They have taught at some of the best music schools and conservatories in the area, sent students to state competitions, and even had a few make a living out of performing. For the teachers apart of the Sharon Performing Artists’ Associations (S.P.A.A.) that was the goal when the group formed in 1990: nurture the promote the arts in Sharon.
“The idea of the group was to provide a venue for musicians to play as well and for people in the community to come and listen,” said member and clarinet instructor Elizabeth Leehey.
Many students later, it is safe to say the group has been successful in it’s mission to bring the arts to Sharon. According to Leehey, scholarships to Sharon youth musicians for music camps have ranged from $1,000-$5,000 a year.
On paper the members of S.P.A.A may seem like only music teachers. But talking with the musical experts, the experience goes beyond knowing when to sing the right note or being able to hit the right key on a piano.
“We just don’t teach the skills, we teach how to become a good human being ,” said piano teacher Rita Corey.
“After 2-3 month you can tell their energy changes. You can see the discipline in their music really effects their mind and everything,” added music teach Lina Yen.
The results were there too. Each teacher had a story of a student who became a better person though music or found the discipline needed for other activities thanks to the lessons learned though the challenges of playing an instrument.
“I had one student who was young and was absolutely hyper, couldn't sit anywhere. Now he is one of my best students. Absolutely smart, knows everything well,” piano teacher Maya Gurevich said.
Giving their students a venue to play, the origination's concerts have allowed young musicians to show off their talents to the town and on Sharon Community TV. Usually the concerts run in May and June and have allowed the musical students to show off their progress from the past year.
Beyond teaching, the group has also brought musicians to Sharon. Recently, the organization hosted Christine and David Hagan at the Unitarian Meeting House.
While most of their students may not go on to be famous musicians or make a living though music, their love for the arts that was developed while practicing sticks when them for the rest of their lives. With students working with the same teachers for most of their life, it is common to be able to watch a child evolve from a beginner to a talented musician by the time they are in high school or college.
“Music teachers have the pleasure of seeing children over many years. You see the development of the child and then you become part of their family,” vocal teacher Bethany Tammaro Condon said.