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Music students work with renowned music educators

posted: Fri, Jul 7th, 2017

Diego Garcia conducts a piece on the MOMS stage 

Mount Olive Middle School’s music department recently held its first music festival. Held over the course of an entire day, the festival gave the school’s seventh and eighth grade bands, orchestras, and choruses an opportunity to work with professional musicians and renowned music educators. Each of the groups worked on two songs.

“It’s always a positive for students to work with people who bring a fresh point of view and have a different way of explaining things,” said teacher Melany McQueeny. “The kids I think also appreciated hearing how something as simple as a different accented note could make a big difference.”

While not active participants, sixth-grade music students sat in the audience to hear the facilitators work with the other groups.

Working with the choruses were:

Deborah Mello –  a music teacher at Montclair State University and retired director of choral activities at Randolph High School. Ms. Mello has presented workshops for groups such as the New Jersey Music Educators, New York American Choral Directors Association, Massachusetts Choral Directors, Louisiana Choral Directors Association, Music Educators National Conference, National American Choral Directors Association, and Oberlin Conservatory.  

Matthew LaPine – the choral director at Bernards High School and a professional singer for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen where he is a soloist, section leader, and guest conductor. His ensembles have performed in such prestigious locations as Carnegie Hall, St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, the Roper Performing Arts Center in Norfolk, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Working with the bands were:

Patrick Burns – adjunct professor of music at Montclair State University and director of the Symphony of Winds and Percussion at New Jersey City University. As a clarinetist, Mr. Burns has performed with many professional ensembles including the Metropolitan Opera Summer Ballet Orchestra, the pit orchestra for the Broadway revival production of Camelot, and with the New Jersey Chamber Music Society in broadcasts for National Public Radio and New Jersey Network Television. 

Dr. Mark Stickney –  assistant professor of music and director of bands at Plymouth State University. He has performed with the American Band, Fanfare Brass, The Narragansett Tuba Quartet, and as a member of the Rutgers Wind Ensemble. He has also performed at the Newport Music Festival and throughout southern New England as a soloist and chamber musician.

Working with the orchestra were:

Diego Garcia – world-class cellist, conductor and resident composer at the Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood, and director of the Thurnauer School of Music Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Garcia has toured extensively in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, and Central America as a chamber musician, recording artist, orchestral player, and soloist. He currently performs with his wife, Annaliesa Place, as Bowstruck, a violin/cello duo that plays original compositions and fresh arrangements of the classics.

Annaliesa Place  – associate director of strings at Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood. An accomplished violinist, Ms. Place has performed across the United States and abroad, and has recorded albums with various ensembles for labels such as Sony Classical and eOne Records. In the summer of 2016, she and her husband, Diego Garcia, co-directed an international music festival in Switzerland on behalf of the Juilliard School.

Deborah Mello works with choral students

Mount Olive Middle School
160 Wolfe Road Budd Lake, NJ 07828
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