Rosie’s House Music Academy celebrates 20th anniversary

Rosie's House alum Isidro Alvarrez with his Rosa Lina Elementary School students.

Rosie’s House alum Isidro Alvarrez with his Rosa Lina Elementary School students.

Rosie’s House: A Music Academy for Children has scheduled a full slate of events in celebration of its 20th anniversary during 2016.

Founded as “The Christmas House” in 1996 by German immigrant Rosie and her late husband Woody Schurz, who renovated a South Phoenix home to create a safe place for neighborhood children to receive free music lessons, the name was changed to Rosie’s House: A Music Academy for Children in 2002.

The first year, 45 students took lessons.  Today, more than 400 students between 5 and 18 years benefit from the power of music education each year.

Rosie’s House is one of the largest free community music schools nationwide and in 2015 received a Certificate of Excellence from the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Anniversary events include salon concerts in private homes for donors and supporters, an Anniversary Community and Alumni Celebration on the Rosie’s Campus 3:30 p.m. April 9; the Anniversary Gala Concert at Arizona Opera, 1636 N. Central Ave., at 4 p.m. May 14; and the Anniversary Community Reception at Phoenix Theater, 100 E. McDowell Road, at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 6.

Rosie’s House is located at 1875 N. Central Ave.

Rosie’s House annually offers 12,000 free private and group training lessons in strings, woodwinds, brass, classical guitar, piano and voice and provides instruments from bassoons to upright pianos. Rosie’s House also offers ensemble training in Mariachi and Choir.

“Rosie’s House was founded on the belief that music education helps students build self-esteem, learn rigor and teamwork and become creative thinkers.  We see that growth every day among our current students, graduates and alumni who consistently speak to the values they learned and the impact of the education on their lives,” said Executive and Artistic Director Becky Ballard.

Rosie’s House graduates are teaching music or are pursuing careers in a range of industries from nursing to law. Consistently, 96 percent of graduating students attend college, the majority being first-generation college students. Alumni attribute their success to the life skills they learned through music.

Isidro Alvarez, 2008 graduate, is now the band director at Irene Lopez School in the Roosevelt School District where he also teaches general music to students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

“Dedication, confidence and teamwork contribute to having a successful program,” he said.  “I can’t see myself anywhere else.  I simply love it and am proud to have gone through the Rosie’s House program.”

For more information about Rosie’s House: A Music Academy for Children, visit

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