Hitting the right notes with online music

Teachers have been holding virtual recitals and are planning additional efforts to add students.
Posted on 05/28/2020
Autumn Kovacs plays the ukulele during a recent online Strayer recital.By Gary Weckselblatt

Despite the state-mandated shutdown of all school buildings, Quakertown Community School District music teachers have been holding online recitals each week to give their students an opportunity to perform in front of an audience.

The effort is part of the continuity of education model the district has employed since it went to a virtual learning platform in late March. Students are able to retain their proficiency and parents have flocked to the recitals as the youngsters sing or play an instrument “in public” despite the restrictions in place due to COVID-19.

“Students get to see their friends and peers and play together for themselves and for each other,” said Erin Oleksa-Carter, QCSD’s Supervisor of Literacy and Arts. “So many of us turn to music, turn to the arts for a sense of calm when things get crazy as they are right now. I love that teachers are trying to share what they’re doing with our students.”

Since April 17, the Sixth Grade Center has held weekly live online recitals, organized by music teachers Melanie Hazelrigg, Megan Edinger and Todd Silvius. They’re held Fridays at noon.

Each Tuesday at noon, Strayer Middle School has held a similar event for its families, thanks to music teachers Cynthia Teprovich and Rachael Urquhart.

“Music is still being taught,” said Mr. Silvius, SGC’s director of bands. “Students look forward to performing. It makes them happy, it makes everyone happy. They’re doing something that brings a lot of joy and relaxation to people. It gives us time to get together, to see each other and to learn from one another.”

Music teachers are formulating more plans to bring virtual concerts and information sessions to the school community, hoping to further inspire current student-musicians and motivate more students to join an already incredibly successful program.

All Quakertown Community High School band students as well as Strayer Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band students are working on a virtual concert video for all other band and orchestra students.

Messa di Voce, directed by Ms. Teprovich, is working on the new Strayer Anthem.
Elementary concerts are being planned. The SGC and Strayer will be inviting elementary and middle school students to attend online recitals. There will also be post-recital “Meet the Director” meetings for new students looking to join band, chorus and orchestra.

“This is a team effort to keep the music community strong and bring more people into that community,” Mrs. Oleska-Carter said. “It’s incredibly thoughtful of our teachers to do this.”

If you’re interested in becoming part of the music program, please contact a teacher. More information can be found at qcsd.org/music.

Quakertown Community High School: Frank Parker, Band Director, fparker@qcsd.org; Jonathan Lechner, Chorus Director, jlechner@qcsd.org.

Strayer Middle School: Rachael Urquhart, Band Director, rurquhart@qcsd.org; Cynthia Teprovich, Chorus Director, cteprovich@qcsd.org.

Sixth Grade Center: Todd Silvius, Band Director, tsilvius@qcsd.org; Megan Edinger, Orchestra Director, mkedinger@qcsd.org; Melanie Hazelrigg, Chorus Director and Classroom Music Teacher, mhazelrigg@qcsd.org.

Richland Elementary School: Michael Boyd, Band Director, mboyd@qcsd.org; Megan Edinger, Orchestra Director, mkedinger@qcsd.org; Elizabeth Weinlein, Chorus Director and Classroom Music Teacher, eweinlein@qcsd.org.

Quakertown Elementary School: Lara Cifelli, Band Director, lcifelli@qcsd.org; Megan Edinger, Orchestra Director, mkedinger@qcsd.org; Rebecca Kummery, Chorus Director and Classroom Music Teacher, rkummery@qcsd.org.

Neidig Elementary School: Michael Murmylo, Band Director, Chorus Director and Classroom Music Teacher, mmurmylo@qcsd.org; Megan Edinger, Orchestra Director, mkedinger@qcsd.org.

Pfaff Elementary School: Lara Cifelli, Band Director, lcifelli@qcsd.org; Megan Edinger, Orchestra Director, mkedinger@qcsd.org; Rebecca Kummery, Chorus Director and Classroom Music Teacher, rkummery@qcsd.org.

Trumbauersville Elementary School: Michael Boyd, Band Director, mboyd@qcsd,org; Megan Edinger, Orchestra Director, mkedinger@qcsd.org; Elizabeth Weinlein, Chorus Director and Classroom Music Teacher, eweinlein@qcsd.org.

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at gweckselblatt@qcsd.org.
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