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Cortlandt Conservatory Makes Beautiful Music

Carol Arrucci of the Cortlandt School For Performing Arts. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Inside the Cortlandt School For Performing Arts. Photo Credit: Sam Barron

CORTLANDT, N.Y. -- For almost two years, prospective musicians have found a home at the Cortlandt School For Performing Arts.

The school, on the second floor at 24 Old Albany Post Road in Croton, is run by Carol and Ray Arrucci, musicians with more than 70 years of music experience combined. Carol Arrucci was a longtime music teacher in the Hendrick Hudson School District before retiring to run the music school full-time. The Arruccis live in Ossining.

Ray Arrucci is a vocalist, stage and television actor and rock guitarist and Carol Arrucci is a classically trained vocalist, pianist and conductor. The school offers private and group lessons in various instruments, as well as voice lessons.

Recitals and other shows are hosted in the school's performing arts center.

"There aren't really any conservatories in this area," Carol Arrucci said. "The school has developed a lot faster than I expected."

The school offers 10 full time teachers. she said teachers are never rotated and it is important the student has the same teacher for instruction.

"Our teachers are very high qualified," Arrucci said. "Everyone here is an accomplished musician. These people can play."

To start the Cortlandt School For Performing Arts, the Arruccis turned to Kickstarter, where they were able to raise more than $10,000.

"We had friends, relatives, musicians and the theater community supporting us," Carol Arrucci said. "People really wanted to see us do it. They knew this wouldn't be like any old music school. We were really humbled."

She said drums, violin, piano and vocals are the most popular lessons offered. Students are as young as four and she said there are people in their 60s who come each week to learn an instrument.

"It's really exciting to see how much people grow," she said. "It's why we have this place. You build more than musical talent. It's about developing musicianship and nurturing your self-esteem. You build character."

Kids who study music are likely to have more confidence and perform better in school, she said.

"We had a student come in who was so nervous about performing," she said "Now singing opera is her life. It's what I love to see."

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