Spring Newsletter

PMEA District 12 - June 2015

President's Message

Welcome summer! I hope you had a rewarding school year and your last days of the year have been smooth. If you are like me, looking forward to the change of pace that the summer brings is exciting. Whether you are embarking on a well-deserved vacation, taking classes, or just spending time at home with your family, the summer months are a great opportunity to recharge your batteries!


The past two years as District 12 President have flown by! I have enjoyed meeting and working with my PMEA colleagues in District 12 as well as throughout Pennsylvania. I have heard amazing concerts at Fests, as well as District, Region, and State Festivals,and that is due not only as a result of talented students, but also the work you have put in to develop their musical skills. The dedication to your profession and what you give your students each and every day of the school year will benefit them for the rest of their lives.


I would also like to thank all of my PMEA colleagues throughout District 12 for all of your advice, support, and friendship. I could not have done this job without all of your help. I feel District 12 is stronger than ever before. Our District 12 Board leadership is in excellent hands as we welcome our incoming President, Craig Snyder, and Vice President, Erin Kauppila. Here is the make-up of our District 12 Board for 2015-2016:


President - Craig Snyder, Penncrest High School

Vice President - Erin Kauppila, Oxford Area High School

Past President - Henry Pearlberg, Strath Haven Middle School

Secretary/Treasurer - Kevin Cooper, Springfield School District

Elementary PD Chair/State PD Rep - Danielle Cullen, East Ward Elementary School

Middle School PD Chair - Theresa Duccassoux, St. Joseph School

High School PD Chair Michael Shoremount - West Chester Rustin High School

Higher Ed PD Chair - Greg Martin, West Chester University

PCMEA Rep - Joshua Oldham, West Chester University

Festival Coordinator - Kathleen Boyer, E. T. Richardson Middle School

Fest Coordinator - Theresa O’Brien, Ridley School District

Webmaster/Audition Chair - Ryan Fegley, Chadds Ford-Unionville School District

Advocacy Chair - Scott Cullen, Octorara Area Senior-Junior High School

Advocacy-Philadelphia - William Wenglicki, Northeast High School

Liaison to Archdiocese of Philadelphia - Sister Lauretta Linsalata,

Archbishop Ryan High School

Adjudication Chair - John Villella, West Chester University


I encourage you to be involved and take on leadership roles outside of your classroom, whether it is in your school district, community, or professional organization. Your expertise and dedication is what will further music education for the benefit of our students. I would not trade any of the experiences I have had over the past four years; I know that it has made me a better teacher.

Festival and Audition Survey Results

Thanks to all of our members who recently took part in our District 12 Survey. The following is a summary of the results of our survey.


In response to the topic of commuter festivals, the membership responded as follows:


70.97% believe we should give the hosts the option of running a commuter festival.

22.58% believe we should keep the current model of overnight festivals.

6.45% believe we should make all festivals commuter festivals.


A number of insightful suggestions were offered in the comments box, and the D12 board has decided to follow one of the recurring ones. Next year, we will experiment with one commuter festival in order to analyze its results and effects. This will be the District Orchestra Festival to be held at Springfield High School. This one was chosen due to its more centralized location.


In response to the topic of etudes in instrumental auditions, the membership responded as follows:


36.36% believe the solo repertoire model should remain with modifications

22.73% believe we should switch to an etude model

13.64% believe the current solo repertoire should remain the same

13.64% would be willing to serve on a committee to make changes and modifications

13.64% have different ideas for how instrumental auditions should be run.


As a result of this survey, the D12 board, under the leadership of our festival chair, is going to form subcommittees to look at our various solos and etudes used for instrumental auditions, and make modifications where deemed appropriate. If you would like to serve on a subcommittee, please contact our festival chair, Kathleen Boyer, at festchair@pmea.net. NOTE: these changes will not affect the Fall 2015 auditions. They will be put in place for 2016.

Choral Music Performance Assessment

On Tuesday, April 14, six choruses from various schools participated in the PMEA Choral Music Performance Assessment at Immaculata University. Participating choruses included:


Phoenixville Area High School Concert Choir

Franklin Regional Senior High School Advanced Choir from Pittsburgh

Archbishop Ryan High School Concert Choir

Phoenixville Area High School Advanced Women’s Chorus

Nazareth Academy High School Women’s Chorale

Phoenixville Area High School Vocal Ensemble


Katie Chmelko, assisted by Sister Lauretta Linsalata, hosted the event. Sister Kathleen Doutt, Professor of Music at Immaculata, was instrumental in making sure everything was in order for the event at Immaculata, organizing custodial needs and the Immaculata music students.


