Your Time: Northampton Community Music Center

  • Ku'umba Women's Choir director Evelyn Harris.

  • Eli Catlin. DAN LITTLE—

  • Oscar Sanford. DAN LITTLE—

  • Northampton Community Music Center. DAN LITTLE—

  • Flute instructor Jon Weeks, left, and Gerrit Roessler. DAN LITTLE—

  • Ukulele group class, from right, Dexter Dong, Lora Saltis, and Tom Mitchell. DAN LITTLE—

  • Gerrit Roessler. DAN LITTLE—

  • Kieran Cullen, from right, Erik Geertsma, and Oskar Weber. DAN LITTLE—

  • Ku'umba Women's Choir members, from left, Adriana Piantedosi, Jody Cutler, Margot Thomas, and Saralee Hofrichter. DAN LITTLE—

  • Sierra Dunn, front, and piano instructor Monica Robelotto. DAN LITTLE—

  • Sierra Dunn, front, and piano instructor Monica Robelotto. DAN LITTLE—

  • Stone Cornelius, left, and Gustav Kohlin. DAN LITTLE—

  • Flute instructor Sue Kurian, from right, Rozlyn Kaufman, and Lucia Dostal. DAN LITTLE—

  • Frank Marotta. DAN LITTLE—

  • Suzuki cello instructor Anne Werry. DAN LITTLE—

  • Ku'umba Women's Choir director Evelyn Harris. DAN LITTLE—

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Photos and text by Dan Little

On any given day, the sounds of more than 20 different instruments can be heard reverberating throughout the halls of the historic school building on South Street that is now the Northampton Community Center.

Drums and bass boom up from the lower levels on Tuesday afternoons as the “Blues Jam” session plays from a recording studio in the basement, while the sounds of a saxophone ring down from a jazz ensemble on the second floor.  

The 800 students who study annually with the school's 50 instructors include the very young (“Music Together” programs are for parents and newborns) and the not-so-young (there are chamber ensembles whose members are in their 80s). And there’s everything in between, including jazz ensembles, rock bands, blues jams, ukulele groups, choirs, orchestras and classes on improvisation.    

On Thursday, 8-year-old Oscar Sanford of Northampton was attending a regular Suzuki cello class.

“I like to just try things, so it was kind of out of curiosity that I started playing,” Oscar said after the class finished. “I like playing here because you get to interact with other cello players and see what their way of playing is.”

Oscar’s mother, Mary Yung, says her son has been playing cello since he was in kindergarten.

“He really wanted to play the upright bass when he was 6,” Yung said, “but they don’t make them that small.”

Jason Trotta, the executive director of the music center, calls the center a home-away-from-home for many of the musicians.

“I didn’t have a place like this growing up,” Trotta said. “Having music in your life, it’s not just the entertainment, it’s the joy of being able to create something beautiful and reflect that back into your community.”

The school has a scholarship program that has not turned away any students who wish to learn music and make it a part of their lives.