PMEA District 12

Winter Newsletter

2014 Combined Instrumental/Choral Audition Date - Important!!!

Mark Your Calendars:
Next year, District 12 will have combined HIgh School Choral/Instrumental Auditions on Saturday, November 22, 2014 @ West Chester Rustin High School. (Inclement weather make-up date: Saturday, December 6, 2014). Audition solos will be posted by May 15, 2014.

PMEA District 12 Grant Opportunity

District 12 will be offering grants to interested PMEA District 12 members who are in need of funding to support a music classroom project or materials for your classroom. The application and details for the Grant can be found on the PMEA District 12 website. Applications are due by midnight, April 1, 2014 and they will be awarded by June 20, 2014 in time for next school year.

PMEA District 12 High School Festival Rotation 2015 - 2022

After much work and working out details, the PMEA District 12 High School Festival Rotation is set for the next for the next eight years which will take it through the year 2022. The rotation will be uploaded onto the District 12 Website. Thank you all of the high school directors will be hosting festivals.

New Professional Development Program for Vocal and Instrumental Music Educators from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

From July 7-12, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is sponsoring a Music Educators Academy. The BSO Academy, in collaboration with UMBC, is open to instrumentalists and vocalists. Earn 3 graduate credits, and play and sing with the BSO, under the direction of Case Scaglione, the assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic. Scholarships are available, and if you apply before February 10th you won’t have to pay the application fee! For questions about the BSO Academy Programs, please contact Patrick Locklin (Education Program Manager) at You can also reach him at 410-783-8051.

Workshop Opportunity

Composer, arranger, and conductor Alice Parker will lead participants in a workshop on folk music interpretation and style.

March 8, 2014

9am- 12pm; 1:30pm-3:30pm

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Lancaster PA

Please visit for more information on registration and directions for this event.

Presented by the Kodaly Educators of Eastern Pennsylvania

PMEA Advocacy Day – March 26, 2014, 1:00 pm

Come join your fellow PMEA members in the Pennsylvania Capitol Building Rotunda and let our state legislators know how important music is to our students.

Details on this event will be posted on the PMEA Website.

Advocacy Highlights from the State Advocacy Meeting (Harrisburg 1/18/14)

Christopher Woodside, The Assistant Executive Director for The National Association for Music Education was a guest speaker at the State Advocacy meeting in Harrisburg on Saturday, January 18, 2014. The following is a transcription of his comments regarding music advocacy:

“There is a nationwide interest in advocacy, but the arguments that teachers [and advocates] have been making have been reflective of the policy environment in which they have been functioning. With school principals, districts and school boards obsessed with [topics] such as adequate yearly progress (AYP) and waiver requirements in order to maintain federal funding & statewide funding, we [music advocates] have been trying desperately to get music as a square peg to fit into a round hole.

The arguments we have always made (in favor of music education) have fit into categories like: academic achievement for the benefit of other subjects (e.g. math & reading), brain development arguments and research-based arguments about processing sound, staying focused and improving cognition, and “gap filling” arguments that have been made for music education (e.g. kids seem to perk up when they are lagging behind if they have access to music education), the benefit to students of lower socioeconomic status and the engagement benefits of music are all solid studies that are reflective of the benefits of music education and can all be highlighted and drawn upon as you need them (e.g. when you have an interested principal, when talking to someone in Harrisburg, a member of Congress that may be won over by those arguments) but in order to survive as we move forward we have to stop focusing our argument on “inside the bubble” standardized testing reform movement arguments that have been made in many cases by leaders, business executives, people with an axe to grind or a dollar to be made that are not in the best interest of music educators. Those arguments, unfortunately, more often than not are the kind of arguments that are being made when people are focused on crisis management advocacy, rather than getting back to music for music’s sake - getting back to why we all went into music education in the first place and the intrinsic “specialness” of music and what it delivers to kids.

What we felt was important to do moving forward is focus on an argument that is first and foremost about “going beyond the bubbles,” a broader-minded philosophy for music education that is about music for music’s sake that includes the inherent benefits that are about [exclusive to] music education only. There is something special about music education that doesn’t happen in other disciplines [e.g. Sports or even other art forms]. Music can stand on its own in the realm of emotional awareness, reflective learning, process orientation, decision-making, grit, and multiple ways of knowing. These are the “beyond the bubbles” arguments for music education and when you couple them with 21st century skills of creativity, collaboration, confidence and critical thinking you have a music education argument for music’s sake. We are re-teaching music educators to focus first and foremost on the value proposition that music has on its own because when times are good and times are bad we have to be able to say music is still important. We don’t want our argument to be only reflective of national policy trends or what a principal thinks is most important because funding dollars are attached to it or because they have to pass a test in that particular month and they have to assign “X” amount of hours and reduce your seat time by “Y.” We must have an argument that is passionate, forward-thinking, proactive, happy and upbeat about why music deserves to remain in a sequential standard-based format during the curricular school day.”

District 12 @ PMEA Spring In-Service Conference. Hershey, March 27 – 29, 2014

Congratulations to District 12 members and their performing groups who will be performing at the Conference in Hershey. Both ensembles will be performing on Friday of the Conference. The Strath Haven High School Silvertones is directed by John Shankweiler and the West Chester University Criterions is directed by Marc Jacoby.

