Giovanna Parnoff

Giovanna Parnoff Awarded Inaugural Thomas Scholarship

Musical Masterworks and Community Music School are pleased to announce the recipient of the first Musical Masterworks Scholarship in Honor of Nancy D. Thomas!

Giovanna Parnoff, already an accomplished pianist and exceptional sixth-grade student from Old Lyme, was presented with the scholarship by Alden Murphy, President of Musical Masterworks and Abigail Nickell, Executive Director of Community Music School. “We are so pleased to honor Nancy’s memory with an award to one of her very own students, in partnership with another of her most beloved arts organizations.’ said Abigail.  Nancy Thomas was a devoted staff member of Musical Masterworks for nearly 25 years.   “It is particularly fortuitous that Giovanna, as a life-long student of Nancy Thomas, is the first winner of this scholarship; we couldn’t be more pleased,” remarked Alden.

Giovanna has attended The Community Music School since she was six months old. She discovered her love of music through Kindermusik and Kate’s Camp programs and eventually started individual piano instruction under the tutelage of Nancy Thomas at the age of 3.

She has received perfect scores at the New London Piano Festival organized by the Middlesex/New London Chapter of the Connecticut State Music Teacher’s Association. Giovanna is a member of Mensa and Intertel, two high IQ societies and was recently inducted into the Junior Mensa Honor Society for her academic performance, leadership skills, and volunteerism/community service. Giovanna has been accepted into Duke University’s Talent Identification Program, Stanford University’s Gifted and Talented Program, and Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. She is a competitive foil fencer and has been coached for 6 years by the Fencer’s School of CT.

Giovanna is an award- winning poet, having seen her work published in “The Mensa Bulletin” and “The Young American Poetry Digest”.  She lives in Old Lyme with her parents, Dr. John Parnoff and Ms. Monique Heller, and her younger sister, Mattea, who is also a piano student at The Community Music School.

The Musical Masterworks Scholarship in Honor of Nancy D. Thomas provides the tuition for a middle school student to take music lessons, 30 minutes each, for one full year at Community Music School.  The scholarship will be awarded annually for the next four years.  To be eligible, the candidate must be a student of classical voice or instrumental music and reside in Middlesex County or New London County.

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Clarinet Technique Intensive with Master Clarinetist Ken Lagace

Saturday, October 21, 2017, 10am-4pm


Clarinet intensive with Ken Lagace on Oct 29

Master clarinetist Ken Lagace will lead a full day of workshops focusing on intermediate/advanced level clarinet technique on a wide range of topics, designed to take your playing to the next level.  The morning session will include in-depth information on clarinet reeds, including how to select them, maintain them, fix them, properly play them, and even how to make them! The afternoon session will provide an introduction to Ken’s signature REALM method, which stands for Reed, Embouchure, Air, Ligature, and Mouthpiece.  This method teaches players to achieve an excellent sound with flexibility, range, control, and many other aspects of good clarinet performance.  Each session will be followed by a chance for the participants to experiment with their newly learned skills. During the final session, participants will be broken into two or more groups where they can apply their new techniques in a chamber ensemble setting, with feedback from Ken and other clarinet instructors.

Workshop Schedule:

  • 9:45am Check-in (pre-registration required)
  • 10am Clarinet Reeds Workshop
  • 11:30am Technique Application
  • 12pm Lunch (provided)
  • 1pm Introduction to the REALM Method
  • 2:30pm Technique Application
  • 3pm Ensemble Playing Session

COST: $95 (Includes lunch and full day of workshops)

Register Now!

Student Name

About Ken Lagace

Mr. Lagace received his Bachelor of Music degree at Hartt College of Music (CT) in 1960.  He studied with Keith Wilson at Yale in 1955, Bernard Portnoy in New York City from 1958 to 1960.  He served as a member of the US Coast Guard Band and studied with Kalmen Opperman in New York City from 1962 to 1966. He instructed at the Hartt College of Music (CT) from 1966 to 1987. Under the tutelage of Kalmen Opperman, Mr. Lagace learned to make his own reeds and reface clarinet and saxophone mouthpieces which has become a skill he willingly shares with his peers. He was a member of the Hartford (CT) Symphony Orchestra from 1966 to 1987 playing Assistant Principal Clarinet, Bass Clarinet and Eb Clarinet. He was Principal Clarinetist in the Hartford (CT) Chamber Orchestra from its inception until 1987.  His performances include many on TV and Radio, and at Lincoln Center (NYC) and Carnegie Hall (NYC) with the Hartford Symphony.  He also made a CD recording of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the Hartford (CT) Chamber Orchestra in 1976.  In 1987 Mr. Lagace abandoned the clarinet to program computers and in 2008 after retiring, dusted off the clarinet and is enjoying being back in the clarinet world again.



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East Lyme Satellite Building

New Satellite Studio in East Lyme!

East Lyme Satellite Building

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve expanded our programming to a satellite location in East Lyme!  The new site offers private instruction in a variety of instruments for students of all ages, as well as several beginner group classes, chamber music ensembles, music therapy, and our popular Kindermusik program for babies and toddlers.  The satellite site is located in a beautiful new building with easy access and ample parking at 179 Flanders Road in East Lyme, on the second floor of the Kumon Center.  Call our office at (860)767-0026 to register for lessons!

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Prep for Regional Auditions

Audition for a jury of CMS faculty members in preparation for regional festival auditions. Each student receives a written evaluation with tips for improvement and an audio file of their audition. Audition time slots are 15-minutes in length beginning at 9 am. Students will be required to perform the CMEA audition piece, scales, and a sight reading selection that will be provided.
FREE to current CMS students; $30 for non-CMS students. Call 860-767-0026 or email to register.
For additional information about auditions, visit the
Connecticut Music Educators Website.
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Fall 2017 Calendar


Piano class

SEP 6  – Fall 2017 Semester Begins

SEP 11-15  – CMS Preview Week!

OCT 9  – Columbus Day, CMS OPEN

OCT 21 – Mock Audition Day

NOV 4  – Mid-Semester Recital

NOV 12 – CMS Faculty Concert

NOV 22-25 – Thanksgiving Holiday CMS CLOSED

DEC 10 –  Holiday Concert

DEC 23-JAN 1 – Holiday Break, CMS CLOSED

JAN 13, 14, 20, 21  – Fall Semester Recitals


JAN 29  – Spring Semester Begins


Business Office Hours:

Mon – Thurs: 9 a.m. to  7 p.m.

Fri: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


*Last day of lessons varies depending on makeup lessons due – please check with your instructor.

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