Hello Friends and Members,
Welcome to our yearly newsletter and fundraiser for the Ali Akbar College of Music! We want to begin by giving our heartfelt thanks to all of you who have supported us as members. You are at the heart of this school, and your contributions help us more than you know. We also want to welcome those of you who are not yet members and ask you to please consider joining our AACM Family!
We at the AACM are currently finishing up our 56th year of teaching and performing, and what a wonderful year it has been. This Fall, it is a big goal of ours to actively increase our membership numbers–growing our Family, our support system, and our dreams for the future. The financial support we receive from our members goes directly towards the maintenance and upkeep of the AACM, both internally and externally. Whether it’s five dollars or one hundred dollars, it all goes towards keeping the music flowing. We need everyone’s help! To that end, we are making a special request to you, our members, to please reach out to your friends and family and tell them about the AACM and all the work that we do.
We want to share with you a little about what makes the AACM a beautiful place to learn and support. Teaching and performing are the key facets of our school, the things that make us who we are–but we are also hugely invested in preserving and archiving this great music. Khansahib and Swapanji’s tireless dedication to all of us, their friends and students, are what’s kept us strong and given us the fire to continue to spread this music each and every day. The AACM is a place where the past meets the present, where our unique history informs the music we create today and guides us towards a future where Indian classical music is still thriving. The deep love of music and the incredible peace, comfort and joy we all gain from it is a gift we do not take lightly.
We encourage everyone to come to the college to watch our classes and to use the Ali Akbar Khan Library–our free, groundbreaking archive of information. We have over 7,000 hours of Khansahib teaching and over 1,000 hours of his concerts that are available to listen to. Despite the immensity of this collection, we still have more to archive, including ten years of his invaluable class videos; this is a project for down the road, one that we are excited to get to.
In February, we were very grateful to be able to open our building back up again after three years of being closed during the pandemic. In-person classes resumed, and there was certainly a sense of relief that we could share music again face-to-face. The pandemic has changed the way we all choose to interact and how we use our time, but one thing is for certain–it did not dampen our need or love for the arts. Some students have chosen to remain online, which is an option we will maintain for any who are interested. For those who are closer to us and can more easily come to the college for classes, this return has been a huge blessing.
Earlier this year, we held our first in-person concert since the lockdown! It took place in April at the Old First Church in S.F. and was a wonderful finale celebration of Khansahib’s centennial year. It was a sold-out show, and for many of us, it was the first time we had met our dear friends after three years. Khansahib’s sons, Alam and Manik Khan, were joined onstage by our very own Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri. They brought us to our feet with joy and sweetly opened many of us up to tears. Music has the power to do that, as we all well know, and that night we all shared a communal sense of love for our beloved Maestro Ali Akbar Khan. We will continue to host Khansahib’s yearly birthday tribute at the Old First Church. Next year, it will be held on April 13th, so save the date!
It’s hard to believe that this year is already coming to a close. Looking towards 2024, we are so excited to share that we will be resuming concerts at our own intimate venue in San Rafael! The number of folks we will be able to seat will be a bit less to begin with, due to how many airborne illnesses are affecting everyone. We will be constantly assessing and updating as we go. Keeping our eye on the health of our community is first and foremost to us. Look for concerts to begin in the Spring. If you or your friends are not receiving our concert email blasts, be sure to sign up on our website.
In closing, we want to thank you all for your continued support over all these years. To our newest members, welcome to the Family! We are so thrilled to enjoy this music together. Again, we want to encourage you all to please share with your friends and family what the AACM means to you, and to invite them to become members themselves. It would mean the world to us! At www.aacm.org, you will find ways to support the college through our various membership levels and their wonderful benefits. Helping to grow community support is one of the ways you can assist us in the sustainability of our dream–to keep this music surviving and thriving.
You are all greatly appreciated!
Have a wonderful Winter season, and we look forward to a new year of teaching and concerts in February 2024.
Mary Khan – Executive Director
Madina Khan – Assistant Director