The Community School of Music and the Arts was founded in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1956 by Dr. Peter LaManna and Werner Von Trapp of the world renowned Trapp Family Singers depicted in the award-winning motion picture “The Sound of Music.” Both founders set out to instill the love of music and art in children and adults through an educational program for all who wished to study regardless of race, creed, or economic background. The Charter Dinner for the school was held at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Reading, and the guest of honor was Baroness Maria Von Trapp. The Community School operated from several locations during its more than a half century history. In 1989 the school found a permanent home at 345 Douglass Street in Reading through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Cedric Elmer. Mr. Elmer served as Director of the school for 38 years until 2002. In 2005, the school began to expand to several satellite locations, including the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, in downtown Reading, where the business office is located. In 2010, the Board of Directors appointed Mr. Elmer as Managing Director.
The Community School Vocal and Instrumental Performance Library was founded in 1998 through a grant from the Berks County Community Foundation, and is considered one of finest music libraries on the east coast. The VIP Library is located at the Centre Park Campus at 345 Douglass Street in Reading.
The Community School of Music continues to work in partnership with other organizations to make the arts accessible to students right in their own neighborhoods. Collaborative efforts have included many organizations, including The Greater Berks Food Bank Kids Café Program, Reading Berks Guild of Craftsmen, Berks Opera Workshop, Latin Flair Dance Troupe, Reading Summer Music Institute, Reading, Berks Conference of Churches, Muhlenberg Recreation Department, The Reading School District, Alvernia College, Albright College, Penn State Berks Theatre Dept., RiverPlace Development, West Reading Main Street, Centre Park Arts, Annual Cherry Blossom Festival, Solar Flair Music and Arts Festival, Berks Classical Children’s Chorus, and others.
Our neighborhood based initiatives focus on community engagement through the arts and cultural education for the purpose of inspiring, empowering, and uplifting the community.
The mission of the Corporation is to operate as a non-profit educational institution for teaching and making music and other fine arts know throughout the community.
Board of Directors
- Brian J. Bubnis – President
- Dail Richie – Vice President
- Patricia Frankel, Esq. – Secretary
- Chris Luppold, CPA – Treasurer
- Rev. Carolyn Hetrick
- Turie Sotzin
- Angelina Spears
- Edward Terrell
- Laura Wright