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The Newtown School of Music: New ownership, same passion-fueled lessons

by Tianna G. Hansen

Sonny Facenda’s passion for music – both playing and teaching – has taken him along many paths in life, but he never expected to become the owner of The Newtown School of Music after teaching there for 31 years.

“I never thought about owning my own music school, but this is exactly what I wanted,” says Sonny.

He took over ownership this June and has kept the music school afloat amidst the pandemic.

The music school and store has been a foundation in the Newtown community for 60 years, and is focused solely on music education.

“We’re not a normal music store,” Sonny says. “We help people get instruments and have rentals, but we are centered on education and private music lessons.”

Musical passion has always been the backbone of The Newtown School of Music; one more reason Sonny is the ideal new owner.

“If you want to teach [music], you have to love it,” he says.

Love it he does. Sonny got his BA in Percussion and has studied all wood, wind and brass instruments – he can play and teach every instrument.

Jazz is his passion, but The Newtown School of Music stretches beyond that.

“We have an extension in all genres for all musicians.”

The music school provides lessons on all instruments and vocals, and there’s no age limit!

“Lately, I’ve had senior citizens call to ask about lessons,” says Sonny. “It’s something I don’t think the school has seen before, but we welcome it!”

All lessons are one-on-one with one of The Newtown School of Music’s seven talented teachers.

“I’ve raised the bar with our teachers,” Sonny said.

Each teacher at the music school has a degree and specializes in their musical focus, offering a wide variety of highly qualified teachers.

This February, the local music school is preparing to take a big step to set them even further apart from other studios.

“As soon as I took over, I changed two rooms into one big room,” says Sonny.

This allows him a wider space for band practice, where he plans to teach jazz and rock bands and offer group lessons.

Current members of the Newtown School of Music Jazz Band have all been private students of Sonny’s for at least four years.

The current female members are from Villa Joseph Marie High School; men are from Council Rock, LaSalle and Bensalem high schools.

The Band has been performing together for about three years, and had the privilege of performing at the Morrisville Jazz Fest.

While practicing inside, they’re behind Plexiglas before they take off their masks to play.

When outside, social distancing is used so they can perform without masks.

“Even though I’ve only been the owner for two months, I’ve been teaching here for 31 years as of this September,” says Sonny. “All that time, this band is our best musicians from our school.”

Due to high demands, the Newtown School of Music will be offering ONE free lesson in October, with instruments available.

In-person lessons follow all CDC guidelines with temperature checks, hand sanitizer and Plexiglas dividers (remote options are available).

“Playing a musical instrument has been proven to make you smarter,” says Sonny. “Hope to see more of you soon!”

Call 215-968-2333 to book a lesson.

Follow them on Facebook @120StateStreet, or find them at thenewtownschoolofmusic.com.

PHOTO CAP: The Newtown School of Music Jazz Band: Back row, from left, Luke Nicastro (Bass), Dennis Shalumov (Trumpet), Andrew Ferrante (Alto/Tenor Saxes), Sonny Facenda (Owner), Max Camastro (Drums); Front row, from left, Brenna Czekner (Keyboard), Dakota McNally (Bari-Sax), Erin McFadden (Guitar) and Hannah Buckleman (Trumpet).

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