After 26 years of residency at 541 Avenue of the Americas, The Collective School of Music, originally known as Drummers Collective, has made the biggest change in 34 years by relocating to a new modern facility. The new facility is located just 4 blocks north from the previous facility at 123 West 18th Street, (7th floor) and is double in size of what past students and New York City musicians have known as "The Collective".
“This place is wonderful, it’s really a tremendous upgrade compared to the old facility,” states Bass Collective faculty member Frank Gravis. “From a teachers point of view it really makes it great for us to teach and give out information to our students. The atmosphere here is really one of learning, not that the old facility wasn’t, but this place just really encourages all of us on the faculty to do our very best for all of our students, and that’s really what we want to have happen!”
Frank Gravis Teaches a lesson in the collective's new Trio Room.
The new Collective facility is roughly 13,000 square feet and is located on one floor with a separate wing built specifically for private drum instruction and practice. The old facility was two floors at approximately 7,000 square feet spread out between the two. Moving into a space double in size was not an easy task; there were many steps involved beginning with finding the new facility which was a three year process spreading out through the boroughs of New York City, finally ending up in the very same Chelsea neighborhood that the school called home since 1984. Steve Abrams, a member of The Collective board of directors and owner of the world famous Magnolia Bakery played a major part in helping find the new facility. Once the location was settled upon, the daunting task of construction and design would begin.
“It was a major undertaking to say the least,” says Anthony Citrinite, the new Director of The Collective and also new part owner of the school. Citrinite bought into ownership in September of 2010 and became an equal partner with Rob Wallis, Paul Siegel, and John Castellano. He was tabbed to become the new Director prior to the move, a position he has taken on with great pride. Anthony has been a part of The Collective since 1994 when he was fresh out of high school taking on various roles throughout the years while keeping an active gigging schedule as a working drummer.
The Collective's new Director, Anthony Citrinite
With the relocation he was called upon to be the General Contractor for the construction of the new facility, a role that he had never previously filled. “It was a really exciting time for me, but it was also very challenging, There are many things that I had to learn as I went along starting with what materials would be needed, and assembling the right contractors and crew in order to get the work done in a timely manner.” Fortunately for Anthony he could rely on the many students and a few Faculty members to help out with the process. “Without the help of numerous full-time students, we would have never been able to get this done,” states Citrinite. “The students were an intricate part in helping get the facility ready for construction, as well as helping out with moving the school from the old facility to this one.” The process for getting the new facility ready also included planning the design of the school, which he had been preparing for a few months prior to the beginning of the construction. “I was able to mold this place into a vision that I had over time through the many years of working at the old location. I used to take mental notes all the time of what we could do if we had a larger space. To be able to come to this new building that is double in size and to be able to design each room according to what I thought would be necessary was exciting to me. Of course I had a lot of input from other people that helped out tremendously, but it was the original vision I had been building on for years that helped create what we have today. I also think being a student here and working with students for so many years helped keep them in mind to design a facility that would suit their needs to grow and excel for many years to come. All of this hard work was done as a labor of love for our students.”
Kim Plainfield, Advanced Performance Program Director, has been a faculty member with The Collective since 1979 and has now taught at three different campuses. The first facility located on 42nd street until 1984, the second location at 541 Avenue of the Americas, and now the new location on 18th street. “This facility can clearly identify a future for The Collective”, states Plainfield. The difference between this facility and the old one is a different world. I feel like the school finally has a space that can help us move into a higher direction.”
Faculty member Kim Plainfield conducts an Advanced Performance Program pre-recording rehearsal.
Bob Quaranta, Advanced Performance Program Co-Director, has been teaching at The Collective since 1982 and has also taught on each of the three different campuses. “I think the new facility is great and we finally have a facility that’s worthy of the level of teaching and performance that’s been going on since I began with The Collective in 1982,” states Bob. “I’m really optimistic about the future of the school.”
Faculty member Bob Quaranta gives Collective student Jonas Stehli a piano lesson.
Faculty committee chair, Peter Retzlaff, had spent a lot of time at the old facility, teaching on Faculty since 1996, Peter typically logs in 40 to 50 hours per week teaching classes and private lessons. “The new facility is a dream come true, the potential here is limitless. I think this new facility will give students a lot of room to grow and focus on what they come here to do which is become a better musician all the way around.”
Faculty member Peter Retzlaff gives student Harry Keithline a lesson
Drummers Collective student Marina Eckhart is just finishing a 2 year study program at The Collective. She has had the opportunity to study at both facilities and will finish her program in the 18th street facility. “Everything is much bigger and better than the old facility. I really like the new practice rooms here compared to the rooms at the old school. The classrooms are a lot better as well. I will miss the old building, but this place is so much better!”
Drummers Collective Student Marina Eckhart practices in one of the new collective drum studios.
Collective students prepare for a recording session with faculty member Tony Conniff in the
Media Right Productions control room.
Bass Collective student Ricky Flynn had this much to add; “I think this place is great to boost your ability as a musician. It’s bigger, brighter, roomier, and has a vibe that makes you want to learn more and focus on the music.”
Bass Collective student Ricky Flynn goes over material in the new collective lounge.
Jason Gianni, a Drummers Collective faculty member since 2006, was moved on his first visit to the new facility, “When I first came into the school I could not believe what I was seeing, I was so shocked! This was before the construction was even finished. I had heard about what it looked like but I didn’t know what to picture. I can’t imagine this facility not taking us on to an even higher level, it is incredible in every way from a teacher and a student’s standpoint."
Faculty member Jason Gianni teachers Progressive Rock class in the collective's new studio A.
Faculty member Chris Coleman was also a student at Drummers Collective and has been a part of the Sixth Ave location and now the new Facility. “I love the new facility, it’s a new energy! It will definitely inspire people when they come to study here,” Chris says. “Being in a contemporary setting definitely changes the way I feel as a teacher and you can see the excitement in all of the students.”
Faculty member Chris Coleman gives student Kelvin Chavez a lesson
Rob Wallis and Paul Siegel purchased Drummers Collective from original owner Rick Kravitz in 1980 and have seen the school change over the years from both being students to becoming owners of the school. They also went on to become pioneers in drum education with DCI video (Drummers Collective Incorporated) and then Hudson Music. The origins of both companies began by filming Master Classes at the original Drummers Collective location on 42nd street in 1982 and then moving on to the 541 Avenue of the Americas facility in 1983. “Our new facility gives us a chance to expand the offerings of the school for all instruments,” states Rob Wallis. “It also allows our students exposure to a variety of things like a world-class recording studio and a theater for live events and performances.” Paul Siegel is as equally proud of the new facility as Rob Wallis, “After so many years at our Sixth Ave location, The Collective has relocated to a state-of-the-art facility that fulfills our dreams of a space that will allow for the kind of study and exchange of ideas that have always been the hallmark of the school,” adds Paul. “The new location has many more comfortable surroundings with far more amenities, it is a far more complete facility.”
Rob Wallis teaches a Music Business seminar in the Collective's new theater.
John Castellano the Director of The Collective from 1989 to 2010, and the current Provost/Admissions Director of the school has been an integral part of The Collective’s development for over 20 years. He had this much to add about the future of the school in the new location; “With our new facility we are focusing on new curriculum which will not only help students perform at the highest level of musicianship, but to also be fully prepared to survive and thrive in the world of music business and making a living in music.”
The Collective Theater
Stanton Moore Master Class in the Collective Theater
The first student meeting in the new facility.
Guitar/Key Collective students warm up for evaluations on day 1
Jason Bittner drumming career clinic in the Collective Theater.
Students listen back to their recordings in the Media Right Productions control room.