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April 27, 2015
For Immediate Release

WATERLOO – Wilfrid Laurier University has taken a major step forward in its commitment to the musical life of Waterloo Region. Beginning fall 2015, Laurier’s Faculty of Music will assume operation of the Beckett School of Music, which has been gifted to Laurier by its current owners, William J. Labron and Lynn McRuer. The school will become part of a new Laurier Conservatory of Music housed at Laurier’s Waterloo campus.

The Beckett School provides instruction in all woodwind, brass and string instruments, guitar, lute, voice, piano, music theory and speech arts. The school also offers an early childhood music program for three- to seven-year olds, which is the oldest and largest introductory music program for young children in the region.

An interim director of the conservatory will be appointed within the next few weeks and will aim to create as smooth a transition as possible for families, students, teachers and staff. Current Beckett School instructors will be retained, along with the number of part-time Laurier instructors who already teach in the Beckett School. Over time, it is expected that greater connections will develop between the conservatory and the Faculty of Music, including teaching opportunities for music students in pedagogy courses. The Faculty of Music’s many non-credit programs will operate under the umbrella of the conservatory.

“This is a transformative step forward for our Faculty of Music,” said Glen Carruthers, Laurier’s dean of music. “The Beckett School has a tremendous reputation across the country for top-quality musical instruction and we will build on this tradition of excellence. By opening the Laurier Centre for Music in the Community in 2008 and introducing Canada’s first Master of Arts in Community Music in 2013, Laurier has assumed a leadership role in community music education. The Conservatory of Music is a natural outcome of our ongoing commitment to music in the region, and is a fitting complement to our thriving Faculty of Music.”

“I am very pleased to deliver the Beckett School to Laurier as a vehicle to further connect our community with the Faculty of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University,” said Labron. “The new opportunities and synergies created by aligning these two outstanding institutions is exciting and affirms the high level of expertise at each school. The collegial inventory of many years of experience and the tradition of family involvement at the Beckett School go a long way to reinforce the value of music in our community.”

The Beckett School was founded by Marjorie and Garth Beckett. It began operations in September 1980 in uptown Waterloo, offering instruction in piano, theory, and early childhood music education. In 2000, the school moved to its present location at 5 Michael Street in downtown Kitchener, and acquired more studio and classroom space. The Beckett School is now the largest music school in the area, with approximately 1,000 students and 40 teachers.

Laurier’s Faculty of Music, founded in 1975, offers two undergraduate programs (Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Music Therapy) and two graduate programs (Master of Music Therapy and Master of Arts in Community Music). The Bachelor of Music offers concentrations in Music Theory, Music Education, Music History, Composition/Improvisation and Performance. The Bachelor and Master of Music Therapy, and Master of Arts in Community Music are the only programs of their kind in Ontario.

The Faculty of Music limits undergraduate enrolment to 400 students, a number large enough to allow for a full symphony orchestra, three choirs, wind orchestra, opera program and ensembles in jazz, percussion, contemporary music and several other areas. The Faculty of Music’s programs are widely known for their exceptional quality and student demand is high. This year the Faculty of Music received approximately 450 applications for 90 first-year spots.

For more information and to register for September lessons please call 519-578-3640.

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MEDIA CONTACTS:

Glen Carruthers
Dean of Music
Wilfrid Laurier University

T: 519.884.0710 x2151

E: gcarruthers@wlu.ca 

Kevin Crowley, Director
Communications & Public Affairs
Wilfrid Laurier University

T: 519.884.0710 x3070

E: kcrowley@wlu.ca


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