Canada’s second longest running community music school, the Music School at the House was started through the vision of then agency director Lally Fleming, who worked closely with the Music School’s first Director Helen Larkin as well as Sir Ernest MacMillan of the Royal Conservatory of Music.
It was Sir Ernest MacMillan’s idea to use the Music School as a practical training course for the Conservatory’s music education students. This would also provide an opportunity for students to find room and board, as St. Christopher House was at that time a full settlement house, with staff living and working in the same building.
This arrangement with the Conservatory led to a long-term relationship with Boris Berlin, who was one of the first teachers at St. Christopher House Music School, and who later became a legend in music education in Canada. Mr. Berlin was a special guest at St. Chris’ 70th Birthday Celebrations in April, 2000.
Over the years, the changing interests of our community have been mirrored by various initiatives of the Music School. Important teachers from the National Ballet School taught dance. We sponsored the first steel drum band in Canada (second in North America), whcih became so large that we spun it off into the community as its own school. We have had all manner of programs in between, ranging from marching bands to jazz instruction.