Quick Facts: Conservatory of Music

  • For 87 years, the large red brick home across from Washington Park in downtown Manitowoc has been offering music lessons to children and adults of all ages.
  • The original building was purchased in 1925 and on December 10, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity (FSCC) moved into a large home with three pianos and very little furniture. Before the move, several Sisters were music instructors at St. Boniface Parish but the music program outgrew the space.
  • In 1935, the FSCC had earned enough money teaching music to add on to the building. An addition was built on the east side of the home and includes a chapel, kitchen, teaching rooms, bedrooms and a 1,842 square foot auditorium with a capacity of 300 seats.
  • In the early years the Conservatory taught art and dance which began in 1935 with the addition.
  • Art continued to be offered for over 10 years until Holy Family College was opened with its own art department.
  • From 1935–1955 the Conservatory also had a school of dance under the direction of Lenore Healy (Mrs. Pat Dewane, Sr.) and Ardis Albano (Mrs. Hilary Rath).
  • In 1980, Sister Marcus Steede began the Suzuki method of teaching strings. She calls it the mother-tongue approach where children learn by listening.
  • Since the Conservatory opened, over 12,000 students ages 3 to 80 have passed through the location near Washington Park.
  • The combined service of the current Sisters at the Conservatory is more than 90 years.
  • The Conservatory at one time had one part-time and six full-time Sisters giving private lessons.
  • Presently, the Conservatory has 11 pianos and 250 students taking lessons on piano, harp, strings, organ, woodwind, guitar and brass instruments.
  • Many students of the Conservatory of Music hold professional positions throughout the country. Many play in orchestras and a variety of musical groups.

Mission Statement

Holy Family Conservatory of Music is a unique institution of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity founded to share with students, their families and the surrounding community the beauty of music; instructing, encouraging and promoting performance and appreciation skills, as well as growth in reverence for all persons. In the tradition of St. Francis and our foundresses, we recognize the power of music to transform the ordinary, to heal broken spirits, to unite hearts, to nurture and form the inner spirit and to help persons to encounter God. In this spirit, we gratefully continue the tradition begun here in 1925.