A talented group of Fox Valley music students will soon head off with excitement to find their new classrooms.
With downtown development on tap, Appleton Rock School is on the move.
The performance-based music program will open the doors to its new headquarters on Sept. 1, moving from its founding home in Downtown Appleton to a new space off Midway Road near Menasha’s Piggly Wiggly and former Shopko store.
Owner Jason Lipsky was content downtown, though he’s thrilled to have a building with easy access from State 441. It’ll be more convenient for more families.
“It’s in the dead center middle of the Fox Valley,” he said. “It’s only six minutes from the Breezewood exit in Neenah.”
Appleton Rock School will occupy the full 7,100-square-foot building at 1487 Kenwood Drive in Menasha. It’s part of the Kenwood Center office park.
Its perks go beyond location, Lipsky said.
Rock School’s current building at 309 E. Washington St. will be demolished along with two N. Durkee Street structures to make room for a $6.2 million, 36-unit apartment building. Fore Development is leading the project and provided assistance to rock school for the relocation.
Lipsky wouldn’t have otherwise moved, though said the new building offers a better configuration and far more space for a program that’s evolved since it began in 2012.
Appleton Rock School offers private lessons in piano, guitar, bass, drums and vocals taught by some of the region’s most talented working musicians.
Its signature program organizes students into bands and vocal groups where they learn the role of teamwork in musicianship through rehearsals and the performance chops that can only be acquired on stage.
“We found a thing that works and we have a great teaching staff,” Lipsky said.
Rock school bands perform at least once monthly and have lit up stages across the region.
They’ve played a wide range of community events, festivals and benefits. Rock school bands have opened Kaukauna’s Live from Hydro Park concert series. They’ve occasionally had the thrill of playing major stages whether it was Appleton’s Octoberfest, the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center or Green Bay’s Weidner Center.
They’re just weeks away from starting a new chapter.
It’s almost as if it was meant to be.
Lipsky inquired about the building before he learned that its former occupant — a media company — built a recording studio in its lower level.
The current building performed well, though Lipsky acknowledges having had “little bits of ‘I really could use this’ or ‘I wish I had that.’”
The new building will take care of the wish list items.
The old building offered one small restroom. The new building has separate men’s and women’s facilities. Drum studios will be separated from those for guitar and vocal students. Each will have separate reception areas. The lower-level band rehearsal rooms will give players far more elbow room than the cramped spaces they currently occupy.
Lipsky is excited to finally have a garage and ample storage space.
Show production has become a bigger part of the business and he’ll have more room and easier access for moving stage units and sound equipment.
They’re making the move to make room for downtown development.
In making the move, the program will have room for its own further development.
“It’s exciting,” Lipsky said. “This place has a really good vibe.”