Online membership registration now available!

In 2013, approximately 40% of WCMEA’s membership forms were accompanied by a personal check instead of a school district check.  Because of this, we decided to give members the option to complete their registration online using credit/debit cards or their bank account.  Members can register at any time and they will not be required to send in a separate form.  Please email Jaime West if you have any issues accessing the system or paying using the PayPal site, or if you have any suggestions on how to improve the system.

Click here to access the new online membership system

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Couldn’t make the dinner meeting? Here’s what you missed!

This Year’s Festivals

  •  We will be sponsoring six festivals during the course of this school year. A big thank you goes out to all our host directors, without you we would not have a festival. You can download student and director applications on our web site or wait for the contact e-mail from your host. The festivals and hosts are as follows:

    Senior High Chorus: Nov. 14-15th at Derry Area HS, host Melody Vigo, guest conductor- Daniel Shaw.

    Senior High Band: Dec. 5-6th at Franklin Regional HS, host Kevin Pollock, guest conductor Scott Koter

    Junior High Chorus: March 14th at Franklin Regional HS, hosts Denise McMullan and Lauren Bloomer, guest conductor- Kelly Newstead.

    Junior High Band: March 21-22nd at Mt. Pleasant HS, hosts Fred Collins and Erin Blystone, guest conductor-Reed Chamberlin

    6th Grade Chorus: April 4th at Southmoreland HS, host Meghan Whytsell, guest conductor-Tom Octave

    5th and 6th Grade Band: May 2nd at Jeannette HS, guest conductor-Annette Russell

    Please respect all deadlines for applications, registration fees, medical forms and any other important paperwork. Nothing is more frustrating for a host then bugging colleagues for paperwork. Please offer your help and especially a big “thank you” when the festival is over. We all have lots of demands on our shoulders and these folks have stepped up to do this for our kids on top of their normal duties!

25 Year Award Winners

  •  Congratulations to Carla DellaPenna (Jeannette SD), Karl Priore (Kiski SD) and Steve Tribble (Greensburg SD) for your 25 years of service! On behalf of WCMEA we all thank you and wish you the best school year yet!


  • Our billboard “Music is Medicine for the Mind” is still located on Route 22. A new company bought out the billboard group that helped us so much and as of right now, our deal is the same.

Scholarship Recipients 2012-13

  • Our scholarship winners last year were for chorus Rachel Read (Penn Trafford) and for band Taylor Gephart (Southmoreland).

Unspent Scholarship Monies

  • After taking suggestions at every festival meeting, a committee met this summer to put together a proposal to use unspent scholarship monies from the past years. Their proposal was to offer a $500 scholarship to a Westmoreland county resident music education major (who can be attending any college for music education). Students must submit an application with an essay, lesson plan and transcript to apply. The officers will meet to choose a winner. One of scholarship winners in high school can win this award as well. This was voted on and approved.

Nominations for VP

  • From Denise: this year we will be taking nominations for the VP position starting in October 2014. This person will serve as VP for two years, president for two and past president for two. In this day and age, we all understand that a school district will not let you out to attend all festival meetings, and as officers we split the duties to attend festivals and selection committee meetings. Personally, I have really enjoyed my time as an officer and meeting everyone! If you have questions about the position or what is involved, please ask!

New Website!

  • First a big thank you goes out to Dan Lauritzen who took care of our web site for years! We really appreciate your service to our organization. This year, when discussing format and material included, Jaime West took Dan’s hard work and moved it into a new web hosting site. There are great new features, including a Google calendar that you can sync to your phone and online payment of dues (next year!). If you have pictures that don’t have students’ faces up close or permission from students’ parents, submit those to Jaime West to be included!

Online Payment of Dues Starting 2014

  • For all the members who pay their own dues, we are offering an online option next year. Since we will be charged a fee for this service, online dues will cost $16 (one dollar fee). This will be through PayPal. This was voted on and approved by the membership.

25 Year Award Wording

  • This year we had a question about the 25 year award and its qualifications. We noticed there was not anything in our bylaws about it. A discussion was held regarding the wording at the meeting and it was decided to take this to the festival meetings this year, gather suggestions and form a committee to put something together this summer. If you want to be a part of this committee, contact Denise Bilott or Ray Hammill.

WCMEA Concert in the Park

  • On Saturday, May 31, 2014 from 1-5PM, we will have a WCMEA concert in the park. We are looking for performing groups from any grade level from K through collegiate in band, chorus and orchestra of any size or genre. You will have a 15-20 minute time slot to perform. We are also looking for any booster groups for concession stand sales. Each group will sell one item (nachos, bottled water, hot dogs etc.) for a $20 table fee. At this point, we are just looking for interested groups and in the winter we will organize this in much greater detail. The officers plan on promoting this in all possible venues to get PR for all our programs and everything we do throughout the year. The forms are on our web site and will also be sent via e-mail. If you have any questions, please contact Denise Bilott.