Dr. Regina Gordon of Immaculata University, Dr. Ryan Kelly of West Chester University and Dr. Jeffrey Gemmaill of Millersville University adjudicated the choruses.

Choruses received written comments from the judges, a recorded commentary from each judge as the choir performed and a 10 minute personal instructional session from one of the judges. These sessions included lessons on diction, interpretation, blend and rhythmic passages. The evaluation each chorus received was invaluable and a reinforcement of the necessity of continuing the MPAs.

Instrumental Music Performance Assessment

For the first year, District 12 hosted an Instrumental as well as a Choral Music Performance Assessment. John Villella of West Chester University collaborated with Radnor's Dan Drew to host the Instrumental MPA at Radnor High School. Eight instrumental ensembles participated.

We plan to continue these opportunities next year. Keep posted for updates.

Teacher Grant Report: Marissa Majcher, John H. Webster Elementary School

Thanks to the PMEA District 12 Teacher Grant, John H. Webster Elementary School received a $500 grant for the music program. I purchased 3 large black trash cans, 4 small metal cans, 4 orange Home Depot buckets, and Rubbermaid tracks to hang our guitars. Last year, I started a bucket drumming ensemble at Webster using the orange Home Depot buckets. This year, I was able to grow the ensemble, not only in size, but also timbre. The students love being able to play on the different types of buckets. Attendance is a major problem in inner city schools, and the bucket drumming ensemble has helped to increase attendance in 4th and 5th grades. Through the organization, Little Kids Rock, I was able to get 25 acoustic guitars, however, I had nowhere to put them. Now, thanks to PMEA District 12, they are hanging on my walls and are no longer on the floor. This has helped with the organization of my classroom and my students say it makes the room look “cool”.
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Teacher Grant Report: Erick Wunder, Garnet Valley Middle School

I’d like to thank PMEA District 12 for awarding Garnet Valley Middle School a $500 grant to purchase an electric upright bass. My primary intent was to use this novel instrument to recruit more bass players for my Middle School orchestra. Just this year, I was able to successfully transition two Middle School students—with no prior orchestral experience—from bass guitar to upright bass. It was a fairly seamless transition because the sound of a bass guitar and an electric upright is essentially the same, so the focus was more on posture, finger placement, and pizzicato technique. Both students can now play the string bass and use a bow! Another useful application for this instrument was providing more “sound presence” to my current bass players during rehearsals. Often times the bass part gets lost in the mix, but when we turned up the volume a little, the rest of the orchestra could hear what was happening down in the basement. My bass players took turns using the instrument during rehearsals. We have since utilized this instrument in our jazz ensembles and general music classes too. I would recommend that all orchestra teachers look into acquiring an electric upright to enhance your rehearsals and recruit more bassists!

It's All About that (Electric Upright) Bass!

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Teacher Grant Report: Terry Rowlyk, Ridley School District

The saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Ian Hendrickson-Smith from the TONIGHT SHOW starring Jimmy Fallon was the featured artist in this year’s “Festival of the Arts” on Wednesday, May 27th in the Ridley High School auditorium. This event was presented by the Ridley School District’s Music Department in conjunction with the Ridley Education Foundation, and District 12 of the Pennsylvania Music Educator’s Association. The student jazz bands from the Ridley Elementary Schools, Ridley Middle School, and Ridley High School received clinics throughout the day with Hendrickson-Smith, culminating in a performance with the acclaimed saxophonist that evening.


Ian Hendrickson-Smith is a graduate of State College High School in State College, PA. He has been and continues to be one of the most sought after musicians in New York City. Mostly noted for his remarkable tone, soulful approach and blues-driven melodies, he has reached audiences world-wide through numerous recordings and live appearances. Born in New Orleans, Hendrickson-Smith began his professional music career in 1996, after four years of studies at the Manhattan School of Music. He began playing with the Roots on the TONIGHT SHOW starring Jimmy Fallon since February 2014. Hendrickson-Smith’s extensive recording experience includes the release of nine titles as a leader. His most recent, TONIGHT IS NOW follows up 2012’s chart-topping ballads recording, THE SOUL OF MY ALTO.


Hendrickson-Smith has worked and/or recorded with Dr Lonnie Smith, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Amy Winehouse, Al Green, Rufus Wainright, The Roots, Bob Dylan, Phish, Mofro, Robbie Williams, Boyz 2 Men, St Vincent, The Heavy, Michael Buble, The Charles Mingus Big Band Workshop, Ray Appleton, Phillip Harper, Etta Jones, David Hazeltine, Danny Moore, The J.B.’s (Fred Wesley and Pee Wee Ellis), Adam Scone, Lee Fields, Mark Ronson, David Sanborn, The Hotpants, The Macktet, The Uptown Quintet, The Night Crawlers, and more.


