For this week’s Q&A with a local business owner, we hear from town resident Mariola Galavis of School of Rock New Canaan. The Grove Street business is open.
Here’s our exchange.
New Canaanite: Tell us what this experience of the pandemic, and health-related restrictions, has been like for School of Rock New Canaan?
Mariola Galavis: We have been very lucky that we were able to stay open through the “stay-at-home” period. We transitioned to remote operations seamlessly and quickly. Within 24 hours our school restructured the lessons/rehearsals and launched School of Rock Remote. School of Rock New Canaan is part of a huge network of music schools, of more than 250 rock schools around the world. It has been an amazing team effort, collaboration of ideas and knowledge sharing.
You’re offering virtual lessons. What has the response and demand been like?
The response has been amazing. School of Rock New Canaan is a pretty tight community and our families have stuck with us. We are super grateful for that, because not only we can operate, but also our staff was able to keep working. That was very important to me. In terms of School of Rock Remote, our goal was to deliver educational value, offering a much needed social outlet, and maintaining a sense of normalcy and routine while we sheltered in place. It has been a great and innovative way to keep the kids learning and engaged. Additionally, we added Zoom Masterclasses with our local instructors and Zoom Artist Sessions with some of the biggest names in music like Steve Vai and Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins. It’s been pretty awesome.
What is the status, or what is the hope or expectation, as far as being able to operate in-person again on Grove Street?
We are open! We opened June 22nd for in person lessons and rehearsals. School of Rock is more than just music lessons. It’s rehearsals, it’s friendships, it’s community. We are so excited to have our students back in the building. We made a ton of changes to the school to allow social distancing. Everyone in masks, sanitizing stations, vocal plexiglass booths, half the traffic inside the school. We are extremely lucky to have the best landlord Hobbs Inc. They have worked with us to be able to move all our rehearsals to our venue/garage attached. It has a ton of space and we can open the garage door as long as we don’t play music after 10 p.m. Our students rock so the neighbors will love the sound coming from our garage. It is actually pretty awesome. That said, we will still be offering School of Rock Remote who rather stay home. We will also be having our very popular summer camps in person at 50% capacity. They will still orck, prob even more.
The governor recently began allowing group events, with restrictions. What plans does the School of Rock have, if any, to start playing out in the community again?
As of now, we will do all our performances in our garage with the door open with minimal audience. We added multi-camera live streaming technology so friends and family will still be able to watch their kid rock on stage. Our School of Rock house band, which is the group that performs in community events, started their rehearsals and they are more than ready to perform in any outdoor event that would like live music.
What is your message to School of Rock members and fans?
That we are so so grateful to have the best community of families. We are extremely excited to be able to bring live music to our community. To be able to see our kids happy on stage again playing their instrument live. However, while we are very excited to welcome everyone back, we also want to assure you that we are taking every precaution to be as safety conscious as possible. And that the safety of our staff and our students remains our top priority.