Winchester Community Music School

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aka Winchester Community Music School Trust   |   Winchester, MA   |

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Winchester Community Music School

EIN: 04-6510295


Winchester Community Music School is a vibrant regional hub for world-class music education and programming. Our mission is to provide outstanding and diverse musical education and performance, accessible to all in Winchester, neighboring communities, and beyond. Understanding the power of music to inspire, unite, and bring joy to learners and listeners alike, our core values include commitments to: support excellence in teaching and a love of learning; create a warm and welcoming environment for all ages and abilities; support a generous financial aid program; engage in outreach and service to our community. At WCMS, we continuously nurture innovative offerings and fresh musical opportunities to reflect the needs of our over 800students, who come from 41 towns and many walks of life.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Ms. Laurie Russell

Main address

407 Highland Avenue

Winchester, MA 01890 USA

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Subject area info

Arts education


Performing arts education

Population served info

Children and youth


NTEE code info

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Music (A68)

Performing Arts Schools (A6E)

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

A Private Lesson and Group Class Program

The majority of WCMS's students are enrolled in private lessons or group classes and the school offers instruction in a variety of musical genres including traditional lessons in classical music, jazz, pop/rock, blues, and folk music. WCMS offers instruction in all orchestral and band instruments, voice, piano, guitar, and harmonica. The staff and faculty work with each student individually to create a well-rounded musical education experience. The school offers high quality instruction to musicians of all levels, from beginners to pre-professionals, and has students ranging from toddlers to adults.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

WCMS offers ensembles and bands for children, teens, and adults. The ensemble program encompasses classical chamber groups, jazz ensembles, pop/rock bands, vocal groups and early childhood ensembles. All ensembles meet weekly, are coached by a member of the WCMS faculty, and perform at school events and at outreach opportunities in the community. WCMS offers a full range of ensembles including: Classical chamber music ensembles; Singing for Young Children; Jazz Ensembles; Beatles Ensemble; Rock Bands for teens and adults; Blues Ensemble; Percussion Ensemble; Saxophone Ensemble; Trumpet Ensemble; Motown Ensembles; and Jenks Recorder Ensemble.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

WCMS believes that all children are musical. The school's early childhood classes allow parents and children to explore their musical world in a supportive and fun environment. Children have the opportunity to sing, listen, move, and play instruments while learning the rudiments of music. The curriculum is based on the philosophy of Swiss music educator Emile Jaques-Dalcroze and all WCMS early childhood faculty members are professionally trained teachers and musicians. The early childhood classes offer an age appropriate curriculum that allows students to make a natural progression through the program and into private instrumental lessons and music theory classes.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers

WCMS offers summer lessons and programs to allow for learning at a flexible and more relaxed pace. The summer programs enable students to continue with lessons, take up a new instrument, test out a new genre, and participate in a summer ensemble program. The six-week semester provides an opportunity for focused study, rapid growth, and collaborative music. The WCMS faculty has also developed a number of special programs to enrich the summer months with focused learning. These programs include: Chamber Music Festival and Piano Festival, along with other special offerings based on current interests.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

WCMS is committed to being a musical resource for the larger community beyond those enrolled at the school. WCMS fulfills this commitment in a variety of ways: Community Music Making Activities such as Broadway Nights and Workshops; Outreach performances and education in the community; and Concerts and Musical Events such as Faculty Recital Series, Concert for Kids Series, MusicFest, and Music MAYnia.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts - Member 1985

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of students served weekly

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Children and youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

The enrollment have increased as COVID-19 restrictions have begun to be eased.

Number of people on the organization's email list

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Children and youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of professional faculty

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Artists and performers, Teachers

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Total number of free performances given

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Children and youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

WCMS hosts over 100 free or low cost concerts and events a year. The number of perfmances in 2020 were greatly reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Communities served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Children and youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

WCMS serves Winchester and surrounding communities.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

AS A PART OF A STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS that began in 2013, WCMS developed five strategic priorities in 2014 to guide Winchester Community Music School for the next several years. With input gathered from nearly 200 stakeholders through interviews, surveys, and a focus group, the strategic priorities represented a unified vision for WCMS, with goals in five areas.

The five strategic priorities affirmed WCMS's mission to provide outstanding and diverse music education and performances, accessible to all, in Winchester, neighboring communities, and beyond.

