Allentown, PA (July 13, 2021) – Community Music School Lehigh Valley & Berks (CMS) is one of thirty-five Greater Philadelphia Area music organizations to receive nearly $2 million in recent capital support grants from The Presser Foundation. CMS and other music organizations continue to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic with innovative, uplifting, and inspiring music programming.  Community Music School received $75,000 from The Presser Foundation to help fund the construction of and technology for a state-of-the-art audio and video recording studio at the home of the soon-to-be 40-year-old non-profit, located at 1544 Hamilton Street in Allentown.

The project will leverage the unique aesthetics and acoustics of the School’s Dorothy H. Baker Recital Hall, the former dining room of the Lehigh Valley Social Club, and will create a live recording space for individual and ensemble musical performances, both instrumental and vocal. An acoustically-treated control room and recording isolation room will be installed in studio spaces adjacent to the Dorothy H. Baker Recital Hall.  The control room will serve as a professional recording space, as well as an education lab and classroom, with nine iMac computer stations where students will gain hands-on experience with industry-standard recording technology through a variety of new CMS recording classes.

Teresa Rodgers, Executive Director of The Presser Foundation shared that the Foundation is “excited about the outstanding opportunity the new recording studio provides for the students and faculty of the school as well as the surrounding community.”

CMS Executive Director Jeff Reed is leading the recording studio initiative, with project management support from CMS faculty member and recording engineer, Joe Wagner, founder of Keystone Sound Design.

“We expect to have the installation completed by the fall and ready for use when our Board determines that it is safe to reopen our building to students,” said Reed.  “We look forward to welcoming local high school and college students, as well as professional musicians and bands to take full advantage of our unique performance and recording space.”

Wagner also shared his enthusiasm for the project. “Working with the latest state-of-the-art equipment to record music will be incredibly rewarding, but even more important, this studio will give a voice to those whose music might not have otherwise been heard, and that is something I’m very proud to be a part of.”  In addition to recording professionally, Wagner teaches guitar, bass guitar, ukulele, mandolin, and composition to students at CMS.

Since March 16, 2020, CMS has been operating virtually, offering online private music lessons and YouTube recitals for over 200 students, about a third of whom come from low-income families and receive financial assistance for lessons.

“During the pandemic, the inconsistent and inequitable access to recording technology among our students at home became strikingly clear.  The ability to provide access to state-of-the-art digital recording to all our students and the community will help CMS “level the playing field.” The recording studio also perfectly aligns with our strategic objectives of enhancing diversity, programming, collaboration, visibility, and sustainability.  I thank our Board of Directors for supporting this transformational project and for allocating additional funds to make this new community asset a reality,” Reed said.

The Presser Foundation was established in 1939 under the Deeds of Trust and Will of the late music publisher Theodore Presser. It is one of the few private foundations in the United States dedicated solely to music education and music philanthropy.  Read more:




About Community Music School   Community Music School (CMS) – Lehigh Valley & Berks is a nonprofit charitable organization that provides the inspiration and opportunity for anyone in our diverse community to achieve excellence in music education and appreciate the transformative power of music.  CMS employs over 25 professional musicians who provide high-quality private and group instruction to students of all ages and in nearly every instrument and voice – both in-person and online – as well as extensive, tuition-free outreach programs that bring music to students in under-served public schools.  Thanks to support from our philanthropic community, CMS has provided over 25,000 student services in the Lehigh Valley with the life-long benefits of musical education by funding over $100,000 annually in need-based financial aid, merit scholarships, and tuition-free outreach programming.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS continues to offer online music lessons and virtual performance opportunities for students of all ages.  For more information, to enroll in lessons, or to donate, visit

About The Presser Foundation  The Presser Foundation was established in 1939 under the Deeds of Trust and Will of the late Theodore Presser. It is one of the few private foundations in the United States dedicated solely to music education and music philanthropy. The Presser Foundation considers proposals for funding from music organizations working in a broad range of traditions, genres, and styles through general operating and program grants; capital grants for music building projects; undergraduate and graduate student awards; and assistance to retired music teachers.  Much of the grant making focus of the Foundation is on organizations and institutions in the 75-mile radius surrounding Center City Philadelphia.  For more information:

For more information, contact:
Lisa Hopstock Kulp, CMS Assistant Director
610-435-7725 or email