 Other Announcements

  • Seton Hill University is offering their Seton Hill Youth Honors Band and Seton Hill Youth Honors JAZZ Band. Forms and audition selections are on the web site. It was also announced that a new Seton Hill High School Honors Band will start this year. Any student that would like to be in Junior High District Band at Norwin and Seton Hill Youth Honors band/jazz band may do so. We are also working on a collaboration with Jamey Aebersold, he will be doing a workshop with the district band teachers Saturday morning and then working with the Seton Hill honors jazz kids that afternoon.
  • Information was sent earlier regarding the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra’s concert for young people. Funding has become an issue for bussing and tickets for many districts.
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First Annual WCMEA Celebration at Twin Lakes

On Saturday, May 31st, we will have a concert on the Island stage at Twin Lakes! This concert will run for the afternoon and each group will have a 15 to 20 minutes time slot. We are looking for all grade levels and musical groups (large and small)! Concessions will be run by any booster group who would like to participate (they will have an option to sell one type of item). If you are interested, please contact Denise Bilott at  

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Lots of Changes!

This has been a big year for changes across our county in numerous school districts.

At Seton Hill University, there were four new faculty members hired: Dr. Mark Boyle, Director of Choral Activities, Dr. John Seybert Coordinator of Music Education, and Dr. Reed Chamberlin, Director of Instrumental Activities and Joe Domencic moves to full time Music Theater position. Marvin Huls moves to part-time as Staff Accompanist and Coordinator of Music Recruitment.

Reed Chamberlin is a conductor and serves on the music faculty at Seton Hill University (Greensburg, PA), where he conducts the Westmoreland Symphonic Winds, and guides the instrumental music program. He has completed DMA studies (ABD) in Wind Conducting at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he served as Assistant Conductor of the Eastman Wind Ensemble.Prior to his appointment he was a successful high school music teacher in Ashland, Ohio. Reed holds a BME degree from The Ohio State University, and an MM degree in Conducting from Youngstown State University. His work and experiences represent the nexus of music education and professional level performance, exemplified through the wind-band performance medium, and he is in regular demand as a guest conductor and clinician.

John M. Seybert, Ph.D., is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Music Education Program at Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA. Seybert also serve as the Performance Development Consultant for the Race to the Top Performing Fine Arts Assessment Project for the state of Florida. He received a Bachelor of Music degree from Grove City College, a Master of Music degree from Butler University, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in music education from the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. He teaches secondary music methods, elementary music methods, curriculum development, research methods, and interdisciplinary perspectives and the arts. Seybert served as the President of the Florida Collegiate Music Educators Association and member of the Florida Music Educators’ Association Executive Board. He currently serves as the Vice President of the Florida Jazz Educators Association. Previous to his graduate studies, Dr. Seybert taught instrumental music in nationally recognized elementary, middle, and high school music programs in Indianapolis, IN. Seybert received awards for teaching, writing, and leadership from various organizations. He has published research in the Journal of Research in Music Education, and Jazz Education Research Journal. Seybert has been cited for “Effective Teaching and Scholarship” by Southeastern University; “Outstanding Research and Scholarship,” by the Oxford Round Table; “Outstanding Service to the Community” by the Florida Bandmasters Association; an “Outstanding Instructor” from Indiana University in Bloomington; recipient of the State of Indiana’s “Top Twenty-Five Teacher Award” and the “Superintendent’s Award for Excellence in Education.” Dr. Seybert’s research interests include instrumental music education, artificial intelligence, assessment, curriculum studies, and professional development. He received a grant from the National Band Association to further his research in instrumental music education. Seybert’s research is housed in the Smithsonian Archives in Washington, D.C., and the National Association for Music Education Archive at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Seybert is an active performer, clinician, and soloist. He also enjoys writing, reading, running, biking, and diving.


At Kiski Area School District, Robert Traugh was hired for middle school band.

At Norwin School District, Tim Daniels was hired for 9-12 Band and Music Theory.

At Mt. Pleasant Area School District, Sue Ann Herd moved up to the high school chorus position. Emily Jordan was hired for K-6 Music.

At Burrell School District, there was a re-alignment. The following changes were made:

  • Francine Corsi—4/5 Gr. Choir, K-5 general music
  • David Huemme—6-12 Bands, 6th Gr. general music, instrumental lessons
  • Brian Querry—4/5 Gr. Bands, 7
  • th/8th Gr. Multi-Media Arts, Gr. 3 general music, instrumental lessons
  • Karen Wilson—K-2 general music, 6-12 Choirs, instrumental lessons

At Derry Area, half-time position filled at Derry Area MS – Matthew Roble – primarily instrumental and general music.