As 2019 came to a close, the school's leadership reviewed and refined the five priorities, reflecting all of the work that had been accomplished to date. Setting the stage for how we wish to serve our community into the future, the Board of Trustees adopted the following five priorities in May of 2020 to help guide us in our planning and decisions for the next several years.

These priorities truly represent a shared vision for WCMS's future. We hope you will join us in embracing these strategic priorities and making this vision WCMS's reality.

Strategic Priority #1: Program Development and Expansion
Create and implement programming that provides greater artistic growth and depth both on campus and with collaborations in the community.
We will continue to fulfill our mission to provide outstanding and diverse music education.

Strategic Priority #2: Marketing and Strategic Communication
Develop strategies for more effective communication with internal and external audiences.
Using multiple strategies across the four pillars of our brand – messaging, visual identity, customer experience, and communications – we will refine and expand our communications to engage a variety of audiences. We will gauge the effectiveness of our marketing and communication efforts using data analysis and use the data collected to inform key decisions.

Strategic Priority #3: Customer Experience Improvement
Assess every point of contact to enhance customer service and safety.
We are committed to proactively cultivating a warm and welcoming environment to ensure WCMS is accessible to all. We will strive to be responsive and adapt to the changing needs of our constituency.

Strategic Priority #4: Employee Engagement and Satisfaction
Maintain a supportive, diverse, and inclusive workplace consistent with attracting and retaining high quality teaching artists and administrative staff.
We are committed to providing our employees with a supportive workplace culture. We will strive to be responsive to the needs and professional development of our teachers and staff.

Strategic Priority #5: Facilities Alignment with Performance & Programming Needs
Plan, organize fundraising, and implement building renovations to meet the current and future performance and programming needs of the school.
We will examine fundraising potential for a capital campaign while continuing to refine plans for a building renovation and expansion. We will complete planning and construction in accordance with our fundraising capability.

WCMS's board, administration, and faculty have embraced these five priorities as a shared vision for the future. The strategic planning process was timed to align well with the school's budgeting process to allow for work toward some goals to be accomplished as part of its normal operating budget. The board and key staff review and create action plans and KPI's for each priority every June.

We are pleased that our current strategic plan adopted in May 2020 has served the school well, not only through the pandemic but also as the school emerged back to full operations. The interruption of the pandemic tested the schools resiliency and helped prove the schools priorities going forward. Winchester Community Music School (WCMS) is now thriving more than before the pandemic.
The school continues to offer private lesson instruction at its core along with group instruction and ensembles. Post-pandemic, our early childhood and elementary group music classes, and Suzuki piano program are filled, often to capacity. The ensemble program, including our classical chamber music and rock/pop/jazz bands, is also growing, with the launch of a robust Saturday program for chamber music. People want to make music together in a more social setting, not just one-on-one. WCMS is diversifying its instrument offerings and genres, with more global and Americana instrument instruction. Weve also started to build out our music therapy programming. Outreach into local assisted living, nursing homes, and senior centers for group music therapy has returned, some of our early childhood classes are designed for students who may have learning differences, and we are hiring more private lesson teaching artists with adaptive teaching experience for students who would be best served with an instructor with more specialized training in learning differences.
During the pandemic, WCMS rebranded with a fresh and forward-facing approach that is reflective of the high caliber of the school and its more diversified offerings. We recently launched the schools website to complement our rebranding, as well as to improve customer experience.
With the schools ongoing efforts to ensure that WCMS continues to be a warm and welcoming environment, the staff always looks at ways to refine its new student and employee onboarding efforts. We review the customers journey at all touchpoints. As our community of students and audiences broadens and diversifies, we want to ensure that all who enter our school can see themselves in the artwork on the walls, the choices of music we study and perform, and the people who teach, work, and govern the organization.
WCMS employs and retains teaching artists and an administrative team of very high quality. We support them with competitive levels of compensation, professional development opportunities, grants, performance opportunities, and a workplace that is safe, welcoming, and musically well-equipped and maintained. Faculty members play a key role in the artistic development of the schools offerings as well as have a voice in the schools leadership.
Lastly, the school continues to work towards its building renovation and expansion to meet its current needs as well as future generations at WCMS. We are currently fundraising toward this effort and working with a talented architectural team to bring this goal to fruition soon.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 9.37 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 1.8 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 11% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Winchester Community Music School

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Aug 01 - Jul 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Winchester Community Music School

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Aug 01 - Jul 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Winchester Community Music School

