Our History

The Center for Musical Arts began in 1996 as the Rocky Mountain Center for Musical Arts (RMCMA). Professional musicians, educators and community leaders Peggy Bruns and Kathy Kucsan co-founded the school with a vision of equity, inclusivity and “Music for All…for Life!”

From the beginning, RMCMA offered individual and group lessons on all instruments and voice, along with classes, workshops, ensembles, and community concerts. Students of all ages, backgrounds and abilities were welcomed with open arms, and never turned away for lack of ability to pay. And the desire to serve a diverse cultural and socio-economic community was instrumental in selecting Lafayette, CO as the Center’s home.

Due to high demand and community support, the original faculty of 14 has grown to 38 professional teaching musicians, 30 of whom have advanced degrees in music. Expanding to a student population of over 200 in just two years, the Center quickly outgrew its original home at 111 West Cannon Street. In 2000, an anonymous donor gifted the RMCMA with the current building at 200 East Baseline Road, which houses two performance spaces and 13 studios.

Also in 2000, the Heartstrings program was created in order to support increased need-based tuition assistance as well as low- or no- cost instrument rentals. Through continued public support, this program has supplied more than 5,000 students with tuition assistance as well as instruments for more than 3,000 students across 5 school districts and 50 schools.

In 2002, leadership from the Colorado Music Festival reached out to the RMCMA to create a program called “Classically KIDS!” This collaboration prompted more combined programming, and in 2010 led to a merger of the two organizations: Colorado Music Festival & Center for Musical Arts.

Today, the Center for Musical Arts is the educational arm of the organization, serving more than 600 students weekly with expanded levels of programming. Still deeply rooted in the founding philosophy of equity and inclusion, today’s Center for Musical Arts embraces a holistic view of music-making, from amateur to professional, and listening enjoyment in alignment with the organizational mission of inspiring and connecting community members of all ages by providing access to the best of the world’s music through education and performance.