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Citrus Heights music school sings new tune

Michael Hemsworth stands inside the newly rebranded Newsongs Lafitte Music Center in Citrus Heights. // M. Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip—
Lafitte Music Center opened its doors in Citrus Heights about seven years ago, and now the original owner, Jordane Lafitte, is taking a rest from the business to pursue other interests.

The show will go on for the school with Michael Hemsworth of NewSongs School of Music taking over the business. The Elk Grove-based NewSongs announced the move in a Jan. 22 notice, saying Lafitte reached out about the opportunity for a merger.

“When I was ready to sell, there was only one person I wanted to sell to,” Lafitte told The Sentinel in a Jan. 28 interview, saying she knew Hemsworth had “the same mindset” and would continue the school as she had envisioned. “I’m happy for the students, for the families, for the teachers, for myself, for him. I think it’s great.”

Hemsworth said he plans to preserve the name by incorporating it with his business calling it “NewSongs Lafitte Music Center,” he said. The transaction became official on Wednesday, Feb. 1. Citrus Heights will be the first location outside of Elk Grove, he said.

“We’re always looking to expand because I want more kids to have access to good music education, no matter how big we grow, it’s never enough,” Hemsworth said. “We weren’t looking to this area specifically, but with Jordane wanting to move on to other projects, this school had such a wonderful culture and environment and teaching staff that we really felt like we could come in and serve this population by helping keep that alive.”

With NewSongs marking two decades in business this year, Hemsworth said music gives students a chance to communicate and connect with others. The business name comes from the idea that students are creating something new in the creative process of making music.

“You’re creating something original every time you play music,” Hemsworth said. “I believe every student is an original, every student has something unique to themselves to bring out to the world and that’s what we want for them.”

In a parting social media announcement after the school’s 56th concert in more than six years, Lafitte said the school is in good hands.

“Thank you so much, students and families for all your support, helping build the musical community, all the concerts we’ve done, even the ones we did remotely during Covid, the wonderful memories, and all the love. I will miss you all,” Lafitte said.

The music center in Citrus Heights is located at 8089 Madison Ave., Suite #6.

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