Overall, the experience with Ian was one that was incredible for the teachers and the students. Thank you, PMEA District 12, for the grant which helped make this event possible.

Ian Hendrickson-Smith with Ridley Middle School Jazz Band

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Hendrickson-Smith with Ridley Music Staff

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Teacher Grant Awards for 2015-16

Congratulations to our Teacher Grant Award recipients for next school year! Each teacher will receive $375.00 to use for their music program in projects described in their grant applications.


Tina D’Meglio – Ridley High School

Joanne Cardine – St/ Joseph’s School, Dowingtown

Courtney Noah - Northwood Academy Charter School, Philadelphia

Sherre Gartner – Springton Lake Middle School

Scholarship Announcement

Every year, PMEA awards three scholarships to high school seniors who will be majoring in Music Education at an accredited college or university.

The PMEA Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2015 PMEA District 12 Music Education Scholarships:

Stephen M. Yee is the student of Mr. Craig Snyder at Penncrest High School. He will attend Rutgers University as a music education major, and received the Richard Merrell Band Music Scholarship .

Lauren Longhi is the student of Ms. Nicole Moyer at Sun Valley High School. She will attend West Chester University as a music education major, and received the Carmen Culp Choral Music Scholarship.

There were no eligible applications for the Richard Miller Orchestra Scholarship this year.

Congratulations to all of the winners, and best of luck to all that applied as they pursue a degree in Music Education.

Special Thanks to 2015 Fest and Festival Hosts

Thank you for providing these Fest and Festival opportunities to our students. You have made our students lives richer with these invaluable experiences.


Fest Hosts: Bill Bonnell, Joe Lynch, Scott Walter, Jessica Williams, Young Leahy, Yvette Stratton, Bill Ricketts, Kathleen Boyer, Joe Brennan, Kevin Cooper, Kadie Bond, Paula Eichmann


Festival Hosts: Brent Lewis, Marsha Bowe, Hannah Knauss , Matthew Ceresini, Erin Kauppila, Christopher Vogel, Michael Shoremount.

District 12 Professional In-service Day: November 3, 2015

Mark your calendars for our D12 Fall In-Service Day. At the time of this publication, we are still confirming our venue for this event. If you are interested in serving on the Planning Committee, please contact Danielle Cullen @ dcullen@dasd.org or Theresa Duccassoux @ pianotheresa@gmail.com to sign up. Our first planning meeting will be on July 23, 2015.

PMEA Summer Conference: July 14-15, 2015

For only $50.00, which includes registration and meal, the PMEA Summer Conference held at the Red Lion Harrisburg East, is a great value to attend music education sessions and clinics. District 12 will sponsor the registration costs of the 1st ten District 12 members who want to attend. First come basis. Please notify Henry Pearlberg if you are attending by Monday, July 6, 2015.

District 12 High School Choral and Instrumental Auditions

Auditions will be held November 21, 2015 at West Chester Rustin High School with Michael Shoremount serving as host. The snow date is December 12, 2015. Directors of participating schools are reminded to reserve the entire day (8 am - 5 pm) to assist with audition duties. Check the District 12 website for Audition Policies, Solo List and Scale/Sightreading Requirements. The link is www.pmea12.org.

PMEA and District 12 Calendar for 2015-16

July 14 & 15, 2015: PMEA Summer Conference @ Red Lion Harrisburg East

October 25–28, 2015: NAfME Conference, Nashville, TN

November 3, 2015: District 12 Professional In-Service Location TBA

November 21, 2015: District 12 Choral and Instrumental Auditions @ West Chester Rustin High School (snowdate: December 12, 2016)

January 14–16, 2016: District 12 Orchestra @ Springfield High School

January 25, 2016: DELCO 5/6 Band Fest @ Strath Haven Middle School (snowdate: 1/26)

January 28–30, 2016: District 12 Band @ Phoenixville High School

February 4-6, 2016: District 12 Chorus @ Unionville High School

February 23, 2016: District 12 5/6 String Fest @ Westtown School

February 25–27, 2016: Region VI Orchestra @ Council Rock North High School

March 10–12, 2016: Region VI Band @ Garnet Valley High School (Sun Valley – Host)

March 17–19, 2016: Region VI Chorus @ Upper Dublin/Germantown Academy

March 18, 2016: District 12 Elementary Chorus Fest @ Penn’s Grove Middle School

(snowdate – March 21)

March 30–April 2, 2016: PMEA State Conference - Hershey, PA

CHESCO 5/6 Band Fest: Hosts Joe Gehring and Theresa Duccassoux - Venue/Date TBA

Still Need Hosts For:

7/8 Chorus Fest

7/8 String Fest