Music Academy holds grand opening
Rockland — After just about three years tucked into the second floor of the Kimball Block, Midcoast Music Academy is bringing it to the street. The downtown music school will hold a grand opening Friday afternoon and evening, June 6, at its new location: 279 Main St., the building at the corner of Park Drive.
The festivities begin 4:30 p.m. with a traditional ribbon cutting, attended by local dignitaries as well as the MCMA community and the public at large. The ribbon cutting will be at the main entrance to the building — Midcoast Music Academy is in the suite directly to the right.
“The idea is, as soon as the ribbon is cut, you’ll hear boom-boom-boom,” said MCMA founder Tom Ulichny, pointing to the main hallway just inside the entrance where the Rockland Rhythm Masters will play a few numbers on hand percussion instruments.
Rockland Rhythm Masters is the result of an outreach program Ulichny has offered at Rockland Public Library. The group has been meeting Thursday afternoons.
“We’ve got a 4-year-old and a 74-year-old,” said Ulichny, adding that most of the players are middle-school age.
Another form of outreach has been a scholarship program that has just begun its second year, in which the school matches donations with donated faculty time in order to allow five students who could not otherwise take lessons to do so.
From 5 to 7 p.m., a jazz trio featuring MCMA instructor Gary Clancy on guitar, Ezra Rugg on stand-up bass and Hal Hagy on sax will play in the outer entrance while visitors get a gander at the new digs … and dig into some Café Miranda finger foods.
The suite has two studios — a larger one, with drums, for group lessons, ensembles, workshops and labs; and a smaller one, with pianos, for piano, strings and voice lessons. Off the studios is a waiting area for parents. On the Main Street end of the suite, there is a reception desk; the walls flanking the front display window will be covered with instruments from Camden’s K-2 Music and Rockport’s Woodsound Studios.
A week before the grand opening, there was still a lot of clearing away and setting up to be done, but Ulichny said lessons would begin there June 2. MCMA focuses on contemporary music genres, with instruction in world percussion, guitar, ukulele, piano, bass, piano, voice, violin/fiddle and, perhaps soon, more.
“We’re looking for a few more teachers. They have to be the right fit, outstanding musicians and educators who are fairly local,” Ulichny said.
The new space is more than double MCMA’s original square footage and can accommodate multiple lessons simultaneously. Ulichny said he is grateful for the circumstances, and people, who came together to make the move possible including Rockland Main Street, Inc.’s Gordon Page and Bangor Savings Bank’s Mary Bumiller. He also credited his fiancé Anne Bardaglio, “behind the scenes catch-all”; Maury Colton, “amazing artist, dear friend and last minute go-to”; and his mother, “who has always been unflinchingly supportive.” And he said the building’s management has made the move an auspicious one.
“Jonathan Frost [Gallery & Frame Shop] moved in around the corner, and they just put on new roofing and ceiling tiles. There’s a really good vibe here,” he said.
The live music wafting through the open doors should draw in some First Friday Art Walkers June 6. A handcarved wooden sign by Chuck Dorr hangs over the suite’s window and the windows themselves will be getting some decals of the MCMA logo, designed by Anneli Skaar.
“We signed a three-year lease, this is really it. We were at the other place just about three years and were bursting at the seams,” he said.
Given its much-more visible location, Midcoast Music Academy will be introducing specials events — during blues festival weekend, for example.
“We’ll be introducing a lot of new things this summer and into the fall,” said Ulichny. “I’m thrilled to be right on Main Street.”
For more information, visit midcoastmusicacademy.com.