West Genesee named 'Best Community for Music Education'

West Genesee was recently recognized as one of 179 "Best Communities for Music Education" by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation. 279 schools submitted surveys for the award.

This is the sixth time West Genesee has received the honor.

"We are so very proud of West Genesee students and teachers being recognized for this honor," said Director of Fine Arts Bill Davern. "This competitive award is proof positive that outstanding instruction, in concert with positive administrative, community and Board of Education support, produces recognized quality for all of our children."

This year, 2,720 West Genesee students in grades 3-12, or 46 percent of students enrolled, chose to participate in one of the bands, choruses and orchestras. Total district-wide enrollment in music classes and performing groups is 3,669, or 74.1 percent.

The band and orchestra programs have their largest enrollment in the school's documented history (since 1980) of 697 and 707 non-duplicated students respectively, school officials said. At the high school, 401 students, or 27 percent, are enrolled in performing ensembles.

This percentage is as high as it was in 2009 and 2010, even though total district enrollment dropped 150 students this year and 350 in each of the past 2 years.

"We are very fortunate that even during challenging economic times the West Genesee Central School District can provide a music program worthy of such distinction," said Superintendent Chris Brown. "We are very proud to be a part of something special."

Additional extracurricular opportunities exist in jazz bands, fiddle improvisation groups, small ensembles, musical productions, Wildcat Marching Band, and community groups.

The music teachers responsible for this impressive program are: Tony Alvaro, Christine Astafan, Greg Borsz, Tracy Cheney, Marcia DeMartini, Jill DiBattista, Kevin Dimmel, Dee Fitzpatrick, Steve Frackenpohl, Steve Frank, Martha Grener, Leah Randall, Christy Knowlton, Bill Mercer, Maggie Mercer, Kristen Panzetta, Andrew Perry, Andrea Scerbo, Donald Schuuessler, Rosemarie Speich, Mike Stachnik, and Deaetta Szulis.

In conducting the annual survey, the NAMM Foundation is joined by advisory organizations in the fields of music and education including, Americans for the Arts, League of American Orchestras, The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, The Metropolitan Opera Guild, Music for All, Music Teachers National Association, National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, National PTA, Yamaha Corporation of America and VH1 Save The Music Foundation.

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