My good friend asked me to share her words about the Brooklyn Music Center, the new music space operated by Ollin’s front man, Scott Rodarte.
Brooklyn Avenue Roots, Alive and Rockin’
By Victoria Kraus
A new community music school will open its doors this January along Cesar Chavez Avenue (formerly Brooklyn Avenue) by East Los rockin’ roller, Scott Rodarte of local Chicano punk-rock band Ollín.
The Brooklyn Music Center (BMC) will function primarily as a school offering children and adults alike in the community affordable group and private lessons on a variety of instruments. The space will also be equipped and available to bands for rehearsals and recording.
“Our vision is to help generate art in the neighborhood so folks don’t have to go outside of the community to create or be enriched, musically,” Rodarte says of his music center.
The Brooklyn Music Center was previously the Brooklyn Medical Clinic. The space, still reminiscent of its history with its vintage architecture and glass blocks along the storefront entrance, was a shared medical and optometry clinic owned and operated by Doctors Freidman and Kaplan. Scott and his brother, Randy, also of Ollín, used to work at the clinic while in high school, where they made pairs of glasses among doing other administrative duties.
Rodarte remembers the variety of commerce that used to thrive on Brooklyn Avenue such as the Brooklyn Theatre directly across the street from his music school, Phillips Music a few doors down, and Kens, a sporting goods store. “You know, all the mom and pop stores that were around before the corporate entities like Guitar Center, AMC Theatres and Big 5 took hold of society,” Rodarte reminisces.
BMC might stir some friendly rivalry with Boyle Heights’ acclaimed Neighborhood Music School but friendly would be is as far is gets. Rodarte has more of a rocker’s intention with the music program he plans to build. Rodarte and fellow musicians from his band along with friends will be teaching everything from percussion to electric guitar, maybe even the washboard.
Remodeling of the Brooklyn Music Center is scheduled to complete in early January.
2515 E. Cesar Chavez Ave. (at Fickett) 90033