Freeway Music has a new home in Blythewood, and the new spot is a great place to be whether you’re taking music lessons or not.
The local music school, which will mark 10 years in business next month, celebrated the grand opening of Freeway Music Northeast and Doko Station Pub & Eatery Saturday at 11 Samuel Bookhart Lane. The music school shares the building with the restaurant, and students will perform there every Tuesday as well as on special occasions.
The two-in-one spot came from a phone call Freeway Music owner Don Russo made when looking for a new building in Blythewood.
"I reached out to Old Mill Brew Pub and was like 'Do you guys want to do something together?'” Russo said. “They came and looked at the spot with me and said 'This is amazing.'"
Saturday’s grand opening featured the pub serving food and drinks to customers both inside and on the porch and lawn, as Freeway Music students showed their skills in a lawn concert.
The music school offers in person and virtual lessons for all ages and skill levels, and for all levels of interest from casual to extremely dedicated.
"Our philosophy is to allow people to feel free to navigate their own path, choose which direction they want to go. We equip them with what they need to get there. The big thing we want to do is just be a part of the community,” Russo said. "We like to provide opportunities for our students, not just teach them music lessons but help them become better humans. We try to be good mentors."
That philosophy was on display Saturday, as the grand opening included a raffle with prizes including instruments and lessons and proceeds going to Camp Cole, a local camp and retreat facility for children, teens, and adults facing serious illnesses and other physical, mental, and emotional health or life challenges.
Northeast Columbia was Freeway Music’s original home. The school now has six locations across the Midlands, and as Russo says, it’s never too early or too late to learn.
"We've got them as young as 3-4 and as old as 84. Kids from 1 to 92, as the Christmas song goes," he said.