Kentucky performing arts school expands despite pandemic
BULLITT COUNTY, Ky. (WAVE) - The coronavirus pandemic shut down Broadway in New York City and it put beloved Louisville institutions like the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts and Actors Theatre in the dark.
However, for some performing arts schools, the exact opposite happened. With a motto of “masked and moving forward,” Classic Melodies Performance Institute owners Melodie and Bill Stacy and their staff of 15 instructors in Hillview not only are surviving during COVID-19, but they are also now opening a second location at the Mellwood Art Center in Louisville.
“We Zoomed our classes for two months when the world was shut down and we saw students’ confidence plummet,” Melodie Stacy said.
She said parents worried kids already in Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) were spending way too much time on devices.
“They really were overwhelmed both physically and mentally not being able to move forward and move their bodies with their friends, but they’re doing it safely,” Stacy said. “We’ve had no COVID outbreak in our studio for 18 months. We’ve not had a single case traced to our studio.”
She said the 27-year business moved to social distancing, masks, health questionnaires and constant cleaning.
“We don’t have complaints from the kids because they’re doing what they love,” Stacy said. “They’re having a good time, they’re in person and they’re not in front of a screen.”
Located in Bullitt County, Classic Melodies Performance Institute is 15,000 square feet with piano, guitar, band instruments, acting, singing, dance, and musical theatre classes as well as new classes at the Louisville location. As COVID cases rise and fall, Stacy said she realizes expansion is always a risk. She is willing and excited to take it.
“Signing that lease was scary, but I just think it was scarier for us after 27 years of teaching children and having their families come to us and trust us to keep them safe and healthy and what would make it possible for them to continue,” she said.
Louisville Metro Councilman Markus Winkler helped proclaim Sept. 8 the studio’s grand opening day at the Louisville venue.
Classes are open for children and adults seven days a week. For a limited time, some free classes are being offered to celebrate the opening of the second location at 1860 Mellwood Avenue.
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