The Gilmore is Growing in Battle Creek

November 14, 2023

The Gilmore is continuing to expand music education and programming for children and families in Battle Creek. Our on-site piano lab at the Ann J. Kellogg Elementary School, launched in 2017, now serves 100 students in third through fifth grades throughout the school year.

Earlier this year, the Battle Creek Community Piano Lab was launched at the Burma Center in Springfield. Designed for new or returning piano students of all ages, the program will relocate in January to the First Congregational Church of Battle Creek (FCCBC).

“We’re grateful to the Burma Center for helping us get up and running,” says Adam Schumaker, Gilmore Director of Education. “We will be able to use that momentum to continue to grow and reach even more students at our new downtown location.”

One benefit of the move will be working with the Arts and Culture Collective of Battle Creek (ACCBC) (also housed at the FCCBC), an organization dedicated to the creation and preservation of art and culture through a variety of initiatives.

“The ACCBC works to bring opportunities to Battle Creek artists through programming and resources, which works with our mission,” says Schumaker. “We are excited for the Community Piano Lab to work with them towards the shared goal to integrate music production into the music education landscape there.”

It is hoped that the location near Battle Creek Central High School will draw interest in piano-based music production education from students there.

“Music education has not really held a place for genres like hip hop,” says Schumaker. “We hope to show how learning piano, combined with learning the technology of music production – which has become its own instrument – can help students find a new pathway to artistic expression.”

Key funder for Battle Creek programs, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, recently renewed a four-year commitment of support to expand opportunities for music instruction for children and families, and for festival programming in Battle Creek. Area performances during the 2024 Piano Festival will include five “Jazz at Noon” performances at the Kool Family Community Center; a solo recital by 2024 Gilmore Young Artist Harmony Zhu at First Congregational Church; and a family concert at Kellogg Auditorium with the 5 Browns. The Gilmore will continue to collaborate/support Juneteenth and Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, in addition to summer piano collaborations with the Burma Center, Camp I Can, and 21st Century Camps, which serve 400+ students.

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