Music Lessons in Centerbrook, CT
Ever since I was a kid studying saxophone, I’ve had musical heroes; at first, excellent saxophonists whom I’d seek to model, then composers, conductors, and eventually (as I learned to understand more and more about music) excellent performers of all types. I’ve admired those who’ve dedicated their lives to the hard work and sacrifice required to be excellent musicians and significant contributors to the world’s cultural canon. Favorites include saxophonists Cannonball Adderley and Jean-Marie Londeix, composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and John Adams, and (most recently) composer/arranger/percussionist (and college classmate of mine) John Hollenbeck. They continue to be inspirations, but over the past number of years I’ve been equally inspired by people who are successful in other professions while also studying and playing music. Recent examples include Julie Berman, a successful veterinarian in our area who is also passionate about music. She started cello (in her own words) “at square one as an adult student at CMS when my kids went off to college.” She continues to study now with Cara Cheung, plays in the CMS String Ensemble, jams in a weekly fiddle group, and also plays in a classical string quartet. I love overhearing her lessons down the hall from my office as she and Cara work out the intricacies of a Bach Cello Suite. Another of my heroes is a 4th grader at Essex Elementary who studies at CMS; if I happen to walk through the halls as she awaits her lesson, she’ll precociously (and excitedly) regale me with stories about whatever music she’s working on. Last week it was a tune called “Mysterious Song,” which, strangely enough (she pointed out) isn’t particularly mysterious sounding at all, partly because it’s a fast tune. I asked her what might make it sound more mysterious, and was delighted to hear an in-depth analysis that would make Yale Musicologists proud. Julie and our Essex Elementary friend are my heroes because they realize how special music is, that it’s worth the hard work, and that it’s an important element to a fulfilling life; regardless of one’s profession. Thanks to our musical heroes (including you, whom I assume if you’ve read this far, also loves, studies, plays, and/or supports music), for making life special.




Dr. Richard Wyman, Executive Director, CMS


p.s. Links to performances by some of my heroes:

Cannonball Adderley “Work Song
John Hollenbeck’s arrangement of “Don’t Give Up”
CMS String Ensemble (including Julie Berman, cello) plays Boyce’s “Gavotte”

Fall 2020 Carolyn Greenleaf Scholarship winners

Congratulations to Alice Pond and Nevin Joshy, winners of Fall 2020 Carolyn Greenleaf Memorial Scholarship awards!

Soprano vocalist Alice Pond is a Senior at Old Saybrook High School, singing Soprano in her school’s Concert, Chamber, and Treble Choirs. She has been involved in a variety of arts programs, including CMS’s “Broadway Bound” summer camps, and volunteered as assistant for a variety of theater camps  including Kate’s Camp for Kids. Alice looks forward to continuing her growth in the arts throughout the year, and as she goes on to college next year.

Trumpeter Nevin Joshyis a Junior at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, and has studied at CMS for 7 years with founder/ trumpet instructor Paddy Hurley. He has been selected by audition for CT Music Educators Association (CMEA) Regional Music Festivals, and plays principal trumpet in his school’s Wind Ensemble. He’s also active in his school’s robotics and soccer teams.

These awards honor the memory of Carolyn Greenleaf, a resident of Essex who was passionate about music education and who worked tirelessly to promote music in our communities. The Carolyn Greenleaf Memorial Award Committee partnered with the Community Foundation of Middlesex County to award (by audition) two half tuition scholarships each semester to High School students residing in Middlesex County or the Lymes.

2020-2021 Winner of the Musical Masterworks Scholarship in Honor of Nancy Thomas

Congratulations to Elizabeth Steindl, the 2020 recipient of the fourth annual Musical Masterworks Scholarship in Honor of Nancy D. Thomas.
Elizabeth is eleven and in sixth grade at Old Saybrook Middle School.
Elizabeth studies violin with Martha Herrle at Community Music School, and also plays clarinet in her school band, sings in her school chorus, and is a regular participant in area music camps.  She loves animals, music, and nature.
The scholarship, awarded annually, provides the tuition for a middle school student to take music lessons, 30 minutes each, for one full year at Community Music School. This award honors the memory of Nancy Thomas, a well-known and beloved piano instructor at CMS for 30 years. She influenced the lives of many young musicians and inspired their talents. Nancy was also on the staff of Musical Masterworks, a chamber music concert series that has been in Old Lyme for 28 years. She was fastidious in her responsibilities working with the pianists onstage and was well-loved by all. Musical Masterworks partnered with Community Music School to establish this award.

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