The title will be changing soon at Richland’s Magnolia Music Studio, but the love for making and teaching music will continue.
Magnolia Music Studio is being sold by Cynthia Vaughn to Samantha Schneider, who takes over ownership on Aug. 1.
Schneider will change the name to Creative Music Learning Center Richland just in time for fall music lessons.
Studio manager Amanda Gentry will continue as administrator.
The studio’s instructors provide in-person and online private lessons in voice, piano, violin, cello, guitar and flute.
Both Schneider and Vaughn believe in the power of music.
“Music can reach anyone,” Schneider said.
Vaughn adds, “Music is for everyone, whether you’re an absolute beginner or a professional.”
Both women have dedicated their lives helping people thrive with music.
Vaughn started the original Magnolia Music Studio in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she had just completed 10 years of teaching music at Colorado State University.
She brought the business to Richland in 2014 when her husband Terry was working for a Hanford contractor. Magnolia Music Studio moved to 430 George Washington Way, Suite 104, where it remains.
Schneider, meanwhile, owns the Creative Music Learning Center, a small studio in Spokane. She moved to the Tri-Cities in February with her husband Brian and their children.
A mutual friend introduced Vaughn and Schneider. Schneider mentioned she was interested in opening a music studio in the Tri-Cities.
As luck would have it, Vaughn was looking to retire after 40 years of teaching music, writing books about music and running a music business. She and her husband want to move to Virginia to be close to one of their children.
“I said, ‘Let’s talk,’ ’’ Vaughn said.
By March, the two had a deal.
“The reason this all seems such a surprise to some people is we’ve been under a confidentiality agreement until all business aspects have been completed,” Vaughn said.
Schneider will assume the lease for the space, which has two years left.
Schneider joined the Magnolia voice faculty in April, and Vaughn added her name to the staff list.
“I wanted her to be visible to everyone,” Vaughn said.
Their roles will reverse when Schneider takes ownership: Vaughn will continue as a part-time teacher.
The incoming owner graduated from Washington State University with a vocal performance degree, with an emphasis in opera.
She had many leading soprano roles in performances at WSU. Schneider herself has performed with the Inland Northwest Opera and the Spokane Valley Summer Theater. She has directed music shows for the Spokane Children’s Theater.
Schneider has six faculty members at her Spokane facility. But she already has 12 faculty members at the Richland studio.
“In Spokane, I couldn’t get students and teachers to flip to virtual classes when the pandemic hit,” Schneider said.
But in the Tri-Cities, within one week, all students and teachers flipped to virtual.
“Online worked beautiful,” Vaughn said, although there were some drops in numbers. “The studio, pre-pandemic, had 12 teachers and 150 students. We’re building it back up. Right now, it’s 12 teachers and 130 students. I think Samantha can grow it back up to 200 students.”
“I think 200 is very easy to achieve, especially it being so present to an online presence,” Schneider said.
And although students and teachers are back in the building, many have opted to stay with lessons online.
It also doesn’t limit where either teachers or students come from. Most students at the Richland facility live in the Mid-Columbia region, though some live outside the state, logging in from Ohio, Massachusetts and elsewhere.
Vaughn also has teachers who live in Canada and California.
“Cynthia has done a great job of cultivating a faculty,” said Schneider, who said it’s almost a turnkey business situation that won’t need much changing.
“Cynthia has done a fantastic job with this place,” she said. “She has great systems and processes in place. It’s a well-oiled machine, and I’m truly grateful for that.”
Vaughn said in addition to staying on as an online faculty member, she’ll serve as an advisor to Schneider.
Vaughn’s pending move to Virginia will be a loss to the Tri-City arts and business community.
She has been a board member for the Tri-Cities Regional Chamber of Commerce, Richland Rotary Club, the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers, Mid-Columbia Musical Theater and the Rude Mechanicals Shakespeare Company.
She also has performed as a soprano soloist for both the Mid-Columbia Symphony and the Yakima Symphony.
Her writing and work as a clinician give her national and international respect.
But it was time to slow down — just a bit.
“I’ll be going from 100 mph to 85 mph,” she said.
Schneider looks forward to immersing herself into the Tri-Cities’ arts, business and education community.
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