The Utah Conservatory’s new home
In 1997, Frederic and Debra Cook, along with Aaron Mitchell, started a music store on Historic Main Street and set aside studio space for music lessons.
With the increase of students, the Cooks and Mitchell established a conservatory known as the Community School for the Arts in 2000.
Then, in 2002, the Cooks changed the school’s name to the Utah Conservatory and relocated to Kimball Junction to continue their mission to "enrich the lives of all through performing arts and training."
Former vocal students have gone on to perform with Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City and on Broadway, while music students have participated in national competitions, according to the Cooks.
Twelve years later, the mission remains the same, but the location has changed again.
The Utah Conservatory is now located at 4593 Silver Springs Dr., just behind the Blue Roof facilities, next to Park City Orthodontics and behind Mountain Life Church.
The new location boasts three levels that round up to 4,200 square feet, which is nearly 1,000 square feet more than the Kimball Junction building.
"We have 15 usable studios within the new building where we can hold our classes," Debra Cook said while taking The Park Record on a walkthrough tour earlier this week. "We’re delighted, because we can actually fit two pianos in some of the rooms, so we can do concerto and duet work with the students and the teacher."
In addition to the studios, the structure has room for a library where the conservatory can store music and transcripts in easily accessible spaces.
"The top floor is our music store," Cook said. "We have a little bit more room for displays. We can get all the electric guitars and amps together and all the acoustic guitars together.
"That level also has another classroom space," she said. "I love it because the open loft gives the vocal students more resonance when they sing."
The administration offices and a portion of the classrooms are located on the second floor.
"While the lobby isn’t considered an official performing space, it can be used as one," Cook said. "We used it for three Christmas recitals last month."
The basement is where the musicians can "make a lot of noise."
"This is the area where we teach most of the guitar, drums and trumpet students, and the teachers are happy with that," Cook explained. "It’s also the place where we rehearse the groups. It also has a kitchen where teachers can make their lunches."
Now adorned with drawings of Beethoven, Wagner and a photograph of Albert Einstein with Charlie Chaplin, and other inspiring art, the building was formerly a real estate office.
The staff started teaching in the new building on Dec. 15, which was one day after their last class in the Kimball Junction facility.
"My piano got delivered to the new building 10-minutes before our first lesson," Cook said. "We didn’t miss a single lesson and it was incredible and wonderful because we were able to make the move mid-week because of the timing. We are grateful for the community support. We had all these volunteers to help us move. Our clients came out and donated their time."
When the Utah Conservatory was at Kimball Junction, the Cooks leased the space, but they have a purchase contract for the Silver Springs location.
"We had worked a year and half to negotiate the lease at the other site and we just couldn’t work it," Cook said. "So, we were fortunate to see this pop up."
Frederic Cook remembered when he first saw the Silver Springs building.
"I first saw it one night at the end of November, and thought it was too small, but there was a ‘For Sale’ sign out there and we decided to take a closer look," he said.
"When we went around with our flashlights and I just said, ‘Wow.’"
Cook called his real estate agent and set up an appointment to look inside the building.
"It was fate," he said. "We found the building at the end of November, and we needed to have a deal locked down by Dec. 10, because we were at the end of our negotiations with the other building."
"I love that it has such a warm feeling for a conservatory," Debra Cook said. "I’m already feeling a wonderful feeling of community and collaboration with all the students and faculty because we’re all close to each other and not all spread out like we were at Kimball Junction."
Also, the new location is a couple of miles closer to Park City.
"We’ve had more comments about how much better this location is in terms of accessibility to where our students live, and that’s been encouraging," she said. "And since it’s close to Park City Orthodontics, we’re surprised at how many of our students are getting braces over there."
For more information about the Utah Conservatory, call (435) 435-6292 or visit http://www.utahconservatory.com.
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