History & Mission
The Friends of the School of Music began to organize in early January 1991 when rumors circulated that university leadership was considering changing the School of Music into a department within the College of Arts & Sciences. This idea dismayed many supporters of classical music in the community, who founded the Friends of the School of Music on April 24, 1991, to garner public support for the School of Music and influence the university administration to retain the School of Music as an independent unit.
The founders of the Friends organization were Doris Bickel, former faculty member and retired piano artist at the School of Music; John Bickel, Doris’s husband and architect of the present School of Music building on Belknap Campus; William Woolsey, feature editor of The Courier-Journal and his wife, Jane; Corky Sachs, Roberta and Carl Fischer and Carol Birkhead.
In August 1991, the Articles of Incorporation of the Friends were legally recorded, and the first edition of the Friends newsletter was printed that fall. The first “special event” was an Open House of the School of Music, with the faculty as hosts in their individual studios, a tour of the music library and dinner served in a large first-floor classroom.
Today the Friends have about 300 members, have fundraised nearly one half million dollars in scholarship funds for students and have funded 83 scholarships for students since 1992.
The purpose of the Friends of the School of Music is to support the continued growth and excellence of the School of Music at the University of Louisville.Their long-range goals are to gain the widest possible visibility and public support for the School of Music; to enlist a continuing membership of sufficient size to fund activities of this organization; to generate funds for scholarships for the School of Music; and to assist the School of Music in its services to the community.