Ten years of dreaming for Hannah Holman finally became a reality Friday morning, as she helped cut the ribbon for the new Deanery School of Music.
After completing a $235,000 renovation of the historic two-story building at 1103 Main St. Davenport, a new music school next to Trinity Episcopal Cathedral will open for lessons on Monday, January 17.
“I am very excited and delighted to be here today,” Holman — Deanery founder and artistic director, lead cellist for the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and cellist for the New York City Ballet — said outside the front door Friday. “This dream of finding a great location for music education in the Quad Cities has come true.”
The Deanery School of Music is a non-profit organization created to provide a comprehensive home for high-quality music education, performance, and collaboration in the Quad Cities region. It seeks to enrich and enhance the cultural and social fabric of society through music and education.
Holman has been a member of the QCSO for 16 years and a major cello for the past 14 years. she said on Friday.
I started researching buildings in 2012, but a year later, I started playing at the New York City Ballet Orchestra, so put the research on hold.
Holman first looked at the Deanery (which was built in 1930 and has been vacant since 2009) in August 2018. After much research and discussion, I decided to move on.
“This building, which impressed me so much that August day, is for everyone,” she said on Friday. “This building is sophisticated and inspiring. It allows people to dream, and I want everyone who enters these doors to feel that they can dream and aspire to be anything they want.”
“We have a great faculty,” Holman said. “Many of them have performed all over the world. They are studying in top universities and they know this community.”
They give lessons in Suzuki violin, cello, chamber music, Alexander technique and musical literacy, and there will be master classes, lectures and concerts. At the end, there will be a music technology program, jazz lessons, and member instruction. There is a need-based scholarship program that Deanery is working on, so that everyone can afford the lessons.
“I really feel like a seamstress, stitching all the cool stuff out here together — adding a cool, central location, maybe adding a splash of this and that,” Holman said.
Whether students become professional musicians or not, “training and exposure to music are known to help in every field and in every profession,” she said. “This is for the Quad Cities. Please feel free to come to us with what you would like to see and any suggestions. “
Friday’s ribbon cutting was attended by Molly Oting, Hilltop Camps Village Executive, Mayor Davenport Mike Mattson, former Hilltop Director Scott Tony Cliff, project donors, Trinity members, school staff and students.
The Dean John Horn of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral is delighted to have the Deanery School in the historic building owned by the cathedral. Originally built as a residence for the Iowa Episcopal Bishop, the bishop moved to Des Moines in 1945. Since then, the building has been occupied by Trinity Cathedral deans (or chief pastors) until 2009.
“It continues the longstanding, nearly two-century-long commitment of Trinity Cathedral to education, community and community service, and also musical excellence,” Dean Horn said of the music school.
Trinity was responsible for founding the former St. Catherine’s School (now Rivermont Collegiate), and St. Luke’s Hospital (now part of Genesis), he said.
Aviana Holst, one of Holman’s star cellos students, spoke about her support for the new school.
“I’ve been excited about this ever since Hannah told me this was a possibility, and I can’t believe it’s finally happening,” she said. “I’ve been a music student at the Quad Cities for 11 years, starting when I was a seven-year-old piano student.”
“What I missed was a kind of centralization that would make it easier for people to come together and make music,” Holst said. “There was no place where I could reach high levels of education so easily, as I could in Iowa City or Chicago.
“What I think is so amazing about Deanery is that they’re going to provide that to the students here, and to the future generations of students who come after me,” she said.
It’s also difficult to access classical music, Holst said, especially to rent or buy instruments. “This can prevent so many students from reaching their full potential. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the incredible generosity of so many of my professors and other people who help me with lending musical instruments, and all the things you need to get you where you want to go.”
“Scholarships are very important to help people access classical music, and these are voices we need for the future of music,” she added. “We need more diversity and people from all different backgrounds to take on classical music in the future.”
“Although it is cloudy and snowy, for us it is a bright and sunny day,” said Joseph Lummöller, chair of the Dean’s Council. He had Holman perform several concerts in his house, with other musicians from QCSO.
“We have great aspirations for the future,” he said, noting that Deanery’s main financial backers are the Hubbell-Waterman Foundation, the Bechtel Trust, the Moline Foundation, the Scott County Regional Authority, Trinity Cathedral, Mark and Rita Bowden, the Churchill Family Foundation and the Wagel Family Foundation.
“The board of directors is particularly indebted to Steve Wiese, with Extensive Services, LLC, who performed a renovation of this outstanding facility and really brought it back to life,” said Lohmuller. “He was really involved in seeing how we can have a space to serve our students and the community.”
He noted that at one point, there was a discussion about demolishing the building. Holman brings extensive experience and “the highest level of education and skill” to the new school.
“Waggle, the CEO, has done a really great job earning his musical degree credentials from Brown University, and he’s also an accomplished vocalist and pianist,” Lummöller said. “He’s also in the University of Iowa’s master’s degree program in music education — which fits perfectly in his role here with our school.”
Plan for school
Rishi Wagel said the Bechtel Trust awarded a $50,000 grant to the project early this month, and began school fundraising in late 2020.
They hope to host small concerts in the main room, with a beautiful donated grand piano. Wagel said the 1920s-era piano was given by Inna Clegg of Chicago, who had no prior contact with QC, but had heard about the school through social media.
“I kind of bet on that, in a sense,” he said, adding that he hadn’t seen her in person before and had just been busted on Thursday. “You look beautiful now.”
One of Deanery’s teachers (Ben Lorentzen of QCSO) will host a small party for students (Viola and Violin) on Saturday, January 22nd. Other local teachers include Scott Sund (cello) and Jane Swift (piano), Wagel said.
He pointed out that the Deanship does not assign its faculty members to use the building for private lessons and parties. “We really want to make this space accessible. We want it to become a central home for music education, and I think our faculty, many of whom are excited about the opportunities to collaborate with other musicians and other educators.”
“With this space and resources that we now have as a school, we are able to offer group classes,” Wagel said. Many private teachers teach from their homes. This does not give them the resources or access to host larger events.”
Holman said there will be some overlap with the long-running QCSO Private Lessons program, with instructors, but the dean will complement what is being offered.
“Some students may hear the same thing, but they say it differently,” she said. “I think, I just love that we have a nice website and website. They are starting to feel at home here and make new connections.”
Holman has not taught through the QCSO taught program, but some faculty members teach in both. You can find a full list of the Deanship’s faculty, with resumes and tuition costs, on the school’s website.