The Rabun County Music Festival Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization which is committed to supporting Rabun County students who wish to further their education in the fields of visual or performing arts.
With the goal of bringing to Rabun County some of the world’s top professionals in classical music, Gene Haywood, in 1999, formed an informal panel with fellow Sky Valley residents Sharon and John Hoppes to make this dream a reality. The Rabun County Music Festival started that year with three concerts.
Performances were held at the Chapel of Sky Valley until the 2002 season when an agreement with the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School made possible the use of the Rearden Theater where the concert series continues to this day. From a beginning featuring classical music only, program selections have expanded to include jazz and popular music. The RCMFA now has a dedicated and energetic board of eighteen members from throughout Rabun County.
The RCMFA acquired 501(c)(3) status as a tax exempt organization in 2002 with a mission of awarding scholarships to graduating high school students in Rabun County who wish to further their education in the fields of visual or performing arts. Tax exempt status enables the Board to seek contributions at higher levels. Holding performances at the Rearden Theater makes it possible to attract larger audiences, and the numbers of season ticket holders and contributors have increased. Continued increases in ticket sales and contributions have made it possible to award more scholarships and to increase the scholarship amounts.
A generous contribution from United Community Bank made it possible for the RCMFA board of directors to bring the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to Rabun County during the 2004 season. The ASO has returned every year, and their performance is always a highlight of the season.
The board of directors hopes to continue to increase the number of season ticket holders and benefactors and attract additional corporate sponsors, thus making it possible to contract with high quality performers and to award even more scholarships. Because of Gene Haywood’s vision, Rabun County’s hills ring with music during the concert season and talented young people get financial help to further their education.
The Rabun County Music Festival Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization which is committed to supporting Rabun County students who wish to further their education in the fields of visual or performing arts. Each year a committee chooses from among deserving students of Rabun County High School and Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School to determine who will be the current year’s recipients. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need, school and community service, and academic achievement, with special consideration given to students whose intent is to acquire a degree in music, music education, art or art education. The RCMFA considers this granting of scholarship funds to be our most important mission as a community-minded not-for-profit organization. Your donation to our organization is tax deductible.