The sound of guitar strings being strum and the lyrics to a never before heard song were the sounds I heard when I entered the doors of Lochwood Academy as a student shared his newly written song with Lochwood’s Director and voice coach, Alice-Margaret Bose Byerts. I sat down with Mindy, daughter of Alice-Margaret, and she shared with my the story behind this well loved family business in Downtown Sanford, FL.
This family business story begins with Alice-Margaret, Mom of daughters Mindy and Ginny and wife to Husband, Dean Byerts. Alice-Margaret’s roots are in Sanford, she grew up in the same town that she now runs her businesses out of. Her father was a firefighter and her Mom was an elementary Teacher at the Grammar School in Downtown Sanford (which is now Venue 1902) and eventually went to work at Hamilton elementary.
Alice took on the love of teaching from her Mom and began teach Vietnamese students at the young age of 15, she later went on to graduate from Stetson University where she received her Bachelors in Music Education. She met the love of her life, Dean, and shortly after getting married they added two beautiful girls to their family, Mindy and Ginny.
As the girls got older it was apparent that they also shared their Mother’s love for music and both their Grandmother and Mom’s love for teaching as they began teaching with their Mom out of their 2 bedroom-1 bathroom home. Mindy shares that each of the girls would take up a different corner of the house, one in the kitchen, another in the bedroom and a third wherever she would fit in order for all three of them to teach music lessons at the same time, under one roof.
After several years of watching his girls give lessons inside their home and after sharing his couch with parents of the children receiving lessons, Dad, Dean Byerts, suggested it was time to search for a more permanent location for his girls to give lessons to their students.
In June of 2011, Alice-Margaret’s dream became a reality when the doors opened to her very own music school, Lochwood Academy in Downtown Sanford. This was a dream of Alice Margaret’s, but easily became a dream that her daughters cared for as well. In between running a business and family life, each of the girls have gone out to achieve major accomplishments in their music roles. Mindy has traveled in a Missions Group Orchestra and has performed in places such as Texas, Russia, Scotland and even had the opportunity to perform at the Sydney Opera House in Australia! She currently teaches clarinet and piano at Lochwood. Her sister Ginny, teaches oboe, flute and piano and you can find both Mindy and Ginny performing for local theaters in the pit band.
All in all this is a tight knit and talented family, that shares the same dream. They wish to take all of these talents and lessons they have learned and share them all with the students that walk through the doors of Lochwood.
The Byerts family’s hope for Lochwood is for everyone to feel welcomed and as though they are part of their family, that a student never misses an opportunity due to monetary reasons and that all that walk through the doors of Lochwood feel loved on and cared for. Mindy shared with me that their hope is for the school to be viewed as the Juilliard of the South. And with Lochwood students traveling in from different parts of the world and hearing that students have gone on to perform in regional theater in larger productions we have no doubt that they will one day be seen as such.
With students ranging from 2 to 70 years old and with scholarships available provided with love from the Byerts family, there really is no excuse to not step through the doors of Lochwood Academy and allow your dreams to become a reality.
109 W Commercial St. Sanford, Florida 32771