A Note from the Executive Director

2024 got off to a great start for the Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation. 

In its continuing dedication to fostering and promoting music education programs and initiatives in Buffalo and Western New York, and thereby deepening access to (and appreciation of) Americana music in all its forms throughout the region, SAMF kicked off the new year with the announcement of an exciting new collaboration between our foundation, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation’s Arts & Culture Initiative, and the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, in support of the Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective and its Love Supreme School of Music. 

In late December, SAMF awarded a $15,000 grant to the Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective to support the organization’s general operating costs, including those associated with maintaining and running the Love Supreme School of Music. 

Left to Right: SAMF board member Greg Hennessey, SAMF Executive Director Jeff Miers, Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective Chief Executive Director Dawn Martin Berry-Walker, Love Supreme School Director Marcus Lolo, SAMF Board President Jason Hall, SAMF board member Patrick Gormley. 

The school, founded in 2003, was named after the iconic, transcendental John Coltrane composition A Love Supreme, and has been offering music lessons and mentorship to predominantly school-age children free of charge in the time since. 

Currently, the school serves in the area of 100 predominately African American young people with instrumental and vocal instruction, along with exposure to the history and culture of jazz, one of the deepest strains of Americana music. 

Under the leadership of Chief Executive Director Dawn Martin Berry-Walker and the mentorship of School Director (and abundantly gifted musician) Marcus Lolo, the Love Supreme School has displayed a tireless commitment to its ideals – ideals that are in line with our own core principles here at SAMF. Through its efforts, the School has effected real, tangible change in the community it serves. We’re proud to play a part in furthering these efforts. 

The SAMF endowment will aid the Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective’s community efforts, including its ongoing search for a permanent brick and mortar home for the Love Supreme School, which currently operates out of the Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church on Masten Avenue. 

According to Dawn Martin Berry-Walker, the Love Supreme School’s efforts employ music education and performance in service of the broader goal of providing students with life skills and personal wellness. 

“The goal is to engage under-served members of the community, particularly school-age children, with instrumental and vocal lessons augmented by experiences to expand their knowledge, understanding and appreciation of music,” she says. “It embraces the idea that music is a universal language, familiar to young people and effective in garnering their attention.

“We incorporate the concept of improvisation and encourage it as a possible problem-solving consideration when confronted with other life challenges. Through the study of jazz, we expose students to creative and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking and encourage incorporating them as reasonable approaches when faced with academic and social challenges.”

SAMF shares with Berry-Walker and her team the belief that immersion and education in music marks a concrete investment in our community’s future by changing the lives of young people in a deep, positive and lasting manner. 

I’m deeply indebted to Yuki Numata Resnick, Director of Arts and Culture at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, for her efforts in helping to craft this opportunity for SAMF. In her role leading the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation’s Arts & Culture Initiative at the Community Foundation, Yuki is doing important work in our community – exactly the kind of work SAMF seeks to be involved with as our foundation moves forward. 

Look for new programs resulting from this new partnership in the coming year, as SAMF continues its mission to celebrate the positive, meaningful change that immersion in music can bring to our community. 

Stay tuned!

Jeff Miers

Executive Director, Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation

Angela Hastings

Author Angela Hastings

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