Mary Cates Scholarship for Advanced Studies

The Mary Cates Scholarship for Advanced Studies provides exceptional students with access to advanced music instruction beyond their regular weekly lessons. These educational enhancements can take many forms, including, but not limited to:

  • Additional or extended lessons
  • Summer camps or intensive programs
  • Competition, audition or ensemble membership fees

Your gift to the Mary Cates Scholarship Fund provides these advanced educational opportunities to students who could not otherwise afford them.

Donate Now



About Mary Cates

Following an inspiring visit to the W.O. Smith Music School in Nashville, TN, former Raleigh City Councilwoman Mary Cates motivated local musicians to start a music school to serve financially disadvantaged families in our community. Similar schools have played pivotal roles in nurturing some of America’s great artistic talents, including clarinetist Benny Goodman, singer Johnny Mathis, dancer Martha Graham and actress Helen Hayes.

In 1994, with Mrs. Cates’s dream and driving motivation, $5,000 in seed money obtained by Virginia Zehr, and the hard work of a team of volunteers from N.C. Symphony Orchestra, N.C. State University Music Department, Wake County Schools, Meredith College and individual musicians and community leaders, the first students were enrolled in Community Music School!

In the fall of 2013, to mark the upcoming 20th anniversary of the school, the Mary Cates Scholarship for Advanced Studies was established to aid exceptional students in their musical endeavors.

A Message from Mary Cates

“I see the School growing stronger in the future, with a growing number of supporters as they learn what the school is doing for those students who need a little encouragement at this time in their lives. It is wonderful to be able to give a leg up to a young person, to enrich their lives through music. With a higher sense of worth and a good outlook on life, our graduates will spread the good news here and now in their future communities.”

Mary Cates, CMS Founder