Musician of the Month

Musician of the Month

Manchester Community Music School recognizes the hard work and talent of all of our students. In this section, we will highlight a different musician each month to share their story so that you, too, can see what exceptional students we have at the Music School.

March Musician of the Month

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Henry A.
Age: 21
Hometown: Canterbury, NH

Henry has come to MCMS for the past 8 years. He has studied piano with Elizabeth Hodges since the fall of 2016. He also works with Christina Grandoni-Barlow, MT-BC in our Music Therapy Department.

“Henry picks up music by ear almost instantly. It’s amazing! He constantly surprises me with his talent and abilities.” -Liz Hodges, piano faculty 

“Henry enjoys the vibrations of the piano when he plays. In fact, he communicates better with music than with words. Music is a way of expressing himself that he didnt have before. He is always singing and humming. Music is such a big part of who he is.

Henry likes how flexible Liz is. She is always willing to go over what he wants to play. -Mae Lynn (Henry’s mom)

Henrys favorite songs are Youve Got a Friend in Me, Go Tell Aunt Rhody, Honeybee, and the music from Toy Story. He has performed in a number of recitals at MCMS.

February 2017 Musician of the Month
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“Safija is always prepared for her lesson. She takes lessons very seriously but still has fun, especially when we play together.” John Zevos, guitar faculty

Interview with Safija B.

Age: 8 years old

Grade: 3

Has studied guitar with John Zevos for two years.

What is your favorite solo to play?

I like Country Dance and Waltz in E minor. There are a lot of fingerings and Im learning how to play without a pick. I really want to learn Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Why did you choose the guitar?

I like how it sounded and that its a string instrument.

What do you like about lessons with John?

John is patient and nice.

Where do you like to practice at home?

I practice in the living room where everyone can hear it.

Safija also spends her time reading graphic novels and going outside.

January 2017 Musician of the Month
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“Lauren takes everything I tell her to heart. She has made so much progress reading music and works very hard for every achievement.” -Terry Barton, piano faculty 

Interview with Lauren H.

Age: 13 years old

Has studied piano for seven years, and has studied with Terry Barton for six years.

Why did you choose the piano?

I needed structure in my schedule, and I thought practicing piano would help. I like how the piano can create a lot of different sounds. Piano has helped me get out of my comfort zone, especially with recitals!

What are some of your favorite pieces to play?

Hes a Pirate from Pirates of the Caribbean.

What do you like about lessons with Terry?

Terry explains things very well. If I dont understand, she makes it simpler. Shes also very funny and laughs a lot.

What are your plans for music in the future?

I plan to play piano my whole life. Even if I decide to take up another instrument, I will still play piano.

Lauren also spends her time horseback riding and competitive swimming.

December 2016 Musician of the Month

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“Matt has been working very hard and making great strides. He’s been with MCMS for 12 years and started with music services as a child. He is now an adult, continuing to improve his musicianship.” -Emily Todd, Music Therapist

Interview with

Matthew W.

Has come to MCMS for 12 years, and has been with Emily for three years.

Why do you enjoy about music with Emily?

I like American songs and cowboy songs.

Matt enjoys writing his own songs as well.

What are your favorite songs?

Happy Trail by Roy Rogers, Old Uncle Bill, and Home on the Range. Any folk songs.

What instruments do you play?

Guitar, piano, and singing.

Matt’s hobbies include watching historical documentaries about trains and visiting the Denver Public Library website to view their historical photos. He’s visited many train museums across the United States including Pennsylvania, Illinois, Washington

November 2016

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I really appreciate what a well rounded musician Katie is. She is very enthusiastic about piano and always willing to try new things. She is also very active in recitals.” -Elizabeth Blood, piano faculty

Age: 14 years old

Katie has studied music at MCMS since 2005, starting in Music for Little Ones, Triple Treat, Piano Explorations, and then piano lessons. She has studied with Elizabeth for 4 years.

Tell me about lessons with Elizabeth.

They are fun and entertaining. If I have a difficult time with something, she really works it out. I was introduced to piano when Elizabeth came to babysit a long time ago. She said I had a good ear for music and she warmed me to the idea of playing piano.

What are you working on in your lessons?

Im learning a Bach minuet and a Beethoven Sonata. The Bach minuet is in a minor key- which I like- and flows nicely. The Beethoven Sonata is a little more challenging. They go together very well and sound peaceful.

