Page 37 - BusinessWest December 12, 2022
P. 37

Music Heals the Soul
Community Music School Is Making an Impact of Note
By Kailey Houle
After the pandemic, one in 10 people under the age of 18 experienced a mental-health condition, and one in five young people reported that the pandemic had a significant negative impact on their mental health.
Research dating back to ancient Greece has demonstrated that music and the arts can
“We have classical, contemporary, pop music, hip-hop, gospel, jazz ... it pretty much runs the gamut. We try to be really inclusive and relevant to the culture of people that are in our community.”
have valuable benefits in reducing distress and mental-health concerns, and Community Music School of Springfield (CMSS) is doing everything it can to provide that safe space for youth.
“We love the idea of the beloved community. It was Dr. Martin Luther King who talked about that, but we really want to be the embodiment
of the beloved community that helps Springfield and the community support each other and itself
and sort of uplift our city in a way that’s not gen- trification, but through the arts,” said Sierra Sim- mons, associate director of CMSS.
She went on to explain that the school and its staff have always been dedicated to access and inclusion when it comes to musical and artistic opportunities, as well as improving the well-being of the community by bringing people together.
CMSS was founded
in 1983 as a nonprofit
and still operates as one
today. Around the end of
1999, it moved to its cur-
rent location, a 1933 Art
Deco building in the heart of downtown Spring- field, comprising more than 33,000 square feet of studios, classrooms, offices, and performance areas across five floors.
While touring the space with BusinessWest, Rachel Rivard, director of Faculty and Education at CMSS, noted that the performance hall is her
Vanessa Ford (left) said CMSS provides more than just singing opportunities to students, but life skills as well.
favorite area in the building. The Robyn New- house Concert Hall used to house a bank, and it’s
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