Meet Sandy Connolly, the “High Priestess” of Crescendo Music Loft (CML). Her skill set includes identifying and developing talent in her students and sharing with them her enjoyment and celebration of the love of music, especially in its performance.
A well-established and highly-respected music teacher, Sandy earned her BA in Voice Performance at Tennessee’s University of the South, where she trained as a classical singer focusing on opera. Nowadays, she’s most comfortable in her chosen element – singing the blues with her own band. You may also recognize her as the hostess of the ever-popular Open Mic at Donahue’s Madison Beach Grille (in non-covid times held every Wednesday evening). She also hosted the Acoustic Open Mic at the Country Tavern in Guilford for 8 years, ending her incredible run there at the end of 2019.
Quick with good cheer, a radiant smile, and infectious laugh, Sandy is decidedly not “your mother’s music teacher.” Sandy admits that music theory had to be beaten into her and as such, she’s dedicated herself to stuffing music theory into the brains, hands and voices of as many people who will sit still for even a moment.
While always seeking to improve her students’ learning experiences, Sandy nurtures musical growth for beginners and maturing musicians alike by exposing – some might say torturing – her students to her new Tiny Books of Musical Rudiments series. Simple and fun on their face, but packed with easily digestible information all musicians should know, (how can those tiny, 8 page, handwritten books contain so much knowledge?) the tiny books grew out the need to re-configure her teaching during the current COVID crisis and from her dissatisfaction with the dearth of foundational musical concepts found in most introductory and intermediate learning materials.
As an outgrowth of Sandy’s vision, Crescendo Music Loft (aka “The Loft”) is a large and well-appointed facility located just over the Guilford line in Madison, Connecticut, and includes appropriate protocols for maintaining a safe in-person learning experience, including lots of hand sanitizer, 12’ separation between her and her students, PPE barriers, and kick-a** fans to refresh and replace the studio air multiple times in between lessons.
In non-COVID times, the Loft hosted a number of well-attended and popular events. The first, a monthly open mic night exclusively for teens called The Groove, offered local high schoolers a showcase for their musical and comedic improvisational skills. The second, a monthly concert series called Sessions, featuring seven acts, each playing for roughly 30 minutes. The Tuesday Night Music Club offered a weekly opportunity for budding musicians to rehearse under the tutelage of seasoned local musicians acting as music director.
Unfortunately, these events are on hold for the time being while we all await a vaccine for COVID-19, but Sandy and the others at The Loft are always tossing around ideas for music events that will comply with all the State regulations for keeping everyone safe. Stay tuned!