BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – There’s a building on Elmwood Avenue you may have passed a hundred times without giving it a second thought. It’s home to the Community Music School of Buffalo, and has been since 1959, but it looks like any other apartment building in that area.
That should soon change.
The Community Music School is planning to gut and revamp its Elmwood Avenue location, turning what was built as a luxury apartment building in 1904 into a space that’s appropriate for the non-profit school’s future.
Among the many changes that will come with the renovations, students will enjoy a new layout for the studios with acoustic engineering drastically improving the sound quality in each one, a new 150 seat performance space on the third floor, and a new glass addition on the front of the building where free performances will help bring more music to the public.
That’s a big part of the Community Music School’s mission as it serves hundreds of children and adults each year through private lessons, group classes, and performing ensembles.
The school believes everyone should have access to music, so it serves people of all ages, abilities, ambitions and backgrounds.
However, the school recognizes the limitations of its current space in its ability to serve music therapy students and people with physical disabilities. The renovation plans, which were approved by the planning board last week, include the addition of an elevator and ramp, which music therapist at the school say will allow them to serve hundreds more people at the building.
The $3.5 million capital campaign to make the renovations possible is in its early stages.
One major donation has already come from a former CMS student, Andy Anselmo, who took his first voice lesson at age 15 before going on to become a voice coach to the stars.
The building will get a new name with the renovations: The Community Music School at the Andy Anselmo Center for the Performing Arts.
Construction is expected to take about nine months, with plans for work to begin in Spring 2018. That timeline could change, depending on the donations that come in.
News 4’s Katie Alexander got a look inside the building to show us what’s in store for it, why the renovations are needed, and what the school does. Watch the videos below for our full News 4 Wake Up coverage.