"Music is the oldest language in the world...allow kids to speak it!"
If Ben Senterfit has a mantra, that's it. His passion for music seems matched only by his devotion to teaching. He began his musical career as an a capella singer and later toured with bands and ran a record label. After moving from Denver to Red Hook, Senterfit melded his passions. He opened the Community Music Space in the Chocolate Factory building in 2009.
It has a funky warm vibe that feels like a living room, with exposed brick walls and hardwood floors. "The space dictates the music," Senterfit says. He hosts live acoustic-based performances by internationally renowned musicians. And with the help of a few other teachers, Senterfit offers classes for an ever-expanding array of instruments. Kids and adults alike are encouraged to sing, to play, or to just come and listen.
Senterfit is particularly enthusiastic about the Vocal Ensembles—groups designed to go out in the community to perform. The music is alive and engaging. No tedious Sunday afternoon recitals here. One group is working on a 'Mash up of Lady Gaga, Beat Boxing, and Katy Perry.' There is something for everyone because Senterfit sees music as much more than an after-school activity. "We need to be innovative as a nation. At the core of that innovation is creativity. And at the core of creativity is music and art. When we develop creativity it expands the ability to use all of your brain."