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Groton Hill Music Center ready to impart the gift of music

Bright new facility reinvigorates arts group

  • Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and...

    Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and Free Class Day at Groton Hill Music Center. Jean Meltaus of Concord teaches a Beginner Piano session for Shaurya Bagkar, 4, of Westford, as his father Saurabh Bagkar watches. JULIA MALAKIE/LOWELL SUN

  • Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and...

    Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and Free Class Day at Groton Hill Music Center. Kelsey Olden of Leominster teaches a Music for Aardvarks early childhood class. Kids from left: Timothy Yip, 3, of Dracut, Zach Bissell-Attar, 3-1/2, of Littleton Elsie Kane, 3-1/2, of Chelmsford, [no ID preferred], and Sarika Deepak, 2-1/2 of Westford. JULIA MALAKIE/LOWELL SUN

  • Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and...

    Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and Free Class Day at Groton Hill Music Center. Conductor Ken Culver of Westford leads a Sinfonia Youth Orchestra string section rehearsal. JULIA MALAKIE/LOWELL SUN

  • Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and...

    Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and Free Class Day at Groton Hill Music Center. Conductor Ken Culver of Westford leads a Sinfonia Youth Orchestra string section rehearsal. JULIA MALAKIE/LOWELL SUN

  • Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and...

    Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and Free Class Day at Groton Hill Music Center. JULIA MALAKIE/LOWELL SUN

  • Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and...

    Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and Free Class Day at Groton Hill Music Center. Music for Aardvarks early childhood class. Timothy Yip, 3, of Dracut, left, and Zach Bissell-Attar, 3-1/2, of Littleton. JULIA MALAKIE/LOWELL SUN

  • Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and...

    Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and Free Class Day at Groton Hill Music Center. Music for Aardvarks early childhood class. [no ID preferred], left, and Sarika Deepak, 2-1/2 of Westford, right, dance. JULIA MALAKIE/LOWELL SUN

  • Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and...

    Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and Free Class Day at Groton Hill Music Center. Sinfonia Youth Orchestra string section rehearsal. From left, Timothy McCarthy, 16, of Gardner, Lilly Adams, 17, of Billerica, Sally Hu, 16, from Lawrence Academy, and Rutu Patil, 14, of Acton, on violins. JULIA MALAKIE/LOWELL SUN

  • Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and...

    Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and Free Class Day at Groton Hill Music Center. Suki Reynolds, 15, of Acton, left, and Chen-An Lin, 15, of Carlisle on cellos. JULIA MALAKIE/LOWELL SUN

  • Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and...

    Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and Free Class Day at Groton Hill Music Center. Shayla Kuteesa, 5, of Ayer, right, and Henry Southwick, 6, of Groton, try out Beginner Guitar. JULIA MALAKIE/LOWELL SUN

  • Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and...

    Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and Free Class Day at Groton Hill Music Center. Henry Southwick, 6, of Groton, takes a break with his father Adam Southwick as he tries out Beginner Guitar. JULIA MALAKIE/LOWELL SUN

  • Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and...

    Oct 1, 2022 – Grand opening to the public and Free Class Day at Groton Hill Music Center. Rafaella Pagani, 8, of Ayer, and Nathaniel S., 9, take a Toot to Flute class. JULIA MALAKIE/LOWELL SUN

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GROTON — As smiling faces beamed around the new Groton Hill Music Center on Old Ayer Road, music rang throughout the building.

While the facility has been open for private instruction since mid-September, the public at large got their first glimpse of the new center on Oct. 1-2, as part of GHMC’s Free Class Days. More than 100 students, made up of a variety of ages, packed classrooms as the center filled with music and laughter.

GHMC Director of Education and Non-Orchestral Performance Programming Pete Robbins called it a “dream come true,” while Public Relations Manager Julie Pampinella said it was the first chance to show everybody what the new center was “all about.”

“We always had a dream to grow from a school that hosted occasional performances into a place that was a legitimate performance venue and school all in one place,” Robbins said. “I think, in this new space, we can truly achieve that and more.”

“This is our first chance to show the public what we have here, what Groton Hill Music is really all about, so we’re excited,” Pampinella said. “As they walk through the door, children and parents seem overwhelmed in the scope, overwhelmed with emotion and an excitement for music and that’s what we love to see.”

The event also marked a grand opening of sorts almost a decade in the making.

Formerly Indian Hill Music and located in Littleton, the idea of a new facility came to life back in 2014, when an anonymous donor presented administrative staff with an “incredible opportunity,” according to GHMC CEO Lisa Fiorentino.

While an appreciation and love for the former location were apparent, it was clear the organization had outgrown its space; Robbins called it “cramped,” while Pampinella said the event would have been a “mad house” had it been held in Littleton.

“As much as we loved the space, it was time for something new,” Fiorentino said.

Construction began not long after the land was purchased from Thomas More College in 2015 and wrapped up earlier this year, save for the 1,000-seat concert hall, which is expected to be completed in January 2023.

Now, in a larger, modern space, GHMC can dedicate itself to its mission — sharing the “transformative power of music” — unlike ever before in a facility unlike any other.

“We think that’s so real here, the healing powers of music,” Robbins said. “Music is mysterious and wonderful in so many ways that are deeply human — it’s something that we innately need.”

“So we want to provide the highest quality music education and performance for everybody in the region. We want everyone to be here,” he said.

But GHMC’s mission goes deeper. While that idea of music and its “transformative power” are paramount, Robbins said the organization’s connection with and dedication to the community was “as important, if not more so” and referred to it as a “responsibility.”

“As nice as this new facility is, we can only do so much from here, Robbins said. “That’s why community engagement is so important to us, it’s our responsibility to share the wonderful gift that is music and to give that gift generously.”

To that point, GHMC has become extensively involved in nearby communities. Outside of group classes and private lessons, the center has become involved in a number of afterschool programs, such as Lowell Public School’s “Afternoons in the Arts,” and has earmarked money within its own budget to help provide proper music education in Lowell and a number of other school districts.

“We do what we can to partner with public school districts that don’t have enough money in their budgets for a robust music program,” Robbins said. “To whatever extent we can to help narrow that gap, to ensure every child has the opportunity receive an education in music, we feel as if that is our burden to carry, our responsibility.”

He also applauded GHMC’s scholarship opportunities and said faculty never want the financial burden to be a “deciding factor” as far as music education is concerned.

“We provide a lot of scholarship opportunities, which is something I’m proud of,” Robbins said. “The prices of our programs might be beyond the financial reach of some folks, but we don’t want that to ever be a deciding factor as to whether they can come here or not,” Robbins said.

“Music is a gift and, if there is a barrier to that gift, financial or otherwise, we do everything we can to remove that barrier,” he said.

But, for Robbins, that is far from the end of their goal. In fact, as they continue to grow, Robbins said he hoped to see GHMC expand and create a greater “positive impact” through music.

“Going forward, as we sort of start to open things up, we definitely plan on expanding and seeing our numbers grow,” he said. “More people in our existing classes and ensembles, more new classes and ensembles, more live events, more special programs, more everything — anything, through music, that can make some sort of positive impact in the world.”

Fiorentino referred to the faculty’s “vision” of GHMC and said she hoped to see the organization continue to grow with and better nearby communities.

“Our mission has always been to share music and to be a community organization, that is critical to us and what we do here,” Fiorentino said. “And now, in this building, I truly believe we have the chance to do that, to help make the .”

“The vision we had planned, it’s starting to come to fruition and it’s just been a wonderful experience so far, but this is just the beginning — here at Groton Hill Music, the sky’s the limit.”

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