The Delta Community Music School was founded in September 1981 by the Delta Symphony Society to foster the growth of arts education in Delta. It has undergone several name changes since its founding: It has been formally known as the Delta Conservatory of Music, and the Delta Institute of the Arts.

Delta Conservatory of Music

The Delta Conservatory of Music commenced operations on September 21, 1981, ten years after the inauguration of the Delta Youth Orchestra. This excerpt is taken from the original proposal: (source: Delta Community Music School Archives)

… A principal concern is and will remain the assurance of a continuous flow of gifted young players through the dyo programme. An absence, or shortage, of important instruments in the orchestra (Bass, horns, trombones, percussion, etc. has been a major source of concern… To obtain cello and bass players we must have teachers of these instruments working in an official capacity with the Orchestra. As we have a full slate of conductors and sectional instructors the ideal way to involve other teachers is to encourage them to teach in the community of Delta… The establishment of a Conservatory of Music with its own facilities would be of great assistance in the growth of the musical culture in this community.

Through the efforts of Jean Kennell (DSS. President 1978-81) and her husband Frank (DSS board 1975 – 1982), the Delta Conservatory of Music was formed and taught classes after school at Delta Secondary School. Jean Kennell left the DSS to become the secretary of the new conservatory, and both became the driving force behind the new music school.

In 1983 the Delta Conservatory of Music founded its own board of directors, with the Kennell’s participating. The name changed to Delta Institute of the Arts (DIA), and expanded rapidly in the mid-1980s to include a conservatory of music, an Orff and Kodaly program, a Music Therapy program, and a Theatre Arts program, with classes being held in Ladner, Tsawwassen, and North Delta. Jean and Frank Kennell retired in 1988 from the board of the DIA, and moved to Vancouver Island. We sincerely thank them for the work they have done to foster the arts in Delta.

The Delta Institute of the Arts downsized in late 1980s and early 1990s, and could no longer offer the Theatre and Music Therapy programs it once did. In December 1994 the DIA became known as the Delta Community Music School.

Vocal class at DCMS