Katie also sings in 2G with Krystal Morin. She likes fashion, writing futuristic stories, and she likes to read. She is also into history. Katie has performed in the MCMS Performance Competitions and been awarded an honorable mention for her work with arpeggios.

October 2016
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“When Kacey plays, you can see her love for the instrument. She really enjoys it and has so much joy in playing. She is a hard worker who is attentive to details. She has accomplished a lot of physical achievement with her tone. She really pushes those notes out!” -Judy Teehan, Suzuki flute teacher

Age: 8 years old

Has studied Suzuki flute with Judy Teehan for 1.5 years

Why did you choose the flute?

I studied piano before. But after a few years, I realized it wasnt a good fit for me. Miss Judy invited me to try flute. After I tried it, I thought it was the perfect fit. I like that you can be more active when you play instead of sitting on a bench. Judy comes up with creative ideas and games to practice and review songs.

 What are some of your favorite songs that youve studied?

I like minuets, and a song called Amaryllis by J. Ghys. Its jumpy, has staccatos, and high flute notes.

 What are your future plans for flute?

I am planning to do a recital. Also, my teacher is doing a unit of recorder and she invited me to play flute for the class.

 Kacey likes art, swimming and reading detective books.

August 2016

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“Daniel is exactly the kind of student I love to teach. He comes prepared and is open to new ideas. It takes being brave and coming out of your shell to experiment with the French horn and figure out what works.” – Jen Larson, French horn instructor

Interview with

Daniel D.

Age: 14

Has studied French horn for 7 months and double horn for 6 weeks.

Why did you choose the French horn?

I like the deep, rich sound and my school needed a French horn player. Its harder than I thought it was because its so different than piano which is my first instrument. Ive studied piano for 7 years.

What are some of the songs youve studied?

Im working on etudes for the All State auditions in the fall. This is my first time playing standard repertoire. Ive also studied Green sleeves.

What do you like about Jens teaching style?

Shes an awesome teacher. She has me think of the answers on my own.

Daniel is also on the executive swim team and plays tennis. Next year he will be taking all honors classes.

June 2016

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Charlie T.

 Age: 9 years old

Has studied percussion with Jared for 8 months

“Charlie is always prepared and eager to learn. He comes in totally knowing his assignments.” – Jared Steer, his percussion teacher 

Why did you choose percussion?

Ive always been a natural at percussion because I like to drum my fingers on surfaces.

What do you like about the drum set?

It has different parts to it. I think its really cool how different parts can do different sounds at different times to make a piece of music.

What are some of your favorite songs to play?

Come Together and Yellow Submarine by the Beatles. I can use lots of symbols and different rhythms.

What do you like about having Jared as a teacher?

I like his teaching style. Hes nice.

Charlie also played the piano for two years prior to taking percussion. He enjoys Legos, brain teasers, and board games.

May 2016

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Dylan F., Student of Terry Barton 

Age: 10 years old

Has studied piano with Terry Barton for 4 years

 “Over all of the years that I’ve taught him, I’ve seen a lot of progress. He is conscientious and hard working. When something doesn’t come easy for him, he really works on it over time. He has learned the benefit and reward of hard work and making beautiful music.” -Terry Barton

Interview with Dylan:

Why did you choose the piano?

When I was younger, I had a fascination with pressing buttons. I used to go up to the piano and press the keys. I asked my mom for piano lessons. I plan to do lots of recitals, and maybe piano in college.

 What are some of the songs youve studied?

I worked on the theme song to Charlie Brown and Dont Cry for Me Argentina from Evita. I am currently working on compound meters and swing music. I like classical music that is fast with lots of changing dynamics.

 What do you like about Terrys teaching style?

Shes funny and nice. If there is something hard, she will figure out a way to make it easier.

Dylan is also on the swim team and plays the recorder. He like to read science fiction books. One of his favorite Star Wars characters is BB8.

March 2016

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Nate Baxter, Student of Claude Fried

“When Nate plays his best, his sound is as good as any jazz player I’ve heard.” -Claude Fried

Interview with

Nate Baxter

 Age: 18 years old

Hometown: Londonderry

Has Played Trombone for 9 Years

Why did you chose the trombone?

I was in 4th grade, and the trombone was big and shiny. I had started with violin before trombone. I liked the trombone much better.

 What are some of your favorite pieces?

I love playing Jazz Ballads. I also really like Opera Four by David- the piece I used for college auditions. I am auditioning for a Music Education major with a minor in jazz studies.

 What do you like about Claudes teaching style?

