Settlement Music’s NE branch holds open house

Visitors learned about the programs open to people of all ages and abilities.

Sounds of success: Settlement Music School Kardon-Northeast Branch, at 3745 Clarendon Ave., has programs open to people of all abilities, in individual and group settings. SOURCE: FACEBOOK

At the recent Settlement Music School Kardon-Northeast Branch open house, visitors learned there are programs for infants, senior citizens and everyone in between.

Programs are open to people of all abilities, in individual and group settings.

“We pretty much cover all the bases,” said branch director Mark Forchic.

Kardon-Northeast, at 3745 Clarendon Ave., is one of six Settlement Music School branches. There are three others in Philadelphia, one in Willow Grove and another in Camden.

Students come from the city and Bucks County to the branch, which is slightly off the beaten path. Because of light foot traffic and the recently closed nearby Wawa, Forchic is looking to add signage to the area of Frankford Avenue and Knights Road.

While open houses are held in the fall and the first Saturday in June, students can register any time of year.

At the open house, there were performances, sample classes and opportunities to meet the faculty.

Music, dance and art are the staples at Settlement, which also has a summer camp, an adult rock band and programs for people with special-needs.

There are partnerships with schools and an active board of directors.

Scholarships and financial aid are available.

“We serve the community. We’re highly accredited. We don’t turn anybody away,” Forchic said.

Forchic has taught for 15 years and served as branch director for the last 4½. He still performs as a jazz guitarist.

Guitar is just one of the musical offerings.

“We teach every instrument,” Forchic said.

Mary Beth Kramer is both a board member and mother of a student. Her son Jesse, 33, has been coming to Settlement for three years and plays the drums.

“We’re warm, friendly and approachable,” she said. “We’re willing to work with families to make it more affordable.”

Karen Gurmankin chairs the board. A former social worker and political aide, she loves what she sees at Settlement. She walks into the building, sees a diverse clientele mingling and learning together and hears the universal language of music.

“It’s joyful,” she said. “It’s my happy place. It’s a little gem in the community.” ••

Settlement Music School’s Kardon-Northeast Branch is open Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call 215–320–2620 or go to settlementmusic.org