Mission & History

"Our mission is to cultivate creativity,
self-expression and the joy of music

for people of all ages and backgrounds
through collaborative musical adventures."

 

Five determined musicians founded the Community Music School of Ann Arbor (previously known as Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts) in 1991.  They saw a need for a community music school that provided a comprehensive learning experience for toddlers to seniors. What they created was an opportunity for all community members to develop a lifelong love of music and tap into the rich cultural fabric that exists in Southeast Michigan.

The first classes were held in First Unitarian Universalist Church and ranged from pre-school Kindermusik to Adult Musicianship.  A Music Discovery Concert series at Kerrytown Concert House and an Adult Chamber Music Network were also off and running.  By the third year, offerings expanded to include private instruction for instruments and voice, as well as their Youth String Orchestra Program, with Dan Long as the director.

The School expanded to the point that in the fall of 1995, it moved to Concordia College.  In the thirteen years the school resided at Concordia, the School saw the addition of its Jazz Studies Program, the Sterling Strings Orchestra, a Chamber Music Program and a pre-college track for motivated and talented music students. Also, the Youth Symphony Orchestra toured to Australia, recorded a CD and was invited to perform at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in 1999, an International Band and Orchestra festival.  

In 2008, the School moved to its location on South Main Street, continuing its core programs in Early Childhood Music, Youth Orchestra, Chamber Music, Jazz Studies and Private Instruction and well as adding the New Horizons Senior String Orchestra.  It continued also to award thousands of dollars in need-based financial assistance and started a very important partnership with the Ann Arbor Public Schools to provide music instruction to the underserved in the community. 

In the summer of 2014, CMSa2 moved into a shared space with Clonlara School on the south side of Ann Arbor. The flowing layout of the school that is filled with natural light and uplifting decor much better suits the needs of CMSa2 and the staff and faculty are in love with their new space!

To this day, AA-SPA has stayed true to its mission created by its founders over 20 years ago.  This rich community resource has clearly struck a chord in the Ann Arbor community, serving students from age 14 months to 72 years, and continues to strive to nurture the musician in all of us.