St. Albans store’s new digs hits high notes

Kareem Headley (l.) answers questions from the Rev. Jonnel Doris about his violin performance at the February opening of Joe's Music Center in St. Albans. Headley's parents are the owners of the center. Photo by Rebecca Henely
By Rebecca Henely

Joe’s Music Center and Performing Arts has been an institution in the St. Albans community since 1998, and it’s planning to be bigger than ever now that it has moved to a new location.

The center at 114-04 Farmers Blvd. in St. Albans offers classes in playing instruments, singing and dancing. It now boasts 160 students, but co-owner Jolander Headley said she’s hoping for more.

“We’re looking to double that by the end of this year,” she said.

Jolander Headley, who started in the music business with her husband Grantley 30 years ago, runs the St. Albans center and another center in Brooklyn. Her time teaching started while she was living in Trinidad as a teenager. Jolander Headley, who had been playing instruments since she was 6 years old, began teaching music lessons to children.

“I’d just been asked by parents in the neighborhood], ‘Can you teach my child?’ It was just for fun,” Jolander Headley said, recalling those days in Trinidad.

When she moved to St. Albans in the late 1990s, she found parents asking her that question once again. In the intervening years, she had focused on her music career, but then decided to turn her former teaching hobby into a business with her husband. Named “Joe’s” after Jolander Headley’s first name, the first center, which opened 13 years ago, was at 114th Road and Mexico Street in St. Albans. In 2007, they opened another center at 545 Brooklyn Ave. in Brooklyn.

But Jolander Headley said they still wanted to expand. Last May, the Headleys opened a Joe’s Music Store at 114-02 Farmers Blvd. and in February, they moved their first center, which had been located two blocks away, next to their store.

“Moving to the boulevard was a natural progression for the expansion of the business,” she said.

Jolander Headley described the center as a one-stop shop for parents whose children may have multiple or different interests in the arts. The Farmers Boulevard center includes 12 individual studios for instruction and a separate dance studio. With 30 employees in all between the Queens and Brooklyn centers, Joe’s is able to provide instruction in singing; multiple styles of dance such as ballet, tap, African-style and modern; and all types of musical instruments.

“So far we have not come across a request that we have not been able to satisfy,” Jolander Headley said of teaching musical instruments.

The classes run along the traditional school year and there is a summer camp in August. Within the center, students have multiple options for concerts and recitals. Students can be as young as 3 to as old as retirees, and the center also has special programs for choir instruction, Jolander Headley said.

“There’s really no limit so long as we have the space to work with,” she said.

Center hours are 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5: 30 p.m. Saturdays and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. More information can be found at joesmusiccenter.org.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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