Bucks School of Music to close after 34 years; blames the effects of the pandemic | southeast pennsylvania


DOYLESTOWN, Pa. — A nonprofit music school that has been operating for 34 years will close a victim of the coronavirus pandemic, school officials say.

The conservatorywhich has been providing music, performance and therapy education services to communities in Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties since 1988, will close on June 30.

She made the announcement in a letter published on her website.

“With the 2020 closure, the Conservatory has made great efforts to ensure that we could continue to provide music at a time when it was needed,” reads the letter, signed by the school’s chief executive. , Rachel Gallagher.

“However, two years later, we are still affected by the closure. We’ve had significant changes in our revenue from off-site music therapy contracts being discontinued, our enrollment is only half of what it was before the shutdown, and fundraising trends in the industry aim nonprofits have made cuts in which we are no longer eligible for funding.

“Despite the work of the board and myself to find ways to improve our sustainability, including talking to other fusion music schools, we have exhausted all options. Now we have to be realistic .

In an interview, Gallagher, who has worked at the school for 14 years and has been its chief executive for four years, said the school’s board had considered options other than closure at length, but did not hadn’t come up with a lasting plan.

“The board did their due diligence, spoke with other schools, checked as much as they could,” Gallagher said. “And maybe we could have stayed open longer, extended our time. … But we couldn’t keep spending money we didn’t have.

Suggestions to appeal to the community for funding were “too big a risk to me and to the reputation of the school”, she said.

The school bills itself as the oldest and largest non-profit arts center in Bucks County.

It began as a Community Conservatory of Music, in the President’s House on the grounds of Delaware Valley College, then operated in three other locations before settling in 2013 to its current location at 4059 Skyron Drive.

This building houses 22 music studios and a performance hall that can accommodate more than 100 people. Last year he added an educational recording studio, which he never really used, Gallagher said.

Gallagher said the Conservatory rented the building from Doylestown. She assumed it would now be listed for a new tenant – “hopefully another music school“, she said.

At its peak, the Conservatory says it instructed nearly 400 students a week.

The letter on the website says the school’s founders “had a vision of a music school that would provide music to everyone, regardless of age, ability, or economic status.”

“We do not claim to know the depth of shock and disappointment this news will bring to our families, students, community, faculty and staff,” the letter reads. “This decision was not taken lightly or in haste.

“We are deeply proud of our rich history of service to our community. We can say with confidence that we have accomplished our mission in which thousands of students have been inspired and transformed by their time at the Conservatoire.

“Our greatest wish for all students and families is to build on what you learned at the Conservatory and continue to thrive with the music in your life. We hope that over the next few weeks you will mourn with us, celebrate with us, and be proud with us.

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