guest artists.
  • Friends of Musical Theatre: provides scholarship support for musical theatre students by inviting guest directors, choreographers, agents, casting directors and other artists to work with students; and funds the annual Senior Showcase, a tremendously successful New York City presentation which introduces the graduating class to industry professionals.
  • Friends of Opera: provides scholarship assistance to vocal students and ensures faculty can continue to recruit the most gifted operatic talent to our campus; supports production costs for opera workshop; provides full opera scores for students performing in the staged opera productions; and provides an award to help with academic expenses for the student winners of the Friends of Opera annual vocal competition.
  • Friends of Theatre & Drama: provides vital scholarships to attract the most talented prospective students; brings visiting artists, guest directors, agents, and other industry insiders to Ann Arbor to work with students in person; and creates performance opportunities our students need to succeed in the competitive world of theatre, film, and television.
  • Friends of University Bands: provides support for all band programs and ensembles at SMTD.
  • Friends of University Choirs: provides support for all choir programs and ensembles at SMTD.
  • Friends of University Orchestras: provides support for all orchestra programs and ensembles at SMTD.

Departmental Enrichment Funds provide necessary and targeted support crucial to continue the tradition of excellence in the following departments:

  • Carillon
  • Chamber Music
  • Composition
  • Music Education
  • Music & Technology
  • Music Theory
  • Musicology
  • Organ
  • Performing Arts Technology
  • Piano
  • Jazz
  • Strings
  • Winds & Percussion

Non-major ensembles allow all Michigan students the chance to participate in the musical/performing arts, and, in turn, help to make music a key part of their Michigan experience. Specific gifts can be made in support of:

  • Michigan Marching Band
  • Men’s Glee Club
  • Women’s Glee Club

The SMTD Global Tour Fund was created by alumni of the 1961 University Symphony Band (USB) Russian Tour Band to provide current students with the kind of  life-changing experience that the ‘61 USB members enjoyed during their historic 15-week tour of the Soviet Union and the Middle East. Touring, which combines performance, travel, and cultural exchange, provides an unparalleled opportunity for our students to excel and engage in professional performance experiences. Recent tours included the Symphony Band’s three-week tour of China in 2011, the Chamber Choir’s two-week tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2014, and a jazz ensemble tour of China in 2017. Future tours depend on program support and passionate donors.

For information on how you can support the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, please call the Department of Development & External Relations at 734-647-2035, or contact one of our gift officers directly. You can also write to us at:

University of Michigan
School of Music, Theatre & Dance
Office of Development & External Relations
2005 Baits Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2075