Third-generation music teacher Dominic Ricciardi will host an open house at the new Koss Music Center, 5374 Oberlin Ave., Lorain, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on July 21, 2021. Ricciardi, who plays numerous instruments and is director of school orchestra and certified intervention specialist, is recovering from the novel coronavirus pandemic, job loss and fire that destroyed his old studio in Sheffield Township. It has been long, long, long years for a third generation music teacher striving to provide the biggest lessons in the world.
Koss Music Center will have a grand reopening from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on July 24 in its new studio, 5374 avenue Oberlin in Lorain.
It’s the next step after more than three years of work by owner Dominic Ricciardi, 38, the grandson of founder Edward A. Kos, an army veteran who fought in WWII and then returned live in Sheffield Lake.
His eldest son, Greg Kos, ran the studio before Ricciardi, Greg Kos’ nephew, took over.
“It made me fall, get up,” Ricciardi said. “Lots of reversals.”
In 2020, Ricciardi and the rest of the world were facing the novel coronavirus pandemic.
It was to be the rebound year for the Koss Music Center, which suffered catastrophic loss when a fire broke out on February 24, 2018 at the former studio at 2483 North Ridge Road in Sheffield Township.
Ricciardi entered the building that night.
The flames were out, but the water was not, and he described watching a firefighter breaking through the floor and ceiling of his office to evacuate it.
“It all looked like a disgusting, murky swamp, a smelly, murky swamp, water pouring down from the ceiling, and it didn’t look like my studio,” Ricciardi said. “At that point, I knew, it was like, oh, my God, that’s it, I’m not coming back from this one.”
But he did.
Despite fire, smoke and water damage to the building, Ricciardi’s computer survived.
It was his warehouse of student data, band information, and digital music and artwork files.
Another survivor: Ricciardi’s Gibson ES 175 from 1970, a personal favorite.
“I really like this guitar,” he said.
Ricciardi said the firefighters felt bad for him and used as many instruments as they could.
He thanked the Sheffield Township Fire Department, other response services, and its owners and neighbors who helped.
“All this inventory, but most important, probably, was all the work that I did for so many years, and my grandfather and uncle did, that I did, to have so much ‘students and have an active clientele,’ says Ricciardi. “And then you have nowhere to teach all these students – you’re away, and for who knows how long.”
Ricciardi worked as a conductor and physical education instructor for St. Anthony School in Lorain.
Parish and school staff helped, but their musical work was phased out.
Eventually he found the studio next to Dr. Mark Marshall, Lorain’s dentist who had a grandchild who was studying with Ricciardi.
Then, in March 2020, COVID-19 exploded in Ohio and across the country.
Ricciardi adapted with a few online lessons.
But he couldn’t qualify for small business grants, loans, or unemployment because those programs relied on tax records from the previous year and the studio was not making money to recover from the blaze.
Setbacks never broke Ricciardi’s mind.
His formal training is in jazz guitar and he teaches guitar, drums, bass and piano, as well as marching band and orchestral strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion.
“I think my specialty now is helping students have fun with music,” Ricciardi said. “It’s not just a specific instrument anymore, although I obviously do.
“But, I think he grew a lot more than that, because my work is no longer just this physical instrument, but inspiration. I like to have them hear all these different instruments and all these different bands and things. And work together.
“There’s still that community thing. Work with other musicians.