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Athens Community Music School celebrates 30 years of excellence

The Athens Community Music School (ACMS) is celebrating three decades of excellence in music education in southeastern Ohio.

The ACMS 30th Anniversary Celebration will be a cabaret style dinner show at 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 16 at Abrio’s Brick Oven restaurant on East State Street. The event will feature performances by Otis Crockron, Richard Syracuse and ACMS students.

The event is not just about celebrating how long ACMS has been serving the community, but it will recognize the large impact the organization has made through the years.

“When you have affected thousands of peoples’ lives, literally thousands, it’s amazing to me,” said Elizabeth Braun, director of the ACMS.

Organized in 1979, the ACMS provides professional music instruction, educational programs and music therapy services to people of all ages and abilities in Athens and southeast Ohio. Instructors include faculty members from the Ohio University School of Music, affiliate faculty (teachers with a master's degree in music and many years of teaching experience), and qualified graduate and undergraduate students in the School of Music.

“Our student-instructors will all be future music teachers,” Braun said. “I go in and observe their lessons and give them suggestions on how to improve their teaching skills.”

The School of Music student-instructors gain valuable teaching experiences and at the same time are able to share their love of an art with others who are eager to learn.

“I will be teaching for the rest of my life in some way, shape or form,” said Julia Reeves, a senior violin performance major. “This is the best way to learn what works and what doesn’t.”

The diversity among the students and instructors – in age, cultural background, learning and teaching styles– combines to produce beautiful sounds and rewarding experiences. 

“I am getting to work with a variety of students who differ in skill level and learning style and I am learning how to adapt my teaching to best help different students,” said Kathleen Dean, a saxophonist and senior music education major.

The school provides private lessons in woodwind, brass, percussion, orchestral strings, piano, voice and guitar to students of all ages and ability levels – from children to adults. In addition, ACMS offers a variety of group classes and performance ensembles. The Athens Children’s Chorus, started in the mid-1980’s, focuses on healthy and expressive singing habits, rehearsal and performance techniques and music reading skills. More recently, the Athens String Orchestras (ASO) were added to help students develop group performance skills and provide community members with a reason to dust off their instruments and play in an orchestra. This ensemble is especially vital to the region, given that string education is not offered in the public schools anywhere in southeast Ohio.
“Every time you play a piece of music there is creation going on,” said Braun, who also directs the ASO. “It’s just notes on a page until someone brings it to life. That’s where the creative element comes in!”

Tickets for the anniversary celebration are $30 and include salad, entrée, dessert, drink, and music. Seating is limited, so ticket reservations are requested by Friday, May 7. Call 740-593-4241 for more information and to reserve tickets. All proceeds benefit the Athens Community Music School.

Learn more about ACMS by visiting www.ohio.edu/acms or search “Athens Community Music School” on Facebook.