Jam sessions are part of 317 Main’s mission of sharing the love of music. The Yarmouth organization is celebrating its 15th anniversary. Contributed

YARMOUTH — A local organization dedicated to sharing the love of music has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 15 years.

The 317 Main Community Music Center, which started in 2004 with three instructors and a dozen students, now has more than 550 students each week at its home base and is offering programs at schools and nonprofits across southern Maine.

This summer the music center is celebrating its accomplishments with a variety of special events.

The schedule includes a concert with Chris Moore and Ted DeMille, set for 4-5 p.m. Thursday, July 11; an acoustic jam camp for kids ages 10-15, July 22-26, and the annual music festival, Henryfest, on Sept. 8.

Students at 317 Main in Yarmouth celebrating what makes the music center so special. From left are Whistle Leach, Adriana Whitlock and Terra Gallo. Contributed

In addition to offering lessons on a variety of instruments, 317 Main also offers workshops, jam sessions, contra dances, concerts, music festivals, drum circles and programming targeted for everyone from young children to seniors.

While there has been a lot of growth at 317 Main over the past 15 years, one thing has remained, the organization’s leaders said: a dedication to the core mission.

“We celebrate and support musicianship at all levels,” Executive Director John Williams said.

Amy Sinclair, 317 Main communications director, said the organization was founded “with the core belief that a welcoming, friendly, accessible place in which music was the common language would serve to better lives and build community. Since opening our doors … that vision has taken hold and 317 Main has become a vibrant regional hub for multi-generational music education and enrichment.”

Music is important, she said, because it’s “an art form that transcends our individual experience and brings us into communion with one another. Music nurtures us every day of our lives.”

Sinclair said the faculty and leadership at 317 Main believe quality music education should be accessible to everyone and that music can play a vital role in people’s lives and overall world outlook.

While 317 Main takes music education seriously, Sinclair said, “first and foremost, we want students to have fun. Playing music, especially with others, is a skill that brings joy and lasts a lifetime.”

“We are serious about the community-building aspect of our mission. We want to connect people in positive ways,” Sinclair added. “Music transcends age, race, religion and politics. So many friendships have been forged at our music center (and) these connections make us stronger, happier and more resilient.”

One of the things that 317 Main is most proud of, she added, is that its teaching artists are all “accomplished composers, performers, educators and multi-faceted musicians.”

Fred Frawley, board chairman of 317 Main, said he became involved when he signed up for mandolin lessons about seven years ago. “The entire environment was welcoming and there is a nonjudgmental spirit,” Frawley said.

Longtime voice teaching artist Katharine Slack has been involved in the music center almost from the beginning. She said what makes 317 Main so special is simply the music that fills the halls.

She said working at 317 Main is “complete and utter fun,” and said it’s a place where people have “the freedom to be completely uninhibited.”