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Bringing music to the masses

LaDonna Iveland (left) and Janine Papik are anxious for the first music students to walk through the doors of Luverne Street Music in the Hilger Commons. A meet and greet between students and teachers is slated for Thursday.

LUVERNE -- Janine Papik and LaDonna Iveland were almost giddy as they walked the halls of the Hilger Commons, the site of the new Luverne Street Music studio, Monday morning in downtown Luverne.

With musical notes on the wall, music books on the shelves and sheet music decoupaged over the top of a corner table, they can't wait to welcome their teachers in a meet and greet Thursday night.

The first private music lessons are slated to begin later this week.

Luverne Street Music is the collaboration of the two women, working in coordination with Luverne Area Chamber director Jane Wildung-Lanphere to bring the sound of music to students who might otherwise not have an opportunity to learn to play an instrument.

Papik and Iveland both have grandchildren now taking music lessons. Their goal with Luverne Street Music is for those children and others -- spanning from ages 3 to 103, as their business brochure touts -- to access music lessons a little closer to home.

With two grandchildren taking violin lessons in Sioux Falls, S.D., and the third grandchild ready to start soon, Iveland instigated the search for local lessons with a call to Wildung-Lanphere at the Chamber office. In a Oct. 2 meeting with Lanphere and Papik, the trio brainstormed ideas ranging from the types of music lessons they wanted to bring to the community, as well as the teachers who could provide the services.

Within a week and a half, they found the seemingly perfect site in Hilger Commons. The hexagon-shaped building at 215 N. Cedar St. once served as a medical clinic and assisted living facility, but was gifted several years ago to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, across the street. Since then, the facility has been used by the church membership for coffees and family gatherings.

The proposal to use rooms in the commons for music lessons was a win-win for everyone involved. The church had wanted to see the building utilized more, and the Luverne Music Studio will certainly provide that. The music studio will utilize the lounge, conference room and several private lesson studios, and there is room to grow as the program expands.

"It wouldn't happen without the blessing of the Episcopal church," Wildung-Lanphere said. "It saves all the students and teachers money."

"(The place) will be filled with the sound of music, and they're very happy with that," Papik added.

When the studio begins offering lessons later this week, students will receive instruction in violin, viola, cello, banjo, trumpet, French horn, drums, piano, guitar and voice. Nearly 25 families have already signed up for lessons, and that is anticipated to grow as word spreads about Luverne Street Music.

Lessons offered for the varying types of instruments are based on requests. When at least five students request to learn a particular instrument, Iveland will begin to seek out a teacher willing to provide lessons. Right now, there are two students interested in learning how to play the accordion. If a few more come forward, she will begin the search for a teacher.

"We are trying to serve a need for people who need lessons," said Papik, adding that lessons for many of the instruments have not been offered in the community.

On the other hand, the piano lessons offered at Luverne Street Music are helping to meet the demands. Most piano teachers in the community are already at capacity and unable to take on additional students.

"We're not going to take anything away from them," Papik, herself a former piano teacher, said. To help establish the piano lessons, Schopperts Piano Gallery of Sioux Falls, S.D., has donated the use of a state-of-the-art Kawai digital piano for the first six months.

Those interested in obtaining lessons in one of the instruments already being offered are asked to contact the Luverne Area Chamber regarding available time slots, while those interested in learning to play an instrument other than those listed may request to be on a waiting list. The Luverne Area Chamber may be reached at (507) 283-4061 or

Many of the teachers already confirmed to offer lessons come from the Luverne area, with the farthest one coming in from Sioux Falls, said Iveland.

"It's really been fun to fit the teachers with the desired instrument at one location," Papik said.

"The music world is really a small family," Iveland added. Once the search began for instructors, music connections caused the list of potential teachers to mushroom. "They've been so helpful and encouraging to get this started here."

For now, lessons are scheduled on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. There are nearly a dozen students signed up to take piano, and numerous children -- as well as six adults -- have enrolled in violin lessons. Guitar and voice lessons have also been popular. Papik said some of the adults have music lessons on their bucket list of things to do.

Luverne public schools do not have an orchestra program, which leaves Luverne Street Music as the only local option for strings lessons.

As the students progress in their lessons, Iveland said recitals will be conducted.

"The Episcopal church has offered to have the recitals in their church," she added.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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