Citation of Excellence Recipient

We are pleased to announce that Susan Descano, from the Springfield School District in Delaware County, is the District 12 Citation of Excellence honoree for 2014. Sue is currently the high school choir director at Springfield High School. She also teaches a Broadway musical class and walks the two blocks each day to teach kindergarten and 1st grade music classes at the Springfield Literacy Center (the district’s K-1 building). In addition, she is the vocal music director for the high school musical each year. Sue also sings with a 50's do-wop group called Mid-Life Crisis (in her spare time !!!!!!!). A lasting legacy has been left in the hearts and minds of the many students who have created beautiful music under Sue's direction.

District 12 Members will be presenting sessions at the Spring Conference in Hershey

“A World of Games”

Bryan Burton and Ann McFarland, West Chester University

“Rhythmic Development Through Drumming and Dance”

Anthony DeQuattro, Villanova University

“Research Poster Session” and "Hear Today, Jam Tomorrow"

Alison Reynolds, Temple University

“Essential Drumset for Instrumental and Choral Directors” and “The Voices in your Head: Screening your Thoughts to Improve your Teaching”

Nathan Buonviri, Temple University

“Rehearsal Strategies: Energy, Emotion, and Efficiency leads to an Engaging Process”

Emily Threinen, Temple University

“Teaching Students With Special Needs: “Adaptations for Guitar, Ukelele, and Recorder" and "Incorporating Assistive Technology"

Angela Guerriero, West Chester University and Jodi Jianniney, Valley Forge Educational Services at The Vanguard School

“Overcoming Auto-Pilot: Effective Warm Up Strategies”

Amelia Garbisch, Temple University

“All Aboard the Jazz Express! Jazz for Early Childhood”

Pamela Turowski, Temple Universty

“De Colores: Culturally Responsive Ensembles”

Heather Waters, Temple University

“General Music and Children Living In Poverty”

Elizabeth Ann McAnally, School District of Philadelphia

“Curriculum/Instructional Strategies Assessment”

Deborah Confredo, Temple University

“Soundboard 101” and “Free On-Line Resources for Music Educators”

Floyd Richmond, Valley Forge Christian College

“Curriculum/Instructional Strategies/Assessment”

Pamela Turowski, Temple University


Sister Kathleen Doutt, Immaculata University

PMEA All-State Chaperones Needed

District 12 needs one more chaperone to help host the students who are participating in All-State. If you chaperone, PMEA pays for your housing, meals with students, registration, and attendance to concerts. If you are interested, please contact Henry Pearlberg at president@

Festivals and Fests are in Full Swing

The hosts of our events have been busy scheduling snow dates and have had to get creative and proactive in running the festivals, and it’s only the beginning of February!!!!! We should have seen it coming when the instrumental auditions had to be rescheduled. So, directors, please bear with us and stay connected via e-mail or cell phone when contingency plans are being made and try to “go with it”. The fests and festivals that have taken place so far have been awesome and hopefully, the ones yet to come will come off without a glitch.

Other issues that have been discussed at the state level are Act 48 credits and having a nurse at our fests and festivals. At the Events Council meeting in April, the nurse issue will be discussed and then a recommendation will be made to the state board when they have their meeting this summer. The item for discussion is whether a certified nurse has to be on duty 24/7 during fests and festivals. We realize the expense that this could incur but there are also many liabilities that have to be considered with the handling of student medications and the safety of the students.

As far as Act 48 credits, PMEA was recently given re-accreditation as an Act 48 provider but the guidelines for being able to offer the credits have become more stringent. Strict components were established and sessions that were offered last year such as conductor observation, music reading sessions, sharing session and directors’ meetings will not be eligible to earn Act 48 credits. District 12 is very disappointed with the state’s new guidelines since our fests and festivals have offered many beneficial sessions in the past and the participating directors were able to obtain the Act 48 credits.

Pennsylvania Music Advocacy Issues (as identified at the State Advocacy Meeting in Harrisburg on 1/18/14)

School District Profiles


Focus on Issues We Can Influence

Retiring Faculty

Communication (Motivation for Engagement)

Alternative Revenue Streams

Collegiate Engagement

Hiring Practice (Educate Those Who Do the Hiring)

Integration/Certified Teaching

Understanding of Goals and Strategy

Fall Inservice Day a Success!

On November 5, 2013, District 12 once again hosted a successful fall inservice day for its members! District 12 would like to extend a big thank-you to Dr. Floyd Richmond and Valley Forge Christian College for allowing us to use their facility for the day. Over 200 members attended the fall inservice, as well as over 30 clinicians! There were sessions offered for instrumental, choral and general music, as well as sessions on technology, students with special needs, and more. If you haven’t attended a fall inservice day, I strongly urge you to consider attending next year. If you have a topic that you would like to present during the fall inservice, please contact one of the professional development chairs for District 12.

District 12 Scholarship Applications

PMEA District 12 will award three scholarships to high schools seniors who will be majoring in music education at an accredited college or university. There will be one scholarship for choral, one for band, and one for orchestra (awarded to a string player). The amount of each scholarship will be $500.

Applicants must have participated in a PMEA District 12 Band, Orchestra, or Chorus Festival and show acceptance as a music education major at an accredited college or university. The application requirements and list of materials can be found at by clicking on the scholarship tab. All materials must be sent to Erin Kauppila, high school professional development representative, by Monday April 7th.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email Erin at