WILLOW GROVE, Pa. (CBS) – The oldest and largest community-based music school in the United States has officially dedicated its new $8-million, state-of-the-art branch in Montgomery County, Pa.

Among those providing the entertainment for guests today were several Settlement students and the Danoff String Quartet (above), comprised of members of the Settlement faculty.

With many school districts cutting back on arts and music programs because of budget constraints, Settlement Music School continues to expand to help fill in the gaps.

Donors stepped up and helped the school raise $25 million for its centennial campaign, enough money to build this 25,000-square-foot building in Willow Grove and provide scholarships and aid to make it affordable (see previous story).

“Music is just an invaluable part of making a whole human being,” says Joseph Waz, board chairman of Settlement.  “We really need to focus on the left brain and the right brain as we bring our students along, and that’s the beauty of music — it engages all parts of the brain.”

The Willow Grove branch will create 25 fulltime jobs, and they hope to increase enrollment to 1,000 by 2013. There are 18 teaching studios and a 320-seat performance venue.

Reported by Brad Segall, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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