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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Despite being hit by the March tornado and feeling the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fanny’s House of Music is planning a major expansion.

The East Nashville music shop hopes to build Fanny’s School of Music. The space would be next door to the music store and would offer more space for music lessons, music therapy and community events.

The owners said it would create opportunities for more grants and more scholarships for low-income music students.

“We’ll be able to increase our lesson space from three lesson rooms to ten, we’ll be able to expand our scholarship program,” co-owner Leigh Maples said. “We’ll be able to apply for grants and raise money for scholarships.”

When it’s finished, owners expect the expansion to cost $1.5 million. Fanny’s set up a fundraiser last week to help raise money to open the school.

“So Dolly [Parton] or Taylor [Swift] if you’re listening, send it on over!” co-owner Pamela Cole said with a laugh.

Cole acknowledged that many might question the timing of such a large expansion. The music store sustained significant damage from the March tornado, and for most local businesses, the pandemic has created uncertainty about the future. Owners said Fanny’s isn’t immune to that uncertainty; sales are down significantly compared to last year and the store was forced to close for more than four months. But Cole said that’s why the school is needed.

“It’s so important right now, people are afraid, they’re full of anxiety and don’t know what’s coming next,” Cole said. “What music does is it focuses you in on something you can control.”

“It’s healing, it’s empowering,” Maples added. “It’s just amazing what things music can do.”

The owners also want the investment to send a message of hope to an area dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 while still recovering from the March tornado

“I don’t believe the new normal is going to be this, I think it might be different, and it may be different for a while, but we’re prepared to move ahead,” Cole said. “It’s hopeful to work on it, it brings hope to talk about it. We’re confident in the future, there’s gonna be a future that needs this building.”

For more information about the project and how you can help, you can go to the Fanny’s School of Music website.

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