I hope everyone had a wonderful relaxing summer! This year proves to be more exciting than last as we continue to move forward as an organization and also work hard for all of the music students in Westmoreland County. Although you may not get recognition from your administrators or core teachers in your building, your work is vital to our young people. Many of the kids come to school because of your music class. We know that we cover character education, STEM, 21st century skills and all other district programs through teaching music. So thank you for what you do, the passion which you approach your profession and your dedication to young people.
WCMEA will be offering three scholarships again this year. One chorus and one band scholarship will be presented at those festivals in November/December. This is open to any student who is planning on majoring in music education. They will not receive the funds until their sophomore year in college after sending a transcript to our treasurer. We are also offering a scholarship to a current music education major to help defray their costs. This is open to any Westmoreland county resident studying music education (they can be attending ANY music education program, it does not have to be within the county). The application and information are on our web site. Please pass this along to former students that you know are in college currently.
Staffing changes in the county
Listed below are the staffing changes in the Westmoreland county schools. For new members to the district, I included their biography so we can all get to know each other better.
Burrell School District
Mike Pagnotta – HS Band
Francine Corsi – HS Chorus
Hempfield Area School District
Daniel Lindey – Wendover Middle School Band, General Music)
Natalie Williams – Hempfield HS chorus, elementary band
Scott Shutterworth – West Point Elementary
Brandie Falk – West Hempfield Elementary
Brandie Falk holds a BS in Music Education from Youngstown State University. As a college student she worked with the Mars Area and Kiski Area marching bands. Brandie taught 6 years of general elementary music in the New Kensington-Arnold School district. This year she is excited to teach at West Hempfield Elementary school in the Hempfield Area School District. She will be teaching general music K-5 as well as 4th and 5th grade band and choir.
Jeannette City School District
Chris Donato – Elementary Band and General Music
Mr. Donato began his clarinet study in 4th grade at Hartwood Elementary and participated in the band program in the Fox Chapel Area School District until graduating in 2004. Mr. Donato graduated from Duquesne University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education. Prior to his appointment in Jeannette City School District, Mr. Donato taught elementary and middle school general music and instrumental band at the Young Scholars of Western Pennsylvania Charter School in Baldwin, PA. He maintains a private clarinet/saxophone studio and is currently working on a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction degree at Gannon University.
New Kensington/Arnold School District
Please note the following changes for The New Kensington-Arnold School District. We have consolidated from 6 to 4 schools. The new schools are:
MARTIN ELEMENTARY – PRE K AND KINDERGARTEN
HD BERKEY ELEMENARY – GRADES 1 AND 2
ROY A HUNT ELEMENATARY – GRADES 3 – 6 (Sean O’Neil is the new hire for elementary)
VALLEY JR/SR HIGH SCHOOL – GRADES 7 – 12 – Melissa Mazur will teach choir 9-12, Nick Smith will teach 7th grade choir plus band and Greg Sturgill will teach 8th grade choir and band.
Penn Trafford School District
Andrea Frescura – Elementary General/Vocal/Instrumental
Jackie Hammill – HS Chorus
Yough School District
Julia Aughenbaugh – MS Band (NEW POSITION)
Seton Hill University
Dr. Timothy Ellison
Timothy L. Ellison is a Visiting Assistant Professor and Director of Instrumental Activities in the Division of Visual and Performing Arts at Seton Hill University. At Seton Hill, Mr. Ellison teaches courses in music theory, conducting, marching band techniques, and oversees the university’s instrumental activities. He also serves as Music Director and Conductor of the Westmoreland Symphonic Winds, the Three Rivers Youth Wind Ensemble, and the Youth Honors Concert Band. Additionally, Mr. Ellison is a doctoral candidate in Instrumental Conducting at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, where he studied with John R. Locke and Kevin M. Geraldi. The focus of Mr. Ellison’s research is centered on composer Joel Puckett’s Short Stories: A Concerto for String Quartet and Wind Ensemble, which was commissioned and premiered by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Wind Ensemble for the 2013 National Convention of College Band Directors National Association. While at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Mr. Ellison conducted the University Band and appeared frequently as a guest conductor with the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Casella Sinfonietta. Mr. Ellison holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and a Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting degree from Georgia State University. While at Georgia State University, Mr. Ellison studied with Robert J. Ambrose and was a frequent guest conductor with the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Wind Orchestra, and co-conductor of the University Band. As an educator, Mr. Ellison has over ten years of teaching experience at the secondary and collegiate levels. He has taught undergraduate courses in conducting, and marching band techniques, and supervised student teachers. As a public school educator, his bands were privileged to perform for such dignitaries as the Governor of Georgia and the State Superintendent of Schools. In 2005, his high school band was invited to the United States Scholastic Band Association (USSBA) Inaugural Marching Band Championship in Baltimore. Mr. Ellison is an active clinician and adjudicator, working with student musicians across the United States. In addition, Mr. Ellison served on staff at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Summer Music Camp, which enrolls nearly 1,800 music students each year. Mr. Ellison is an active member of the National Association for Music Education, the National Band Association, the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, College Band Directors National Association, the College Music Society, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.