End of School Year Message from WCSMA President, Suzanne Forman
Dear WCSMA members, As this incredibly challenging and stressful school year comes to a close, I want to take a moment to offer my profound thanks to all of you for everything you do, every day, for our students and for music in our schools. I have heard many of you say during the course of this year “You know this is not how I normally teach, don’t you?” I do, we do. Nothing about this year has been normal. As teachers, we strive to do the best for our students and these past 15 months have presented you with unparalleled challenges and difficulties. It has been frustrating and exhausting, but also a time of innovation. You met a challenge that none of you signed up for and created a new way of teaching in a landscape that was ever changing. Yet, as the professionals you are, you adapted constantly to teaching under highly unusual circumstances. Thank you again for your passion for music and teaching, and for your dedication to our students which is the best form of advocacy for music in our schools there is.
Kudos and a huge thank you to all who hosted and ran the virtual NYSSMA Solo and Ensemble Festivals this spring! Your work allowed our students to have a NYSSMA experience during this highly unusual year. Thanks also go to NYSSMA for the effort that went into providing our students with the opportunity to perform at NYSSMA when holding in-person festivals was not possible.
As the year comes to a close, I would like to thank our outgoing board members Katelyn Odierna and Jaclyn Elliot for their outstanding service as All-County Orchestra Co-Coordinators. They did a fantastic job coordinating the 2020 AllCounty Orchestra Festival, securing a site for and holding the elementary auditions, finding a new venue for the second rehearsal at the last minute, and working with the string teachers to make what would have been, had we not had to cancel, a very successful festival!
WCSMA is currently working on possibilities and options for our 2022 All-County Festivals. At this time we have no definite dates or information to share, but more information should be forthcoming in the fall. My sincere thanks go to Nancy Torrente who is retiring and leaving the WCSMA Board and her position as NYSSMA Zone 11 Rep after having served in many different capacities over the years. She has been Area All-State Coordinator, Orchestra Chair, Treasurer, and WCSMA President. Congratulations, Nancy!
Thank you to Kimberly Dunkin of the Hendrick Hudson School District, formerly our WCSMA Hospitality Chair, for stepping into the role of NYSSMA Zone 11 Representative!
We welcome Shadman Mirza to the executive board as the incoming All-County Orchestra Coordinator effective June 2021. Shadman teaches strings in the Ossining schools and has served previously as the Intermediate Orchestra Chair for the 2020 All-County Orchestra Festival. Staying in their positions on the board are Jessica Yeung, Corresponding Secretary; T.J. Bastone, Membership Chairperson; and Marna Weiss, Webmaster. Thanks to the entire WCSMA board for your work and support throughout this school year!
This year’s Milton A. Williams Summer Music Study Scholarship recipients are Caitlyn Carpenter, viola/violin, a member of the Mamaroneck High School Orchestras, and Ryan Finegan, alto saxophone, a member of the Ardsley High School Jazz and Wind Ensembles. Caitlyn has performed in the Westchester AllCounty Orchestras, Area All-State String and Symphony Orchestras, and NYSSMA festivals. Ryan has performed in Westchester All-County bands, AllCounty Jazz Ensemble, and NYSSMA festivals. Both of these highly deserving students are also active in several other groups outside of school. Congratulations Caitlyn and Ryan!
Last, but certainly not least, congratulations to all our WCSMA members who are retiring this year and who retired in June 2020. We wish you well as you celebrate this milestone and begin the next chapter of your lives. Your collective years of service and commitment to our students and music education in Westchester are without equal. Thank you!
Wishing you all a safe, healthy, relaxing, and restful summer!
Suzanne Forman, WCSMA President