MANCHESTER, NH – Ted Herbert’s Music School, an icon of the Queen City, opened the doors at its new location, 880 Paige St., on Sunday.
The music school was bought by The Majestic Theater Company in 2016. Robert Dionne, the Artistic Director of Majestic, is a longtime friend of the Herbert family.
“They’ve known me my entire life,” recalls Dionne, of the founder of the music school, famed big band leader Ted Herbert himself, and his three children, Thad, Marlene and Mark.
Marlene and Mark took over ownership of the music school after their father passed away in 2006. Dionne and Majestic Theater began renting in the former location, 922 Elm St., in 2011. Dionne used the former mill building primarily for practice and rehearsal space. When it came time for Mark and Marlene to retire, they approached Dionne.
“They wanted the music school to live on,” says Dionne, “so we kind of laughed … but [I] did end up buying the music school.”
The new location is home to both Ted Herbert’s Music school and the Majestic Theater Company. According to Dionne, it had been in the works among Majestic’s staff to find a larger place for some time.
Formerly located on the West Side, by Saint Marie’s Church, Majestic Theater Company has been active in the community since 1990.
“Parents are really excited,” says Dionne of the new space, “our theater families are excited because we’ll be able to serve more kids.”
The music school has been open for lessons through December and January, even as renovations were being completed. A new theater and performance space was added to the 7,000-square-foot building, complete with stage, lighting and seating.
“Kids have been coming every week,” says Dionne, “but this is the first time a lot of our majestic patrons have come.”
The opening ceremonies were attended by Mayor Gatsas, who presided over the ceremonial ribbon cutting, and featured performances by local musicians and students of the music school. One notable highlight was the NH Ukeladies who performed, directed by John Chouinard, who teaches guitar, banjo, ukulele and bass at the music school.
The Majestic Theater company will continue to use the Derry Opera House and Executive Court for larger shows, but Dionne is looking forward to expanding into new artistic endeavors on his newly constructed stage.
“This will allow us to bring back some performances that we couldn’t do [before],” said Dionne, “smaller teen shows, things that only have kids in … things that don’t work in an expensive theater.”
The space at 880 Paige St. is available for rent for functions and work meetings. To sign up for lessons at the Ted Herbert’s Music school, visit their website at tedherbert.com and fill out a Lesson Request form. More info on the Majestic Theater Company can be found here.