What is The Front Porch, anyway?
To get a sense of our spirit and mission, check out this short video that aired on the local PBS show, Charlottesville Inside Out, in January of 2017: Charlottesville Inside Out: The Front Porch
And read this article, published in the C-ville weekly in February, 2017: The Front Porch Celebrates Inclusivity at New Location
The Front Porch is a non-profit roots music school based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Our warm, family-friendly environment is a place where inspiration happens: we host classes, workshops, master classes, weekly jams, and performances. Our talented instructors, each professional musicians themselves, offer lessons and group classes in a variety of musical styles, including bluegrass, old time, gospel, acoustic blues, and folk. We are dedicated to educating and experiencing traditional, roots, and folk music and dance.
Inspired by the rich musical heritage of Central Virginia, The Front Porch seeks to create a strong, vibrant musical community comprised of music lovers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. As a non-profit organization, it is our mission to make music inclusive, affordable, and accessible to all. To that end, we offer scholarships, present lots of free programming, and we have priced our classes at a level that is below the national average without compromising the pay scale of our teachers.
The Front Porch began in the home of local educator Emily Morrison, and after one year on the campus of a Montessori school, The Front Porch moved to its current location in downtown Charlottesville in June of 2016. Being downtown, we have been able to significantly expand our services and outreach. More than 100 people come to The Front Porch each week to take classes or study instruments such as fiddle, guitar, banjo, mandolin, dulcimer, djembe, and ukulele. Our weekly jam programs, which are free and open to the public, likewise draw a diverse crowd of 25+ weekly. We host a wide array of performers who offer workshops and concerts in our theater space. We partner with James Monroe’s Highland to co-present the popular Tuesday Tunes series, an outdoor concert series that highlights local performers and food purveyors. We have worked with numerous other community partners, including C-ville Hoedown, International Neighbors, Charlottesville Friends of Old Time Music, Blue Ridge Irish Music School, the Prism Coffeehouse, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Charlottesville, and The Virginia Folklife Program. To date, we have served more than 2,500 people in Central Virginia through our educational, outreach, jam, and performance programs.
The Front Porch was founded with the strong belief that music is a universal language that brings people together. It is a bridge between our past and our future. It allows us to express ourselves creatively and connect with others. Experiencing music together allows us to feel the magic of creation happening in real time, and it requires concrete skills from dedicated instructors, and deep sustained practice to achieve. The Front Porch aims to provide the highest quality educational experience, coupled with opportunities to practice and share in a community setting, so that these rich folk traditions, long enjoyed by Virginians, may be sustained for generations to come.
Our founder, Emily Morrison, was named one of the TomTom 2017 Founders of the Year, an award recognizing leaders who are shaping the future of Charlottesville and inspiring the next generation of founders. Read more about the Front Porch’s founding story by clicking here.