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Opus 11 Studio offers musical haven in Jeannette

| Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 9:02 p.m.
Margie Stanislaw | The Jeannette Spirit
Lee and Wendy Matchett pose for a photo in the piano studio at Opus 11 Studio on Clay Avenue in Jeannette.
Margie Stanislaw | The Jeannette Spirit
The main studio at Opus 11 is spacious and provides room for several musicians.
Margie Stanislaw | The Jeannette Spirit
A drum set is on hand at Opus 11 for musicians and teachers to use while in studio.

A hidden treasure on Clay Avenue, Opus 11 Studio offers a variety of options for music teachers, their students and other musicians.

The studio is owned and operated by longtime Jeannette area resident Lee Matchett, and his wife, Wendy. They both have degrees in music education. Matchett purchased the building in 2000 and ran his accounting business out of there for several years.

In 2007, he decided to downsize and began to look at different ways to utilize the space.

Although Matchett now operates his accounting business from his home, he is still teaching music. Over the years he has worked with several high school bands.

“I work with McKeesport now and I used to teach tuba for the Hempfield Band, “ said Matchett.

Being heavily involved in the music world over the years, Matchett had the opportunity to interact with many music teachers. He said one of the common complaints among music teachers is that it is hard to find adequate space to teach.

“All of us have a story about being stuck in the back room of the music store,” said Matchett. “Wendy and I also wanted to do this because many schools are threatening to stop music programs, and there are a lot of academic advantages to music.”

The Neurological Research Journal reports that students who were exposed to music-based lessons scored better on certain tests than students who were not exposed to the same classes.

What the Matchetts aim to do at Opus 11 Studio is provide space. There are several different studios in the building, including a piano studio and a drum studio.

“Teachers can come here and teach lessons,” said Matchett. “We are simply providing the space.”

In addition to managing the studio, Matchett also teaches trombone and tuba. Wendy Matchett is a vocalist with the Westmoreland Chorale Society and teaches preschool.

“I manage the Facebook page here,” said Wendy Matchett, but husband Lee said, “We share the responsibilities here.”

Students can sign up for music lessons by browsing the website, finding a teacher in their area of interest and contacting them. If a specific area of interest is not listed, prospective students should contact the studio for assistance. Music teachers who need lesson space are also encouraged to contact Opus 11 Studio.

Matchett is originally from Jeannette and now lives in the Beech Hills neighborhood. His father owned an accounting firm on Clay Avenue for many years. Matchett did his undergraduate work at West Virginia Wesleyan and his graduate work at Catholic University.

After college, he taught high school in Maryland for several years.

“I felt the need to come home because Dad was alone,” said Matchett. “I worked in the nonprofit field in Pittsburgh for awhile, but then joined my dad's firm. I took classes at Pitt. A lot of people (who) went to undergraduate school with me are now working in finance.

“It is because both music and mathematics involve the ability to think creatively in an abstract language.”

The Matchetts are parents to three adult children and have one grandchild, Aaron, who is 6 years old.

For information on Opus 11 Studio, call 724-972-4440 or visit http://opus11studio.com.

Margie Stanislaw is a contributing writer.

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