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Music settlement will open campus in former bop stop jazz club in ohio city

Posted January 07, 2014 in Articles

Author: Lee Chilcote

Yet another University Circle institution is opening in Ohio City in an effort to grab new audiences, bolster programming and join this revitalized neighborhood. This time it's the Music Settlement, a 101-year-old organization that bills itself as "the most beautiful place to learn music in Cleveland" and whose facility includes a historic 1910 mansion. TMS is opening a second campus in the former Bop Stop in Ohio City.

Last month, Music Settlement President Charlie Lawrence received a letter from Anita Donneman and Ron Busch, the owners of the state-of-the-art, custom-built Bop Stop jazz club, which closed a few years ago. They offered to donate the property to TMS. Lawrence says he was "stunned" by the heartfelt offer to donate the property, and after touring the facility, immediately agreed it was a fit.

"It's once in an organization's lifetime that you get a facility donated, and it's in pristine shape," says Lawrence. "We are a regional arts organization, and we're excited to have a footprint on the west side. This neighborhood embraces the arts and sees the arts as a way to move the community forward."

The Bop Stop facility will not only allow TMS to offer classes on the west side, but also fits other organizational needs. It was built as a performance space, something TMS currently lacks. Additionally, because the Bop Stop has near-perfect acoustics for music, TMS will also set up a recording facility here.

"We have a very strong jazz program, and the Bop Stop was built for jazz," says Lawrence, adding that the facility will initially be used for ensemble instruction and performances. At some point in the future, TMS also hopes to incorporate individual instruction, music therapy and preschool education -- all key components of the organization's mission -- into its new campus.

TMS also plans to lease the space for private events. With ample scholarship funding available, many programs can be offered for free or reduced cost to low-income families, Lawrence stresses. He adds that TMS views the Bop Stop as the "lead gift" in a fundraising campaign to revamp the organization's facilities.

Details are still being worked out, but Lawrence expects TMS will host at least one event in the facility before the end of March, with additional programming to follow.

The Music Settlement joins the Cleveland Museum of Art, which partnered with Fred and Lawrence Bidwell to open the Transformer Station last year, as well as the Cleveland Orchestra, which has brought musical performances to the Happy Dog.

Ohio City Inc. Executive Director Eric Wobser says the new TMS campus is part of an ongoing exchange between University Circle and the near west side. "We're seeing cultural institutions, many based in University Circle, wanting to see impact beyond their traditional walls," he says. "They enjoy the youthfulness and participation of the near west side community. You're also seeing University Circle become redeveloped with businesses like ABC Tavern and the Happy Dog."

Wobser adds that Detroit Avenue is seeing a strong growth spurt, and that there's additional development opportunity all the way from Public Square to Lakewood. The Bop Stop is located at 2920 Detroit, directly across from the Hingetown development and the Mariner's Watch apartments, which are under construction.

Former Bop Stop owners Anita Nonneman and Ron Busch say that the Music Settlement is the perfect fit for continuing the jazz club's mission, which was to build and celebrate Cleveland's music culture and to support budding musicians.

"We could have sold it, but I didn't want to drive by every day and see that the building wasn't being used as intended," says Busch, who previously tried to sell the building but says he was unable to find the right tenant to continue the Bop Stop's legacy as a performance space. "There's too much heart and soul in it."

"The Settlement is about helping people of all ages to realize their goals," says Nonneman. "For us to be able to further those goals, that's a real honor."

Original Article: http://www.freshwatercleveland.com/devnews/musicsettlementbopstop010714.aspx

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