Music Lessons in Centerbrook, CT

Throughout this year, we’ll highlight aspects of the school’s history… starting here with an interview of Paddy Hurley, who founded CMS 40 years ago, and continues today as CMS New Horizons Band Director and trumpet instructor!

CMS: What prompted you to start CMS?

Paddy: I had the idea to start a music school while teaching at John Winthrop Junior High School, recognizing that my students did not have access to specialists with whom to work if they wanted to expand their study of their instruments. Since the resources were available through the Coast Guard Band, Yale School of Music and the Hartt school I decided to help to make those specialists available to our community.

CMS: Could you tell us a favorite memory from the early days of the school?

Paddy: Our first location after establishing the school as a 501 C-3 entity was the Essex Town Hall, thanks to the generosity of the First Selectman. We moved a couple of pianos in and started teaching after hours. And the Chester Meeting House was our first recital and concert venue. Thanks to the support of our communities we were off and running.

CMS: Any reflections as Community Music School reaches 40 years?

Paddy: As we celebrate our 40 year anniversary I would like to thank all the people who have loved and supported CMS over the years and who have helped it to survive and thrive.

CMS: Thank you, Paddy, for your great insight and leadership– 40 years ago, and today! Our community wouldn’t be the same without CMS!

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