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Our History

Established in 1973 by Nevilla E. Ottley, B. Mus. Ed., M.A., and M. Mus., as a private piano and music theory lesson studio, the Ottley Music School is now a non-degree-granting community school offering private music lessons (including techniques, ear-training, and literature) in voice, piano, organ, most band and orchestral instruments--drums, all strings including harp, all types of guitars, woodwinds and brass. Lessons in indigenous instruments like the Steel Drums of Trinidad, Native American flutes, and African Drums are also offered. Other offerings include church music, music theory, conducting, orchestration, the history of music including Black composers, Drama and Dance.

Ottley Music School also offers classes for pre-schoolers (Music for Little Mozarts), for ensembles-symphony orchestra, choir, opera production, jazz ensemble, string and flute ensembles. Students return with their children, or as teachers, or to serve on the Board of Directors, going full circle. The following timeline below is the history of OMS in a nutshell.


-- Founded by Nevilla E. Ottley, B.Mus., M.A., M.Mus. (1971, '72,'80) in Silver Spring, Maryland


-- Moved operations to Takoma Park, Md; began the Summer Fun! Music Camp in D.C. at Albright Memorial United Methodist Church;


-- Established branches in Hyattsville (at G. E. Peters Elementary School) and Newburg (at Adjahoe Estates), MD and in D.C. and diversified its offerings;


-- Moved to Adelphi, Maryland, added teachers and steel drum classes;


-- Became the National Guild of Piano Teacher's Adelphi Center, Ms. Ottley, Chairperson;


-- Added pre-school classes in Little Mozarts and Kindermusik;

-- Edgar E. Adjahoe became Administrator;

-- Four students selected by National Symphony Orchestra to perform in their Young Mozarts Festival at the Kennedy Center;


-- Was incorporated as a music school in Adelphi, Maryland


-- Moved all operations to University Town Center (UTC) in June, in temporary suite, and into OMS Suite in November.


-- Recognized as A-grade member of Better Business Bureau.

-- Jazz Band formed by Tom Newman and played for Christmas Holiday Celebrations on Prince George's Plaza stage.


-- May, became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization

-- Camille Lewis, Miss Maryland 2002, and 4th runner-up of the Miss America scholarship pageant visits OMS and plays violin with the OMS Orchestra in     concert.

-- OMS presents first of their annual concerts at the Publick Playhouse for the Performing Arts, Cheverly, MD


-- Began providing music for UTC ground breaking and ribbon cutting ceremonies for its new buildings, Garage A and Royale Theatre.

-- OMS Orchestra becomes University Park Symphony, performing in several sites including southern Maryland.

-- UPSO performed the Symphonie Concertante by Black composer, Chevalier de Saint Georges-Preston Hawes and Judelle Campbell, violins,


-- Began providing music for the Annual National Cancer Society Survivor's Day Celebration in D.C.

-- Received grant from the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammys) for orchestra

-- Began annual operas with Amahl and the Night Visitor,at the Publick Playhouse, starred 12-year-old Gabriela Sotomayor in the title role.

-- OMS reinstated the annual Kwame Awards, honoring Dr. Nathan Carter of MorganState University on June 17, 2004 at the Kay Theatre, Clarice Smith     Performing Arts Center during their 31st Annual Awards Concert

-- Re-established annual Summer Camps (3 two-week camps)

2005--Began participating in the Annual Rock Creek Festival at Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, Washington, DC

-- Began offering Dance classes--Began offering Drama and Dance in Voice camp

-- Steel Band students under Carol Wilson played for NBC Channel 4 "Kids for Camps" television program.


-- Sky One TV of London, recorded UPSOrchestra and Singers and the Ottley-Adjahoe family for a documentary broadcast May 2007.

-- Orchestra presented concert at St. Paul's Rock Creek Music Festival, Concerto Concert with Clarinet and Piano concerti by Mozart, and the Sinfonia         Concertante by Chevalier de Saint Georges.

-- OMS vocalists and instrumentalists present Rock Creek Luncheon Concerts, covered byWashington Post

-- Hosted the "Los Niños Dance Studio" from Marabella, Trinidad for the Voice, Dance and Drama Camp in scenes from Scott Joplin's Treemonisha

-- Performed for the opening of the University Town Center Towers, state-of-the-art dormitory apartments for 10+ colleges and universities in the area.     Government officials attending included Gov. Robert Ehrlich, former Gov. Parris Glendenning, Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson, and the       Mayor of Hyattsville, Bill Gardiner.

-- Received scholarship from F.A.M.E. for student assistance

-- Nevilla Ottley, Edgar Adjahoe, and Anwar Ottley toured Nairobi Kenya as part of the MetroSingers trip. Ms. Ottley gave workshops at the University of Kenya and at Central Nairobi SDA Church, Mr. Adjahoe and Mr. Ottley sang in the choir, and Mr. Ottley was assistant conductor, and assisted with the workshops.

-- University Park Symphony Orchestra is renamed Hyattsville Symphony.

-- Hyattsville Symphony and OMS Chorus listed as some of the ‘best voices' of Washington, and broadcast on "Christmas Sounds" program, singing Handel's "Hallelujah" over W*USA, Channel 9, Washington, D.C.


-- School and orchestra begins run-outs and tours, Destiny-Ruth Sterling (voice, piano, violin) and Jenine Faith Lycorish (singer) toured Germany,

-- Gabriela Sotomayor selected to represent the best in vocal music, performed in the "Capital Talents" concert presented by the Laurel Fund for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C.

