When Maggie Carchrie voyaged to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, she hardly expected to discover a passion that would win her the U.S. Mòd Women's Championship in Gaelic Singing two years later. She was immediately enchanted by the traditional music of the region, planning her future travels around the areas of Cape Breton and Scotland and diving headfirst into the Celtic culture. With a college degree in music therapy and a resume that boasts subsequent studies at the Ceòlas Music School, she built a foundation for a life filled with award-winning Celtic performance and education. She lays claim to two albums, books several East Coast showcases throughout the year, and furthers the reach of Celtic stylings through the concerts and CDs of Mermaid Productions. Maggie draws from all of these experiences to act as director of the Callanish School of Celtic Arts. There, she instructs students of all ages in music, dance, and lyrical language, managing a non-competitive venue for guests to experiment with age-old harmonies and master a brogue without having to install a second tongue. From the high-stepping choreography of Scottish Highland Dance to the signature keening of the bagpipe, she outlines several levels of melodic techniques, all of which are steeped in rich history.
The certified trainers of ML Fitness help guests reach their fitness goals through personal training, Zumba classes, and other group fitness classes. The personal-training sessions pair clients up with a professional who customizes the workouts to most efficiently build strength. The Zumba classes set high-energy cardio dance moves to upbeat music, and circuit training and boot-camp classes combine the intensity of personal training with the camaraderie of a small group.
At Summit Studios, aspiring singers and musicians can learn to play a variety of instruments and sing under the tutelage of experienced instructors. During the private, 30-minute lesson, students can saturate their brains and portable chalkboards with the theory behind guitar, piano, saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, or drums. Meanwhile, in the voice lessons, expert warblers can train croaky cords to emanate mellifluous vibrations through a focus on breath support, intonation, and sight-reading.
Visitors never have to wait in line to workout at Cardio Express—each of the six clubs boasts a ton of Cybex strength-training machinery, an arsenal of free weights, and more than 80 pieces of cardio equipment affixed with personal 15-inch television screens. Compassionate instructors imbue gym visits with a human element as well, leading classes such as Core Fusion, Total Tone circuit training, and spinning sessions at the Southington, Vernon, and Manchester locations. Each year, the staff members carry the same motivational energy they use in their studios to recruit members and friends for the Multiple Sclerosis Bike Tour. Cardio Express has raised a grand total of nearly $400,000, and it also acts as title sponsor for the 2012 benefit.
Women needn’t feel intimidated by anything—especially exercise, according to Kelly Kohler, the 17-year fitness instruction veteran who helms Totally Kickin’ Fitness. At this female-focused studio, ladies work out in small groups as a seasoned instructor demonstrates moves and doles out tips and encouragement. Students of all fitness levels are welcome, from brand-new exercisers to those who can outrun a cheetah while carrying a bag of rocks.
Classes range from kickboxing routines filled with punches and kicks to total-body workouts teeming with resistance bands and bodyweight exercises. To help women build confidence as they burn calories, Kelly leads sensual dance classes that pair sexy struts and pole-based maneuvers with elements of yoga, Pilates, and low-impact aerobics. These moves can also be taught in private or during fitness-themed parties complete with decorations, invitations, and a gift for the guest of honor.
The studio’s one-on-one programs revolve around custom workouts with a fitness trainer. Those trying to shed pounds in a healthy way can enroll in a custom weight-loss program filled with nutritional supplements, education, and more support than a corset made of get-well cards.
For a decade, Anne and Matthew Falkowski have been transforming rookie stretchers into professional yogis. The lessons at Samadhi Yoga Studio usher guests, regardless of age, flexibility, or experience, into a community whose leaders emphasize the growth of bodily awareness. The 40 yoga classes per week encompass Beginners, Moderate, and Vigorous sessions, which gradually widen students' understanding of postures and breath work. Rather than spending hundreds of hours searching for inner peace in the national phone book, those yearning for further enlightenment can attend a 200- or 500-hour teacher-training program. The nationally certified curriculum has passed more than 150 graduates, steadily expanding the reach of its art to Manchester and beyond.
Though yoga is the main focus, Samadhi Yoga Studio rounds out its class roster with other dynamic offerings. Festive Zumba workouts showcase heart-healthy twirls, and specialized workshops combine yoga with other disciplines, such as dance and running.