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SARASOTA, FL – The Music Compound, a business where students of all ages can pursue their love of music, is pleased to offer a new program. Music Compound will debut its Show Choir & Musical Theatre program in September at its Cattlemen studio (1751 Cattlemen Rd., Sarasota); leading the program is noted longtime Sarasota educator, Julie Rohr McHugh.

The Show Choir, for middle and high school students, will offer opportunities for singing and dancing with some dialogue. There will be a minimum of three local performances a semester. Classes will be held on Tuesdays, from 5-7 p.m.

The Musical Theatre program, for elementary school students, will receive instruction in acting, singing and dancing – all students will have a speaking part. There will be a minimum of three local performances per semester; the class will offer a valuable opportunity for students to perform in front of an audience. Classes will be held on Thursdays, from 5-7 p.m.

“Performing arts education provides innumerable benefits to children – studies have shown these opportunities help students develop skills such as collaboration, communication, creative thinking and discipline as well as improve their cognitive skills and academic performance,” said Music Compound founder and owner Jenny Townsend. “We are so pleased to welcome Julie Rohr McHugh to help us get this program off the ground. Our participants are going to benefit tremendously from her significant expertise, experience and love of all things musical.”

McHugh, who moved to Sarasota at the age of 7 and attended Sarasota County public schools, received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and her Master’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Miami. She performed professionally – including on the Mike Douglas Show, Jackie Gleason Show, Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, two USO tours to Europe and the Far East, and more. After teaching music at a school in Fort Lauderdale, she and her family moved back to Sarasota in 1976 so that she could work as principal and a music teacher at Julie Rohr Academy. She has been music director for four Sarasota Players productions, 33 Julie Rohr Academy productions, and over 100 Sarasota Academy of the Arts productions as well as taught Changing Tide Show Choir and Singing Sailors chorus at Sarasota High School for 12 years and Sonic Boom Show Choir at Sarasota Military Academy for seven years. In June, after 51 years, she retired from full-time teaching.

“All types of students are welcome to participate in this program, from those who already have experience with musical theatre and love the spotlight to shy children who have no idea of the talent that they possess within themselves,” said McHugh. “Boys, girls, introverts, extroverts – this kind of experience helps young people to learn how to present themselves to others, think on their feet and gain a self-confidence that they will take throughout their lives.”

The introductory rate for these programs is $100/month for two hours per week of instruction. The Music Compound is planning strict protocols, based on public health recommendations related to the coronavirus pandemic, to keep participants and teachers safe.

For more information, call 941-379-9100 or go to

PHOTO ID: Music Compound Show Choir & Musical Theatre program director Julie Rohr McHugh (left) with Music Compound owner Jenny Townsend
Photo by Carissa Warfield/Still Silver Photography