-- Gabriela also won the audition to sing the role of Belle in the Prince George's County Summer Teen Theatre production of Beauty and the Beast at the Bowie Theater.

-- Gavrielle Sween (7 years old) enters the Little Princess pagaent in College Park, and goes to the Maryland State competition.

-- Ottley Music School with members of the Hyattsville Symphony took a Trinidad Tour June 2007 and performed at the University of the Southern Caribbean in Maracas, Saint Joseph, to an audience of over 400 patrons.

-- Kianna Kelly-Futch (5 years old) enters the National American Miss Pagaent and becomes 4th runner up in talent, singing.

-- OMS performs scenes from "Elijah" and "Messiah" with world-renowned guests, tenor George Shirley, pianist/organist Raymond Jackson, and the MetroSingers.

--OMS is video taped at OMS singers (25) by Channel 9, CBS Washington, DC.  They were singing the "Hallelujah" Chorus of Handel's "Messiah" with the school orchestra of students, teachers, and community musicians.  IT was aired on Christmas day on Andrea Roane's "Best Music if Washington" program of holiday music by local organizations.

-- OMS releases its first DVD, "Scenes from Elijah and Messiah" on December 17, 2007. Star singers are Gabriela Sotomayor, Aubrey Che Adams, Marvin Osouna, Gavrielle Sween, Destiny-Ruth Sterling, Cleavon Nathanael Davis, Alysia Mitchell and Jenine Faith Lycorish, Jasmine Murrell Brann (alumnus), and Nevilla E. Ottley, conductor and producer.


-- OMS was invited and performed Music of Black Composers at the Poconos for the Personal Ministries Federation of the New England District of the Northeastern Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists.

-- OMS and Hyattsville Symphony with Tropical Breeze (steel band of Paint Branch Elementary School that OMS trained) performed at the Bladensburg Waterfront

-- OMS singers, Kianna Kelly Futch (6), Alysia Mitchell (7), Cleavon Davis (10), Britanny Sheryll (12), Merissa Collins (12),  Julia Dennis (13), Anne Marghie Santos (13) and one adult, Keena Chew, with guest singer, 17-year-old Chris Urquiaga, and strings of the Hyattsville Symphony including a 13-year-old in first violinist Victor Baules, performed the solos of Handel's "Messiah"  at Metropolitan Seventh-day Adventist Church.

-- OMS voice student Kianna Kelly Futch (age 6) entered the national level of the National American Miss and won the trophy for her Modeling talent.  She was recognized for her dancing of Michael Jackson's "Beat It" on the State level. 

-- OMS singers, Keena Chew, Julia Dennis, Alysia Mitchell, Anne Marghie Santos perform at Ottley Music School for the Washington area Caribbean Chamber of Commerce's "Road Show".

-- OMS performs at the Publick Playhouse for the Caribbean Creative Circle Christmas Program.  Three singers, Gavrielle Andrews Sween, Alysia Dominique Mitchell and Anne Marghie Santos sang.

--CBS Washington re-broadcast the program on the best holiday music in Washington, which included OMS singers and orchestra in a performance of the "Hallelujah Chorus".




  • JANUARY OMS presented several professional concerts beginning with the legendary tenor George Shirley, and Friends concert in January, featuring soprano Detra Battle, former OMS teacher, tenor Reginald Boughknight of the Washington National Opera, bass Leonard Higgs, OMS teacher, with 8-year-old mezzo soprano, Alysia Mitchell, and OMS alumnus soprano Jasmine (Murrell) Brann, were joined by pianists alumnus Alma Castello, OMS teachers Ivey Perkins-Brockington, Naoko Maeda and Nevilla Ottley.  The concert was at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center's Gildenhorn Recital Hall, sponsored by F.A.M.E. and the MNCPPC.
  • FEBRUARY OMS presented a concert of music of America, Asia and the Caribbean, featuring students, teachers, alumni, and the Tropical Breeze Steel Orchestra of Paint Branch Elementary School, trained by Ottley Music School.  Special guests included the Amistad String Quartet led by Cleveland Chandler, as well as a women's piano quintet, led by alumnus, Nikki Anderson.  There were two commissioned works, one by Nikki Anderson and the other by teacher Naoko, pianist. The concert had a wonderful audience of over 600 patrons..
  • APRIL OMS piano teachers presented "Piano Masters" held at the First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville, Maryland.  Featured pianists were ANTON MARTINEZ,  NAOKO MAEDA,  IVEY PERKINS, CLIFTON BROCKINGTON, and DAVID GRIFFITHS, with guest vocalist MONIQUE STEELE GRIFFITHS.
  • OMS performed for the National Cancer Society's Survivor's Celebration in Washington, D.C.
  • OMS performed for Senator David Harrington's "Night in Annapolis" for his constituents
  • OMS launched 2 one-week camps, and 2 two-week institutes (for advanced instrumentalists, and for singers/dancers with drama), learning excerpts from Hall Johnson's "Green Pastures" and also from "The Wiz", both Broadway shows.
  • Two of OMS' singing students entered the National American Miss Maryland Pageant in the Junior Pre-Teen age group (7-9) and won in several categories, qualifying them to enter the National American Miss National Pageant in California in November.  They were Kianna Kelly-Futch and Queen Griffin.  Click here to see details of results.
2010-present  OMS continues to grow in learning and in serving the community.  Visit our facebook page, and for Alumni, please request to sign up OMS Alumni, Students and Friends page.

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