MAIN PHOTO: Louise MacDonald owner of Joyful Sounds Music Studio in Fall River teaches a lesson via Zoom to student Ada Tuttle. (Submitted photo)

FALL RIVER: Yearning to hear the studio at Joyful Sounds in Fall River filled with laughter and music from the kids is what is keeping owner Louise MacDonald and her staff positive during the gloomy closure of the business due to COVID19.

While the studio may be shuttered for now because of the province’s State of Emergency, MacDonald and her staff have taken to the interwebs to continue teaching their students.

MacDonald said her group of teachers went from full classes on March 14 to shut down 24 hours later.

“We had a full Lion King Broadway Camp planned for March Break that was cancelled when the state of emergency went into effect,” said MacDonald.

She said they had less than 16 hours to let families know.

But March Break proved to be a silver lining for the business as it allowed them to plan, learn, and implement.

“My entire team went above and beyond that week,” she said. “We did online lesson trials and group class trials; we created a Private Joyful Sounds Family Group on Facebook and we were determined to continue to bring top notch music lessons and classes to our families despite the unknown future.”

MacDonald said they have a Friday morning Dance Party every week where they simply let down their hair and have a good time. And every week is a new theme – from PJ day, costumes, beach party, teddy bear picnic, and more.

She said they are unsure when they can return to the studio in Fall River and have not been told where they fit into the province’s return plan.

“Our classes are very special and a big part of it is connection,” she said. “How do you keep eight preschoolers apart? Or students learning how to put on a Broadway Production? So, we are waiting, learning and will do what we need to in the meantime.

She said the community has been incredibly supportive.

“We have been hearing over and over again that our classes are the highlight of the week for the children,” said MacDonald beaming with optimism in an otherwise uncertain time. “It is this summer that I am currently most concerned about. Our Broadway Camps are the best, and last year they were sold out.

“This summer we are scheduled to run Frozen and The Aristocrats. We are not sure we will be allowed to run the camps, and if not, we will have a significant loss to the business.”

Joyful Sounds still must pay rent even though the space is not being utilized. However, there is new ownership and MacDonald said they are excited to see new changes along the way. But it does come with some worry.

“We are very worried about how long we are going to be impacted,” said MacDonald. “We are not a large company, and we will only be able to take on so much debt to get through this time. So, for right now, we are trying to stay positive, focus on what we can do, and ask the community to keep supporting us.

“Music education is vital, and our teachers are doing a phenomenal job of delivering quality music education right into our families’ homes. That is what we will continue to focus on for now.”

MacDonald described the current situation as a “time in our lives we will never forget.”

“I hope I can look back on this and say, “remember that year?” and then smile and hear the studio halls filled again with the laughter, love and music that we so incredibly miss right now,” she said with a sigh of hope.