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56 Centre Street – Nantucket Community Music Center and Nantucket Community School Nantucket

Remain transformed a historic hotel into a home for the Nantucket Community Music Center and the Nantucket Community School with classrooms, music rooms, a parlor for lectures and concerts, rehearsal space, a computer lab and a recording studio. 

The Vision

To provide a year-round education space for adults and children and serve as an on-going draw for families and visitors to engage in activities in the historic downtown. 

The Mission

Since 2015, the Nantucket Community Music Center and the Nantucket Community School have welcomed music students, adult learners and professionals for classes and enrichment opportunities.  

The Project

was made possible through Remain Nantucket.

Learning and Enrichment

A Vibrant Home for Culture

The Nantucket Community Music Center and the Nantucket Community School bring music and learning to the downtown

The renovation of 56 Centre Street completed the building’s transformation from hotel to a downtown home for the Nantucket Community Music Center (NCMC) and the Nantucket Community School (NCS). The educational programs in 56 Centre encourage year-round activity and enrichment opportunities for all members of the community.


The lower level of the building contains a computer lab, a multipurpose classroom, a rehearsal space and a recording studio. In addition to being a place where musicians can record, the studio provides opportunities for islanders to learn sound engineering as a career or hobby under the auspices of the NCMC faculty. The first floor has a parlor for small recitals, presentations and ensemble rehearsals and a child-friendly space where the NCS’s parent education programs are conducted. The second floor houses teaching studios for music school faculty as well as a classroom dedicated to distance learning and many certification classes hosted by NCS. 


The LEED Certified Gold building recycling and water bottle refilling stations on each floor. In addition to designing an energy-efficient structure with new insulation in all of the walls, the Remain team chose to use a geothermal system to heat and cool the building. Wells were placed under the lawn so that groundwater, which has a constant temperature of about 55 degrees, can be pumped through the condensers to create air of the desired temperature. Rainwater is collected from the roof of the building through the downspouts and fed into a holding tank under the driveway. This water is then used to flush the toilets and is available for irrigating the gardens. While water scarcity is not an acute problem on Nantucket, heightened awareness of this precious resource is important for everyone in the community. All of the plants on the property are native species that both minimize the need for watering and are drought-tolerant. The lawn is planted with violets, wild strawberries and clover, so its flowers are a food source for birds, bees and bugs—all important to our island’s biodiversity. The vegetable garden along Academy Lane provides food for staff working in the building, and illustrates for passersby how little land is needed to create a productive kitchen garden.


Remain worked with a design team led by Joe Paul and Doug Mills (BPC Architecture) and Kathleen Hay (Kathleen Hay Designs). With input from NCMC and NCS staff, the building’s many functions created a need for spaces with specialized design features, from recording studio equipment, specialty lighting, distance learning AV equipment and acoustical treatments for sound isolation and to improve the sound qualities of the various spaces. Acentech, Cannon Design and Boston Light and Sound all contributed to the project during the design and the construction phases. Julie Wood of Hither Creek Gardening designed a living lawn and a kitchen garden to promote the site’s biodiversity, as well as beautiful plantings, walkways and hardscaping. All of the renovations were carefully conducted under the supervision of Scout Construction so as to comply with LEED standard for sustainability, waste minimization and reliance on readily renewable or recycled products throughout the construction process. 

Music For All

NCMC offers lessons in instruments, voice and ensembles for all ages

There’s a Class for That

NCS's variety of classes and certifications is of critical value to the community

Listen and Learn

Performances, concerts and public events are offered year-round

Partner: Nantucket Community Music Center

NCMC offers private and semi-private lessons on over 15 instruments, for any age and skill level. In addition, there are choirs for youth and adults and bands, including drumline and jazz and lessons in music and movement for the very young, music education and workshops and seminars on a variety of topics. 

Explore Nantucket Community Music Center

Partner: Nantucket Community School

With a mission of engaging, strengthening and connecting the Nantucket community, NCS offers a wide range of classes for adults at its downtown campus, including opportunities for professional development and personal enrichment. Early childhood education and enrichment programs are also offered at 56 Centre. Learn more about all of their programs and opportunities. 

Explore Nantucket Community School

By the numbers

On any given day, you’ll hear the sound of piano, violin and ukulele lessons pouring out the windows of this busy building. You’ll hear musicians recording in the sea-themed basement and witness children and parents gathered in their cozy and colorful classroom.

  • 6,500

    Visitors to the building each year
  • 21

    Instruments to play
  • 168

    Free playgroups for children and caregivers
  • 1

    Recording studio for music production



Read the latest news about Remain Nantucket, Remain Ventures and our many island partners who are working to make the community more sustainable, viable and resilient. Please come back frequently for updates.

String program at NIS soars

The Inquirer and Mirror (April 27, 2023) — Nantucket Intermediate School expanded its musical offerings this school year to include a string program, approximately doubling the number of students in its music program over the previous year. Read the full article by Jamie Cushman here.

Nantucket Community

Voices raising in song

The Inquirer and Mirror (May 25, 2023) — They’ve put in the work, countless hours of practice over the last four months. And today ACKapella, Nantucket Community Music Center’s new concert choir made up of 10 students ages 13-17, will sing a cappella on the big stage: the historic National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Read…


Remain Nantucket is committed to supporting the evolution of a healthy year-round community across the island. Remain taps into continuous dialogue to identify challenges and explore solutions. By supporting resourceful thinking and research, Remain builds on Nantucket’s traditions of independence and innovation while adding expertise from a worldwide network. Remain Nantucket, LLC engages in charitable work and community investments as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Schmidt Family Foundation.

Remain Nantucket