Teachers, staff and board members in front of the addition being built at 317 Main community music center in Yarmouth. It is hoped construction will be complete by December. Rachel Vitello / The Forecaster

A 200-seat performance hall and 10 studios, including a recording studio, are coming to the 317 Main community music center  in Yarmouth.

“It’s just something that doesn’t exist right now in Yarmouth,” 317 Main Director of Marketing and Communications Lisa Frates said. “We’re taking some of the best elements of musical spaces and bringing them together in something that’s a lot more focused on people of all different abilities.”

Construction at 317 Main in Yarmouth is well underway and will include a new cafe, offices and an elevator, the shaft for which can be seen on the left. The larger structure will house a performance hall and new studios. Rachel Vitello / The Forecaster

The expansion will add classroom space and offices for teachers at the community music center,  where a variety of music classes are offered, including guitar, ukulele, piano and ensembles. In addition, the kitchen will no longer double as an office and lessons will no longer be held in the basement. A new cafe is also part of the expansion as is an elevator to make the center handicapped accessible.

Barring any pandemic-related setbacks, construction is expected to be completed by December.

Fundraising began in 2019 and ground was broken for the foundation last September. So far the nonprofit organization has raised $4 million of the roughly $5.5 million needed for the project, including a $1.5 million donation from philanthropist Mackenzie Scott. The project originally was estimated to cost $4 million, but due to COVID-related supply chain issues, the price has steadily gone up.

317 Main chose to use sustainable cross-laminated timber, a wood-based material made by gluing together layers of lumber into panels that uses renewable wood and does not require burning fossil fuels in the manufacturing process.


“(The timber) kind of flexes like a violin, so the acoustics in the new building are going to be spectacular,” Frates said. “On top of that, the new building has a sprung wood floor, so that flexes as well. When we host things like English country dancing, contra dancing and we also want to incorporate salsa dancing or African drumming and dance, it’s going to give a place for those people to dance that have been dancing on school floors or gym floors that don’t offer that type of flex.”

The new studio spaces will be dedicated to Little Roots’ family classes, geared to kids ages 4 through 6. Program Director Gretchen Hanes said the space they’re now using, which is a room facing Main Street, isn’t always conducive for teaching children, as they get easily distracted by activity outside. Hanes said the new space will be better for “intentional learning” and less overwhelming.

Frates said the performance hall could also be rented out for special events and the recording studio may also be rented to local musicians. Poetry readings and open mic nights could also be hosted in the cafe, Frates said.

Digital music instructor Ryan Audy said he’s “stoked” to have more space for the after-school programs and have larger classrooms that will contribute to 317 Main’s “communal aspect.” He said there’s really only one room in the building that’s big enough for a full class.

“I just can’t wait,” Banjo and guitar teacher Carter Logan said. “For me, I’m excited about the performance space. I teach up here in a nice room already, so I don’t think I’ll be moving into the new building, but last night I mentioned to my student group about the new building and they were really excited.”

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