Wednesday, October 2, 2019

FSPA Celebrates 35th Anniversary

In 1985, lifetime Franklin resident Raye Lynn Mercer, director, pianist, and educator, departed from her private studio of 35 piano students with a vision, and opened the doors of the Franklin School for the Performing Arts (FSPA) at 38 Main Street in Franklin. Offering the region a one-of-a-kind performing arts education program that includes music, dance, and drama under one roof, FSPA Celebrates its 35th Anniversary Season this year.

The anniversary celebrations began with a back-to-school toast at 38 Main Street for faculty and FSPA families past and present. The year’s festivities will include an anniversary alumni concert and celebration at THE BLACK BOX over Thanksgiving weekend, a special February cabaret featuring current students, faculty, alumni, and Broadway friends of FSPA at one of NYC’s most prestigious cabaret venues, the 35th Spring Concert in May, and more.

Through the years, FSPA has cultivated relationships with performers and guest teachers who are currently dominating their artistic fields. These artists are able to mentor FSPA students through the school’s annual NYC master class weekend as well as special workshops held at the school. "I wish I had a Franklin School for the Performing Arts in my life when I was growing up,” says Tony Award winner Beth Leavel. “It's invaluable."
Raye Lynn Mercer
Raye Lynn Mercer

FSPA’s alumni have a long track record of success. Students have gone on to appear on Broadway, in national tours, regional theater, professional ballet companies, TV, feature film, opera, cruise ships, concert dance, and more. Alum Dan Gleason, currently in Wicked on Broadway, says of his FSPA beginnings, “ I owe a lot of my consistent vocal health and technique to my years at FSPA. Healthy singing habits were ingrained in my body and now are second nature. FSPA set me up for success in life and I am so thankful for my years of training in my hometown.”

FSPA founder Raye Lynn Mercer believes that an education in the performing arts, whether or not pursued for a professional career, provides young people with lasting life skills. Students of the arts develop personal attributes including focus, discipline, self-esteem, and an understanding of teamwork. Superior communication and social skills become attributes of students who pursue music, dance, and drama. Conservatory and career bound students, as well as those who attend classes for fun, gain a sense of accomplishment and the confidence they need to succeed in all endeavors. 

FSPA violin instructor Irina Fainkichen says of the school’s environment, "I see FSPA as a second home for many students. Besides all the opportunities this school provides, and believe me, there are so many, I love that everybody has so much fun together. We are like a big and loud family. Whether in the hallways or classrooms, you can hear music, dancing, singing, and laughter everywhere."

For more information on the Franklin School for the Performing Arts and its programs visit or call 508-528-8668. FSPA will hold open houses for prospective students and families at 38 Main Street on October 10 from 4:00-8:00 pm and October 30 from 4:00-8:00 pm. The community is invited to tour the facilities, observe classes, speak with faculty and staff, and learn more about FSPA programs in music, dance, and drama, whether for recreational enjoyment or serious study.

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