My name is Matt Roble and I was recently hired in the Derry Area School District as a General Music teacher at the Middle School and Elementary School levels. Mr. Julian forwarded to me the email asking for information about the new hires in the county. This is my first Full-time teaching position (5/8 of full-time). I graduated from Penn State University in December of 2011 with my bachelor’s degree in Music Education. My major instrument is Percussion. I am from Latrobe, so I have lived in the area my entire life. Aside from my position at Derry, I am currently the Assistant Band Director with the Yough High School Marching Band as well as a member of the Pittsburgh Steeline, the drumline of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

At Hempfield Area, Natalie Williams at West Point this year since Katie DiPasquale is going on maternity leave for the entire year. (Music, Band and 5th Grade chorus) She was officially hired by Hempfield as a .6 position (3 days a week – 2 days at Stanwood for general music and 1 full day of instrumental between Fort Allen and West Hempfield.) Natalie Williams graduated with BS Music Education from Duquesne University in 2000. Her primary instruments are clarinet and piano. Her past teaching experience includes: chorus and general music at Pleasant Hills Middle School in Pleasant Hills, PA, Elementary Music with Hampton City Schools in Hampton, VA, and music and band with the Pittsburgh Diocese. She has spent the past 10 years as a clarinet, voice and piano teacher with Seton Hill University Community Music and Westland Academy for the Arts and as a freelance musician. She is thrilled to be back in the classroom again, teaching at West Point Elementary with the Hempfield Area School District.

At Belle Vernon, the district closed Rostraver Middle School. Their only middle school is Belle Vernon Area.

Here is a breakdown of teaching assignments now:

  • Michael Rozell: HS choir at BVAHS, MS choir at BVAMS, 6th grade choir at Marion Elementary
  • Mark Surovchak: HS band at BVAHS, 6th grade choir at Rostraver Elementary
  • Matt Horzempa: MS band at BVAMS, Elementary band at Marion Elementary
  • Brandon Zanardelli: Elementary Band at Rostraver and Marion Elementary
  • Paula Sokol: General music at Marion Elementary
  • Joyce Cunningham: General music at Rostraver Elementary

There were three new hires at

Greater Latrobe; they are Rachel Surden, Nicole Wolfgang and Mike Menzietti.

Nicole Wolfgang will be teaching Junior High Chorus and General Music at Greater Latrobe Junior High starting this fall. She earned her Bachelor of Music from Grove City College, Master of Music Education from University of Hawaii. She had taught 5 years of vocal and instrumental music previously in the Ligonier Valley School District at Laurel Valley Middle/High School from 2001-2006. Nicole was the WCMEA secretary/ treasurer from 2002-2008 (Thank you , Nicole!!!). She has been a stay-at-home mother and private vocal coach for the past 7 years and this year will be teaching Junior High Chorus and General Music at Greater Latrobe Junior High.

Rachel Surden holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree with a concentration in classical piano from Temple University, and a Master of Music degree in choral music from the University of Southern California. While studying at USC, Rachel taught the undergraduate Oriana women’s chorus and served as the assistant conductor for the Los Angeles Zimriyah Chorale. She also had the privilege of singing with Jennifer Hudson at the Kodak Theater, and performed on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. After completing her studies, Rachel taught middle school general music and chorus for one year, and now serves as the choral directer at Greater Latrobe Senior High School.

Michael Menzietti is in his sixth year of teaching public school and his first within the Greater Latrobe School District, where he is teaching elementary band and general music at Latrobe Elementary School. Michael holds a MM from Ithaca College in Saxophone Performance and a BS from IUP in Music Education. Michael currently lives in Plum with his wife and three year old son Anthony.

At Mother of Sorroes and Mary Queen of Apostles:

My name is Jacob Szirmae, and I am the general music/chorus teacher for both Mother of Sorrows in Murrysville and Mary Queen of Apostles in New Kensington. I live in McKeesport, and it is also my alma mater. My main instrument is Trumpet. I attended Seton Hill University from 2008-2012 where I studied music education with interests in Jazz ensembles. I now play trumpet, washboard and guitar in a Bluegrass band named the Seams. This is my second year performing with the Seams. Finally, for the 2013 season I am assistant band director for Steel Valley Marching Band.

At Greensburg Salem Kim Palmiscno is now the high school chorus director and Steve Tribble is the elementary band director.

My name is Kim Palmiscno, I have a BS in music education from IUP and a MA from Seton Hill College in elementary education. This is my 33rd year teaching. My first 9 years were spent at Blessed Cathedral School as band director; then I moved to Greensburg Salem and I began as as the high school band director for 3 years; 17 years as the elementary band director; then I was moved to a 4th grade classroom for 3 years; back into music as the high school chorus director. I look forward to being back into the music program.

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