In 1993, Greg and Nancie McLaughlin opened their first music studio in downtown Loomis in a 500 square foot location. They had three teachers, Greg, Nancie and Schell who taught Creative Expression, Music Exploration, Piano, Flute, Saxophone, Guitar and Bass. Greg was recognized in the Placer County area and surrounding communities as an outstanding teacher having taught at local establishments and by playing at many local venues and private events. He earned his Master's Degree in Music in 1992. Nancie was responsible for the creative expression and music exploration classes. She was also a well-recognized musician in the area performing with top local ensembles. Nancie holds a Bachelor's in Education and just received a Master's Degree in Education (2015). Schell was a well-known and very popular guitar instructor who jumped at the chance to work with the McLaughlin couple.
Word got around rapidly and within one year Greg and Nancie realized they could not accommodate all of the students in the small space. The students were so pleased with the instructors and the progress they were making, they kept coming and supporting Greg, Nancie, and Schell even in the less than desirable space. But, it was not acceptable to them in achieving their goals to bring exceptional service and knowledge to their clients, so they located a larger place just down the street and around the corner where they found themselves building a studio that included 6 studio rooms, a small office area, a greeting/waiting space, and a classroom. They were even able to add a place where they could keep music supplies and to store instruments for rentals. This was no easy move and it was a stretch financially. They were encouraged by their teachers, students and their families and those who could help, volunteered their labor. Everyone entering the studio noticed a space above the office specially made for their daughter, Melissa. She has grown up with the excitement and joy of learning music and entertainment.
The change was definitely good as the studio not only was more than double in size but the number of students increased exponentially. Greg and Nancie were able to add teachers to the company and expand the offerings to include brass, violin, percussion and voice lessons as well as youth orchestra, jazz band, and jazz improv. They also found that they were being recognized and accepted as a contributing member of the business community in the town of Loomis. They joined the Chamber of Commerce in Loomis and regularly participated in community events. Events include the Eggplant Festival, The Loomis Earth Day, The Loomis Christmas Celebration, and many others. A natural part of their involvement in the greater Placer County area included contact and interaction with the schools at all levels.
Greg started teaching at Sierra Community College in 1991 and after 15 years advanced to Head of the Music Department. He had to reduce his hours at the studio but has continued to be actively involved by remaining on the teacher staff, musical director of MTC, and emcee at studio recitals and concerts.
In 2000, once again a move was necessary and even more physical renovation and building was needed. Nancie saw a need to expand their program to include dance as well as an expanded music program. In 2008 a dance floor was installed and a stage with lighting and acoustic equipment was constructed. The teachers were now able to hold their recitals at the studio. Greg and Nancie also held teacher and family recognition days recognizing the expertise of the teachers and the value of having supportive families. Then, in 2009, a full youth theatre arts program was added to their company. The McLaughlin Theatre Company (MTC) was created as a not-for-profit project of the Sierra Performing Arts Association for “building skills and confidence for a lifetime.” Nancie said, “The MTC project was the perfect addition to our arts education facility, creating music, dance and theatre all under one roof.”
Most performances required renting space in the community which involved hauling sets and costumes and equipment back and forth.
After 12 years at their third location and several years of wanting to improve even more, Nancie surveyed their staff and clientele to help them determine what was needed to achieve that goal. It was clear to Nancie and Greg that another move was necessary.
They moved to their current location in 2012. They now have 6600 square feet that has developed into a working music, dance and theatre arts facility that exceeds everyone's expectations. Now that they have their own large 28X32 foot stage with state of the art lighting and sound systems they are able to hold all of their performances and recitals at their studio. They are looking forward to the day when they can say they are finished with construction, but are finding every step they take makes their studio one of the top arts studios in all of the Placer County and surrounding areas. As important as space is, Greg and Nancie say, “We know it is the teaching staff that makes the company” and they constantly endeavor to enlist the most talented and highly qualified individuals. Currently they have eighteen incredible teachers and have a great front office staff. The retail space is designed to have the supplies and equipment available to meet the needs of the teachers and students. Greg and Nancie said, “We feel we are achieving what we set out to do back in 1993. As long as we can continue to fulfill our pledge to provide excellence in Arts Education for all, we are happy.”