Margaret Goreshnik has taught music at Allegro Academy in Sarasota for 25 years
Margaret Goreshnik has her love — she’s had it for a quarter of a century and more.
Goreshnik, a native of Estonia and a Sarasota resident, loves music with every part of her being. It’s what she grew up learning, when her mother introduced her to the piano and violin and had her take lessons. It’s what she learned to love so much that she, upon moving to Florida, opened the Allegro Academy of Music, Etiquette and Dance in Sarasota.
Goreshnik’s music academy recently celebrated 25 years of activity, a quarter-century of sharing musical knowledge, etiquette advice and dance craft with hundreds of students. It’s a milestone that brings no small amount of pride to Goreshnik, who has committed to this field with everything she has.
“I like to teach children music,” Goreshnik said. “Isn’t it beautiful? What can be better?”
Goreshnik started her musical endeavors in Manatee County 30 years ago, where she taught students from a church. In time, she opened her academy.
The school teaches a students how to play a number of musical instruments, from piano keyboard, violin, viola guitar, electric acoustic bass, mandolin, banjo, ukulele voice, saxophone, flute, clarinet and others. The school focuses on classical music but will dip into Christmas music during the season and more modern tunes if there’s interest. Some students take classes once a week, while others visit every couple days or more.
It’s important to Goreshnik that Allegro Academy hires a proper level of teaching quality, and is sure to make sure its teachers have some kind of bachelors or masters degree to be teaching students.
Teaching requires providing help to families in need as well. Goreshnik says she and her staff work hard to have scholarship options available for students. The academy director has also donated her own piano, cello and other instruments to the school for students to use as well.
“It’s not our obligation but I feel that I have to give back to the community with all the love that they gave me,” she said. “People have helped me, and I want to give back.”
The pandemic has brought new challenges and wrinkles for her staff to adapt to. What was once Goreshnik and her teaching staff working with 20 students in a classroom has now become a situation where only five or so students are learning music craft together while spaced apart. Other school instructors teach students virtually. It’s a necessary situation, but one Goreshnik says is still difficult.
“It's much more involved for us financially but we’re doing it,” Goreshnik said. “That's why our students come to us because they know we’re a safe place … not one student got sick in our school.”
All of the hard work and focus is in service to a series of performances Allegro students and staff put on in the community. The school used to have monthly shows but have transitioned to quarterly events since the pandemic started. Students play a mix of music from South America, Russia, Thailand, and other countries — Goreshnik feels it’s important to have students play music from across the world.
Beyond the musical craft and practice for each instrument, Goreshnik says her school teaches students how to have faith. Faith that with proper work and focus, they can go on to play in orchestras and music groups across the country and world.
That faith is needed now more than ever. Goreshnik says she’s just waiting for the day that the pandemic settles and she and her students are able to put on even more shows for people in the community.
“I’m excited,” Goreshnik said. “I love what I’m doing.”