Since opening in 2003, the Community Music School of Oberlin Conservatory has delivered top-notch instruction and fostered a love of music with area families and students of all ages. This September, they hope to being doing all of that in person once again.
Like arts institutions around the globe, CMS operations quickly transitioned to virtual delivery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, its typical lineup of in-person lessons and classes replaced by Zoom rooms.
The school is now celebrating its return to a full slate of in-person programming for fall 2021 with a reopening party scheduled for Sunday, August 15, from 1 to 5 p.m. The school is located in the historic Burrell-King House, at 315 East College Street in Oberlin. The free celebration will take place on the grounds rain or shine.
“We are so happy that things are opening up again and that we hopefully will be able to continue in person this fall,” says Louise Zeitlin, director of the Community Music School and associate professor of community engagement at the conservatory. Despite the online transition of the past year, she notes, some 85 percent of enrolled students continued to take lessons during the pandemic—and their artistic growth was evident in their monthly (virtual) recitals.
“We work hard at the CMS to develop not only a musical community, but also a social one,” Zeitlin says. “We hold lots of events to allow for sharing of music and relationship-building. As we know, the social isolation of the pandemic was difficult for everyone, and so we hope that coming together as a community through music will allow us all to learn about music and celebrate life together!”
Festivities begin with a student recital featuring CMS musicians from 1 to 1:45 p.m., followed at 2 p.m. by opportunities to view a lesson and try out new instruments. At 3, guests are invited to experience a class for early childhood and elementary school students. Visitors will also be treated to arts and craft stations, face painting, and more.
A potluck meal and free ice cream will be available throughout the afternoon.
In accordance with Oberlin campus policy, all guests are required to wear face coverings indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings are advised at all times for unvaccinated guests.
A pillar of the Oberlin community, the Community Music School is operated by the conservatory and provides invaluable teaching opportunities for conservatory students through the Division of Pedagogy, Advocacy, and Community Engagement. Prior to the pandemic, the school’s enrollment had quintupled over the previous 15 years—a welcome development that also strains its ability to provide scholarship support to those in need.
Like the conservatory, the CMS is committed to ensuring the affordability of music education. In past years, the school has earned generous support from the Nord Family Foundation, the Nordson Corporation, and the Bill Long Foundation, and it depends upon the generosity of individual supporters. (To make a contribution, please visit the giving page at Oberlin.edu.)
CMS scholarship applications and registrations for private lessons and classes for fall 2021 are now being accepted. Visit the Community Music School page at Oberlin.edu to learn more.
All CMS activities for fall 2021 will be held in person, barring any changes mandated by area health officials.
Oberlin College and Conservatory recommends attendance for vaccinated people. Everyone is required to wear a mask indoors at all times. Anyone with symptoms should refrain from attending campus events. Oberlin policies are subject to change based on evolving public health recommendations.
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