Community Music School preparing for showcase concerts


Students from the Community Music School practice for their final performances during a previous iteration of a 41-year-old outreach program.

Near the final days of the Fall Semester, the Baldwin Wallace Community Music School will be showcased in a concert.

Formerly known as the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Outreach Program, the Community Music School is a 41-year-old organization formerly known as the Preparatory Adult Education Department. With the growth and success of the Community Music School (CMS), Adam Sheldon, the current director of the school, has worked closely with community members and renowned faculty to develop the program.

“I don’t know how many we were serving back in 1976,” said Sheldon. “Now we serve about 3,000 students annually—2,000 in the academic year and 1,000 in the summer.”

The primary programs the CMS offered were their private lesson programs, their youth orchestra, and the Dalcroze Eurythmics program. In the first 25 years after the school’s opening, the CMS employed Cleveland Orchestra members as faculty for the private lessons. During that first era for the school, the faculty was dedicated to the growth in abundance of instrumental ensembles, group classwork, and adult bands.

One of the ways that the CMS grew was in their incorporation of summer music programs. Over the last 80 years, there have been various summer music program; in the last ten years, CMS absorbed those programs to be all under the same faculty. They introduced new programs such as Band Camp and String Camp, while still offering programs like the Conservatory Summer Institute (CSI).

In addition to having an impact on the members of the Baldwin Wallace Community, CMS employs many current BW students, and offers field experience for them through private teaching, conducting positions, administrative assistantships, librarian positions, sectional coaching, and management. Some students, to complete their service learning fieldwork for the requirement of their education curriculum, volunteer with CMS as well as attain internships to fill these requirements.

One of the most popular community ensembles is the BW Men’s Chorus, founded by CMS under the direction of Frank Bianchi. Bianchi built up this program over the last 11 years to reach community members all over the Greater Cleveland areas.

The BW Community Music School will showcase their ensembles in various concerts at the end of the semester. These ensembles include the CMS youth orchestras, wind ensembles, adult bands, Women’s Chorus, and Men’s Chorus, who will give two on campus concerts and one East Side performance.