He challenges me more than anyone has. He makes me work hard.

 Nate has been studying trombone privately for two years. This past fall, he started lessons with Claude Fried.

February 2016

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Hyla McGovern, Student of Donna Lombardo

“Hyla is one of the most dedicated students I’ve ever had. She’s taken lessons with me for 21 years! As a mature singer, we always find interesting music to suit her voice.”

Age: 78 years old

Has studied voice with Donna Lombardo for 21 years

What do you like about studying with Donna?

I like the fact that she covers everything; how the voice works and the physical apparatus of the throat. Shes very thorough and works hard with you to do what she knows will help. She knows what it takes to sing well. She has an extensive knowledge of composers and music.

 What languages do you sing in?

English, French, German, and Italian.

 What is one of your favorite pieces?

La Vien Rose by Edith Pilaf. I heard it when I was very young. The song was popular in the 40s and it has stayed with me all these years.

 Hyla is a foster grandparent in the NHTI Foster Grandparent program where she takes care of infants during the week.

 

January 2016

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Evan Swope, student of Russ Ryan, is Student of the Month!

What Russ Has To Say About Evan:

 “Evan always comes prepared for every lesson. The material I give him each week is always thoroughly practiced and well prepared. He is a pleasure to have in my studio!”

Interview with Evan Swope

Age: 13 years old

Has studied trumpet for 2 years

What do you like about the trumpet?

I like everything about it. It looks awesome and sounds awesome.

 What kind of music do you like to play?

I like to play jazz as well as classical. Playing in Wind Ensemble is a lot of fun, too. Mr. Cassedy is really energetic and funny and gets everyone involved.

 What do you think about having Russ as a teacher?

Russ is great. Every time I go to a lesson, its a lot of fun. Hes very funny and hes a great teacher. Its a good combination.

 Evan also likes basketball and football. His favorite subject in school is math. He comes from a music family- 9 people in his family have played or are currently playing music.

December 2015

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Paige Patnaude, student of Erica Driscoll, is Student of the Month!

What Erica Has To Say About Paige:

 “Paige is one of my hardest working students who has a great attitude. She is a lot of fun to work with. We always have a great time in our lessons!

Interview with

Paige Patnaude

Age: 10 years old

Has studied harp for 4 years

What do you like about the harp?

I like the sound of it. I like how the strings feel.

 What is your favorite solo?

Elephant Parade by Ruth Inglefield. It is fun to play. I like the glissandos.

 What do you think about having Erica as a teacher?

She is awesome. I like how she makes me do it again and again until I do it right.

 Paige is also a 2nd degree Black Belt in karate. She has her own horse named Henry and she rides competitively. She was in the NH finals this year!

 

November 2015

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Madelinn H., student of Elizabeth Blood, is student of the month for November!

What Elizabeth Has To Say About Madelinn:

 “Madelinn is an excellent student. She is hard working and talented and always prepared for her lessons with great questions. She is a pleasure to teach!

Interview:

 Age: 16 years old

Has studied piano for 10 years

Why do you love about the piano?

I like the fullness of the sound and the range. I played clarinet for a while, but it wasnt the same as the piano.

 What are some of your favorite composers?

Debussy- I love his romantic style. I recently performed his Arabesque and I enjoyed the challenging rhythms of 2 against 3. It was my first impressionistic piece and it was very different than anything Ive played before.

 What do you think about having Elizabeth as a teacher?

I love the tips that she gives me for improving my musicality. I also love her sense of humor!

 Madelinn would like to thank Elizabeth for this honor of Student of the Month.

 Madelinn has been a student at the music school her whole life, starting with Triple Treat as a toddler. She is an avid concert goer, and recently saw a famous jazz pianist at the Sculler’s Club in Boston.

October 2015
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Emily and Caitlin Seiler, students of Debbie Markow, are students of the month for October!

What Debbie Has to Say:

“Both girls have a high dedication to practicing. It is rare to come across two students who love the violin as much as they do.”

Interview:

Age: Emily is 11 years old and Caitlin is 7 years
Emily has played the violin for 5 years and Caitlin has played the violin for 1 year.

Why did you choose the violin?

Emily: My mom and I used to watch orchestra videos on TV and I loved the sound.
Caitlin: My sister plays it so I heard it growing up. It’s a deep sound. It’s not a quiet sound.

What is your favorite song?

Emily: Mozart’s 40th Symphony. I like how it all works together.
Caitlin: Minuet #2 by Bach. I like how it’s jumpy but not too jumpy.

