Chelsie Henderson, Rural Soul Music Studio Founder
Piano, Voice, Ukulele, West African Drums Instructor: Beginner to Intermediate
Chelsie was born and raised on her family's dairy farm in Easton, NY. She was drawn to music at a young age and continued her love for sharing music with others by earning a degree in Music Education from the University of Vermont, with a minor in Special Education. Her first two years after college were comprised of creating and implementing a high school chorus program and co-directing theater productions at a rural school in northern VT; acting as conducting intern for Bella Voce Women’s Chorus of Vermont; working as the Operations Assistant for the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association; singing in a 15-piece funk band; and volunteering as Choral Chair of the Vermont Music Educator’s Association (VMEA). The VMEA awarded Chelsie with the title “Outstanding New Music Educator” in 2009. She left her teaching job in VT to travel, and since 2009 has driven across the USA twice and has traveled to India, Ireland, and Italy (and other parts of Europe) with her ears and eyes wide open. Chelsie has always loved music from around the world, but has most recently grown enamored by music from West Africa and continues her studies of the djembe and doundouns.
Rural Soul Studio itself started as a little written seed in a journal on Chelsie's long return train ride from New Orleans, LA to Albany, NY. She was coming back from a visit in NOLA and had a beautiful stroke of inspiration to create some kind of music school back in her hometown. The words on the paper sprang to life when Chelsie met Katy Svatek at a function at Seventy Main in Greenwich, NY. The two music educators had moved back to their home towns (Easton and Stillwater, NY respectively) after being away to study, teach and travel.
They hatched the Rural Soul plan that very evening: to create a center for music that would complement and directly support music programming in local schools and community centers. With time, a priority would be offering musical opportunities in programs that were not easily accessible in these somewhat remote, rural areas.
Rural Soul Studio got its start in two rooms in the front of Seventy Main, 70 Main Street, Greenwich (below Align Again Yoga) in May 2012, offering private and small group lessons for piano, voice, guitar, brass, woodwinds and strings. Thanks to the building owners, John Shoemaker and Zaidee Bliss, Chelsie and Katy were able to test out and hone their new entrepreneurial skills in a safe and welcoming environment.
As more lessons inquiries came through, other instructors were invited to teach at Rural Soul Studio. Music and art camps, birthday parties and classes on other instruments (banjo, African drums) were also hosted in the building. The space started to feel a bit small for all that the music instructors wanted to offer, so Chelsie opened a second studio in Schuylerville in the beautiful Bullard Block on Broad Street in September 2013. This larger studio space allowed for bigger group classes and more creativity!
In June 2015 they closed up the Greenwich studio and focused all musical energy into 90 Broad Street, Schuylerville. The studio now hosts multiple music instructors, with several additional master musicians and teachers passing through during the year. All of the goods - music and arts camps, birthday parties and other music workshops - are also offered in Rural Soul Studio's current home.
In October 2018 Rural Soul officially changed its name to Rural Soul Music Studio, LLC.