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Aug 01 - Jul 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Winchester Community Music School’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$25,019 $217,017 $915,309 -$236,326 $109,774
As % of expenses -1.3% 11.4% 52.7% -12.0% 4.9%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$132,237 $117,082 $817,726 -$346,022 $5,502
As % of expenses -6.5% 5.8% 44.5% -16.7% 0.2%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $1,935,537 $2,121,619 $2,651,514 $2,332,765 $3,051,134
Total revenue, % change over prior year -5.4% 9.6% 25.0% -12.0% 30.8%
Program services revenue 83.6% 75.4% 50.1% 69.5% 60.2%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income -2.5% 11.9% 29.7% 6.9% 4.4%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 11.6% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 10.4% 9.6% 7.8% 9.6% 33.6%
Other revenue 8.5% 3.1% 12.4% 2.3% 1.7%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $1,929,720 $1,909,518 $1,738,417 $1,967,013 $2,231,657
Total expenses, % change over prior year 1.4% -1.0% -9.0% 13.1% 13.5%
Personnel 76.3% 80.0% 78.8% 74.8% 72.4%
Professional fees 1.3% 2.7% 3.1% 5.8% 6.3%
Occupancy 2.2% 1.5% 1.9% 1.8% 2.3%
Interest 1.8% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 3.4% 3.0% 4.2% 2.8% 3.0%
All other expenses 15.1% 12.9% 12.0% 14.7% 16.0%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Total expenses (after depreciation) $2,036,938 $2,009,453 $1,836,000 $2,076,709 $2,335,929
One month of savings $160,810 $159,127 $144,868 $163,918 $185,971
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $271,565 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $584,304
Total full costs (estimated) $2,197,748 $2,168,580 $1,980,868 $2,512,192 $3,106,204

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Months of cash 2.0 2.4 3.2 1.5 1.7
Months of cash and investments 23.7 26.1 35.1 27.5 26.4
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 20.8 23.8 32.3 25.0 19.5
Balance sheet composition info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Cash $315,298 $384,811 $466,033 $240,622 $318,632
Investments $3,493,331 $3,770,899 $4,618,971 $4,271,683 $4,595,117
Receivables $5,248 $22,923 $4,940 $6,419 $119,376
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $4,393,583 $4,425,948 $4,460,926 $4,526,622 $5,108,228
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 48.1% 50.0% 51.8% 53.5% 49.4%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 7.8% 10.2% 9.5% 6.8% 7.0%
Unrestricted net assets $5,615,947 $5,733,029 $6,550,755 $6,204,733 $6,210,235
Temporarily restricted net assets $30,836 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $30,836 $25,920 $23,719 $32,753 $1,020,317
Total net assets $5,646,783 $5,758,949 $6,574,474 $6,237,486 $7,230,552

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Principal Officer

Ms. Laurie Russell

Laurie Russell, Executive Director of the Winchester Community Music School, holds a Bachelors of Music degree in music education with an emphasis in percussion performance from The Hartt School. With over 20 years of experience in community arts administration, Laurie has taught public school instrumental music, and served as the Associate Director of The Hartt School's Community Division and as a faculty member of the National Center for the Arts in Early Childhood. Laurie has served as co-chair of the National Guild for Community Arts Education's Northeast Chapter and has presented or facilitated at numerous National Guild conferences on the topics of early childhood music programs, evaluation and assessment, strategic planning, and marketing. Laurie continues to serve as a board member of various civic organizations and is an active member of Rotary International, Music Educators National Conference, and Pi Kappa Lambda.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Winchester Community Music School

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Winchester Community Music School

Board of directors
as of 02/23/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Mr. Brian Albrecht

Community Volunteer

Term: 2022 - 2024

Brian Albrecht

Michelle Bergstrom

Karen Maruyama Bolognese

Chen Chen

Anita Colasante

Catherine R. Crabtree

Robert Dietel

Richard Fougere

Lance Grenzeback

Wei Han

Virginia Hung

Leigh Hurd

Michael Loria

Timothy Matthews

Sharon Muentener

Andrea Pejrolo

Ben Shields

Jody Collins Skinner

Susan Verdicchio

Robin Vos

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/22/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/22/2024

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
There are no contractors recorded for this organization.

Professional fundraisers

Fiscal year ending

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 Schedule G

Solicitation activities
Gross receipts from fundraising
Retained by organization
Paid to fundraiser