PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED excerpt from artsNantucket, summer edition 2015
If the walls behind the main door could talk, they would tell us a wealth of stories and island history. The hallway wall upstairs actually shows us the history of 56 Centre Street, the new home of Nantucket Community Music Center (NCMC). Here is a snippet: Harrison Gray Otis Dunham, a prominent merchant and owner of the whaleship Nantucket, constructed this building in 1843. Harriet Dunham (granddaughter) was a member of the Nantucket Relief Association, which was founded to assist “indigent, aged people in our midst,” and of the Nantucket Historical Association. In the early 1900s, 56 Centre was owned by Florence and Henry Lang, a couple credited by many with starting the Nantucket art colony.
NCMC has been teaching, performing, and playing music on Nantucket for 35 years and counting. In 2012, ReMain Nantucket made NCMC a generous and transformative offer to lease a permanent home, 56 Centre, which was to be shared with the Nantucket Community School. Upon entering this historic building, one is often met with distant melodies of varying instruments throughout the rooms. One might hear pieces from classical to contemporary and everything in between.
The interior design is classic contemporary Nantucket style on the main and upper floors. There are environmentally friendly systems in place that every new center should aspire to match. Venturing downstairs, it’s as if you are transported into the future—the overall ambiance combined with cutting-edge technology is steller, unlike anything seen before on island. There is everything a professional or student of music could ask for: instruction/practice, studios, music library, instrument and equipment storage, recording studio, recital spaces, class rooms, recital parlors, and last but not least, a studio apartment for visiting teachers and artists.
If you want to learn, to listen, or to practice music, stop in and visit 56 Centre Street. Become a member; take a class; or simply take a tour. You won’t be disappointed: upon entry, the excitement in the air is palpable and inspiring. The space embodies the thrill of learning and the passion for playing music—a truly universal language.