Brattleboro Music Center hopes to move to Winston Prouty Center

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BRATTLEBORO — For many years the following quote by Hannah Arendt has been posted on a bulletin board at the Brattleboro Music Center: "No activity can become excellent if the world does not provide a proper space for its existence."

The Brattleboro Music Center's long wait for a "proper space" is nearly over.

On Thursday afternoon, Nov. 11, Mary Greene, the managing director of the BMC said if the Winston Prouty Center's offer for the Austine campus is accepted, the BMC will move from its location on Walnut Street to the Prouty building on Guilford Street.

"This location across from Living Memorial Park will provide easy access for our local and regional musical community in a beautiful setting with a strong public use identity," said Greene. "The building is in great shape and offers expansion opportunities as needed. There are also ample opportunities to make the BMC's new home green and sustainable."

Currently, said Greene, the BMC's architects are working on plans to adapt and expand the building for the BMC's needs.

"Our new home will include new classroom and studio space which will make possible more course offerings, expanded programs and intensive coaching. All rooms where music takes place will be soundproof — another first for the BMC."

In addition, she said, the BMC is developing the technological infrastructure for recording, composition, and music arranging.

"Because our new space will be designed for flexible use, it will create abundant opportunities for collaborative projects and community connections."

Greene said fundraising to make all of this possible is underway.

"We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of so many generous board members and early donors who helped make this moment happen," said Jean Brewster Giddings, the president of BMC's board. "Also, I would like to thank our board building committee for their tireless efforts this spring to find this property."

"We have been waiting a very long time for this and are thrilled that we can finally realize our dream," said Judith Serkin, a founding faculty member of the BMC Music School.

Blanche Moyse founded the Brattleboro Music Center in 1952. Moyse and her family moved to Marlboro in 1949 at the invitation of Adolf Busch and Rudolf Serkin and helped found the Marlboro Music Center. She chaired Marlboro College's music program for 25 years and founded the Marlboro Music Festival. She also founded Brattleboro's Blanche Moyse Chorale. She died in 2011 at the age of 101.

Greene said Moyse's move to southern Vermont was a watershed moment in the region's artistic heritage.

"There was a wonderful community here already but the level of music that came here through the connections at Marlboro created a foundation for an arts community that we all enjoy and take pride in today."

Greene has been involved in the Brattleboro Music Center since 1991, when she and her family moved to Brattleboro. All four of her children have taken classes or workshops through the BMC. She has been on the board and served as its chairwoman and last year, with Pat Mangan, served as co-directors until she took over the position this year.

Greene said the proposed move to Guilford Street is the culmination of a long process that has benefited from the efforts of numerous people.

"Who don't we have to thank?" she said.

Bob Audette can be at 802-254-2311, ext. 160


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