What do you like about having Debbie as a teacher?

Emily: She is happy and supportive and helps me practice for auditions. I like when she says if you practice a lot, you will get really good at it.
Caitlin: Very patient and supportive. I like when I’m working on my song and Miss Debbie plays the piano.

September 2015

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Noah Richardson, piano student of Rebecca Plummer White, is Student of the Month for September! Watch him play on the MCMS You Tube Channel.

What Rebecca Has To Say About Noah:

“Noahs insatiable thirst for music is unbelievable.

 

Interview with

Noah Richardson

Age: 8 years old

Has studied piano for 2 years

 

Why do you love about the piano?

I like music theory and how Miss Rebecca helps me write my own music.

What is your own music like?

Its stuff I really want to write down. Happy and fast with a big ending.

What is your favorite composer?

Bartok. He has fun songs and I like how they sound. I also like Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.

What do you think about Miss Rebecca?

Miss Rebecca is very kind and patient and answers all of my questions.

 

Noah recently visited the police station and made the Bedford newspaper because he had called with concerns about crime! He learned how the booking worked and sat in one of the police cars and turned on the sirens. Noah is looking forward to playing French horn when he turns 10. He just received his very own baby grand piano at home

June 2015

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Katelyn Mullikin, piano student of Justin McCarthy, is Student of the Month for June!

Age: 18 years old

Has studied piano for 13 years

Why did you choose the piano?

My mom played the piano. She started when she was about 5 and played until 18. My grandfather plays Indian music so I come from a musical family.

 How did your grandfather inspire you to play music?

I used to sit with him while he practiced. He plays bamboo flute and the tabla- a kind of drum. He doesn’t have sheet music, so he plays by ear with recordings.

 Where are you going to college next year?

I’m going to Tufts to major in Pre-med. I hope to continue piano in college depending on the scheduling.

 What do you enjoy most about piano?

When I started piano, I didn’t like to practice at all. I used to sit with my mom, and she would criticize me. I didn’t like to be criticized. In 7th grade, they had a talent show, and I decided to sing and play piano. I played “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. It went really well. People started to ask me to accompany them. I really enjoy accompanying.

What Justin Has To Say About Katelyn:

 “She gives her best effort to each piece I assign to her. She is unique in the fact that even though her schedule is very full, she is able to manage her time well and dedicate herself to her practicing. She continues to impress me with how well she prepares for each lesson. I never have to tell her the same thing twice. I will be sad to lose her next year….she is off to Tufts University to study pre-med.”

May 2015

IMG_0854This month’s student of the month is Ainsley Morehead, student of Debbie Markow.

Age: 7 years old

Has played the violin for 3 years

What did you choose the violin?

I picked the violin because I was riding inthe car one day with my mom and she put on classical violin music. I asked her if I could play the violin.

 What do you like about the sound of a violin?

It sounds like a bell.

 What is your favorite song?

O Come All Children.

 What do you like about having Debbie as a teacher?

She is patient and kind. I like that I’m always learning something new.

 You travel one hour to your lesson! What do you do in the car?

I like to read. I’m finishing the fourth Harry Potter book: The Goblet of Fire.

What Debbie Has To Say About Ainsley:

“Ainsley has persevered. She has had to work on learning how to slow down and listen and take directions. It was hard for her at first, and after the Suzuki camp last summer, she had a big turn around.”

Watch Ainsley Play

April 2015

IMG_0682This month’s student of the month is Olivia Fink, student of Terry Barton

Age: 15 years old
Has played the piano for a year and a half

What brought you to take piano lessons?
My whole family is highly musical. My uncle is a music Professor at UCLA and plays piano. Both my grandparents play piano and have a nice grand piano. My grandmother took lessons here at MCMS with George Lopez. Whenever I saw my grandparents’ grand piano, I wanted to play it. I also sing in chamber choir at my school. Piano is really exciting. I love it!

What do you think of your piano teacher, Terry?
She’s so much fun! She really cares about her students. She makes everything exciting. If I get anything wrong, she never makes me feel badly about it.

What is your favorite piano piece?
I like Night of the Tarentella. It’s about Italian folklore and how they used to dance vigorously to get the poison out of the bite. I like how it’s so fast and there’s this one part with broken arpeggios that sounds dramatic. It’s really fun.

Watch Olivia’s Video!

March 2015

IMG_0641This month’s student of the month is Jenna Kate Bisbee, student of Erica Driscoll

Age: 17 years old
She has played the harp for 7 years and studied lessons with piano

Why did you choose the harp?
I picked the harp because it was different and beautiful. When I was 9, I went to a mother-daughter breakfast tea and heard a girl playing the harp.

What is your favorite song?
My favorite song is the Handel Concerto in Bb. I like it because it’s happy and bouncy.

Will you keep playing in college?
I’d like to continue but not major in music. I’m going to St. A’s as a French Education Major.

What do you like about having Erica as a teacher?
She’s very fun and very knowledgable. We have a lot in common. We are both homeschoolers, have studied archery, and have similar tastes in music.

Watch Jenna’s video
February 2015

IMG_0611This month’s Student of the Month is Kirstie Koeppl, student of Donna Lombardo.

Age: 17 years old
Has sung since the age of 13
Studied with Donna Lombardo for 2 years

What do you enjoy about lessons with Donna?
Donna is a wonderful teacher. She asks me to go home and look up every piece I sing to find out what it’s about. She’s taught me how important it is to understand the emotion of the piece. She can explain how the mechanics of singing works.

What are your plans after graduation?
I plan to go into voice or early childhood special education. I’m looking at UNH or Manchester Community, which has the only fully licensed program for special education and early childhood training. 

What is your favorite song?
“Where the Bee Sucks.” It’s from a poem by Shakespeare. I love how upbeat it is.

How many recitals have you sung in?
Two recitals and a NATS competition in Boston where I made it to the semifinals.

What Donna has to say about Kirstie:
“Kirstie is an excellent student. I gave her five songs to learn over the summer, and she came back in September having worked on all of them and memorized two!”

“Kirstie has a very rich and full voice for a soprano of her age with a lot of color.”

Watch Kirstie’s video

January 2015

photo 3This month’s Student of the Month is Jordan Strickler, student of Rebecca Blom Carle.

Age: 17 years old
Played the violin since January 2014

Why did you choose the violin?
I always loved the violin. The trick was finally getting my mom to say yes. I just kept asking until one day she did.

What do you like about the violin?
There’s something about it I could always pick out when listening to music.

What do you like about your lessons?
I like how they’re challenging. I like playing different pieces because each song has something new to learn.

What do you think of Rebecca as a teacher?
She’s really nice. She comes up with all of these different exercises that I need to play a piece. She’s encouraging. She points out my strengths.

What is one of your favorite solos?
Gavotte by Gossec. I like how challenging it is. I like how it makes my fingers move fast. The harder the better.

What Rebecca has to say about Jordan:

“Jordan arrived for her first lesson with absolutely no experience with violin. However, she impressed me immediately with her drive, her greater music background, and her spark to learn. It is fascinating to watch her actively draw connections between the violin and her years of vocal training; connections that develop her greater understanding of music as a whole. During Jordan’s years of choral experience, she has developed a well-trained ear which helps her violin studies and she reports that her music reading skills have improved through her violin lessons and are helping her sight reading in chorus.

Jordan receives instruction with enthusiasm and puts any suggestions into practice as quickly and completely as she can. She comes to each and every lesson prepared, with questions and concerns regarding parts of that week’s assignment that may have proven challenging for her, and is eager for guidance on how to overcome the challenges. It is clear that a love of music and a thirst for musical knowledge and understanding is deeply part of who she is.”

December 2014

SOTMDec14This month we recognize a brother and sister, Daniel and Alison Ryckman, as our students of the month. Daniel and Alison have both been taking piano lessons from Tanya Shrago. According to Tanya, “They make a lot of progress. I’ve seen them grow so much.”

Here’s what each had to say about their experience at MCMS.

Daniel, 8 yrs old

How long have you been playing and taking lessons?

2 years

What do you like about piano?

I kind of like to hear the sound. 

What do you like most about your teacher, Tanya Shrago?

She helps me understand why I have to do something.

What is your favorite piece?

“The flight.” It’s mysterious and I can play the whole thing from memory.

How many recitals have you played in so far?

Three

 Alison, 11 yrs old

How long have you Been Playing?

4 years

What do you like most about your teacher, Tanya Shrago?

She actually tells me what I do wrong which is a good thing. Because if she didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t get as good.

What do you like most about piano?

Piano is not hard to play, but it takes effort to sound good.

What is your favorite piece?

“The Waltz of the Flowers.” You can play it anywhere. I’ve played it at birthday parties. 

What do you like most about practicing?

If you practice you can play just about anything without it being too hard.