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      New England Music Festival Association, Inc.               June 2015                Volume LXXIX,  No. 3          

Latest News
NEMFA Officers 2014-15
President's Message
Secretary's Report
Secretary's Report
Future Concert Festival Dates
New NEMFA Website
NEMFA Online Membership Survey
Violin Virtuoso Program
8th Graders in S/E Festival
Chorus Manager
2016 Chorus Conductor
Orchestra Manager
2016 Orchestra Conductor
Band Manager
2016 Band Conductor
Lowell Mason House Project
Web Info


Keene High School
43 Arch Street
Keene, NH 03431


Somers, CT
860.749.7693 (H)
860.729.4410 (C) (H e-Mail)

Immediate Past-President, Librarian
Burlington High School
52 Institute Road,
Burlington, VT 05401
802.734.2871 (H)
802.864.8590 (O)
802.864.8408 (O Fax) (H e-Mail) (O e-Mail)

Provincetown, MA

Executive Secretary-Treasurer
73 Beauchamp Terrace,
Chicopee, MA 01020
413.683.4235 (H Fax)
413.478.7030 (O) (H e-Mail)

Recording Secretary
Kensington, CT (O e-Mail)

Solo & Ensemble Festival Co-Coordinator
Hartford High School
37 Highland Avenue,
White River Junction, VT 05001
802.295.8611 (Fax) (O e-Mail)

Solo & Ensemble Festival Co-Coordinator
Williston, VT
802.343.6282 (O) (S&E e-Mail)

Band Manager
Fair Haven Union High School
33 Mechanics Street,
Fair Haven, VT 05743
802.265.4066 (O) (O e-Mail)

Chorus Manager
Mt. Mansfield Union High School
211 Browns' Trace Road,
Jericho, VT 05465-9700
802.899.4690, x1620 (O)
802.899.2904 (O Fax) (O e-Mail) (H e-Mail)

Orchestra Manager
Provincetown, MA
646.456.9041 (Cell) (H e-Mail)

Membership Services Chair
Cheshire Public Schools
525 South Main Street,
Cheshire, CT 06410
203.250.2534 (O)
203.250.2563 (O Fax) (O e-Mail) (H e-Mail))

Dean of Students
Waterbury Center, VT

Social Media Chair
Valley Regional High School
Deep River, CT

Bulletin Editor, Archivist, Web Site Manager
The Bromfield School
14 Massachusetts Avenue,
Harvard, MA 01451
617.529-9402 (H)
978-456-4152, x571 (O)
978-456-3013 (O Fax) (H e-Mail)


Bulletin Signup

Is there anyone that you would like to suggest receive this Bulletin as a way to recruit new members from other schools and states? Please feel free to forward the Bulletin to them or send their e-mail to Editor Tom Reynolds at the following address:


NEMFA Calendar 2015-2016
June 6, 2015-Executive Board Meeting, 10:00am, Holiday Inn Express, Brattleboro, VT
September 5, 2015-Executive Board Meeting, 10:00am Gilford High School, Gilford, NH
December 5, 2015-Solo & Ensemble Festival North-Hartford HS, White River Jct., VT
December 11, 2015-Executive Board Meeting-7:30pm, Cheshire, CT
December 12, 2015-Solo & Ensemble Festival South-Cheshire HS,Cheshire,CT
December 19, 2015-Solo & Ensemble Festival-Snowdate
March 17-19, 2016-89th Concert Festival, Gilford High School, Gilford, NH
June 4, 2016-Executive Board Meeting, 10:00am, Holiday Inn Express, Brattleboro, VT 
President's Message -
Sal Cicciarella
Sal Cicciarella


June, 2015


Dear New England Members, Colleagues, and Friends,


At our NEMFA Concert Festival in Keene, NH, I am reminded of dreams fulfilled, continuing excellence in musical performance, and experiences lasting a lifetime for our young performers. While these festivals fulfill our wishes for continued students' success, we are proud of the accomplishments by those who organized another wonderful concert festival.


Our festival host, Keene High School, New Hampshire, provided our NEMFA with great rehearsal and performance facilities. Congratulations to the entire music department staff, and students for their dedication and outstanding accomplishments as this year's hosts. Thomas Martin, Host Chairperson, and all committees, are to be congratulated as they showcased our great organization ensuring all details were professionally accomplished for a successful festival. A heartfelt thank you is sent to the SAU29 district administration and staff who made our concert festival possible.


Our managers and colleagues serve our membership in countless hours to ensure the best possible experience for all our ensemble performers. Caleb Pillsbury, Chorus Manager from Mt Mansfield High School, Jericho, Vermont; Peter Roach, Concert Band Manager, Fair Haven Union High School, Fair Haven, Vermont; and Tony Brackett Orchestra Manager from Provincetown, Massachusetts all deserve our deepest appreciation for selecting outstanding nationally recognized conductors to work with our students and sharing their musical expertise culminating with great performances from each of the ensembles. Look for their ensemble reports in this bulletin. As always, check our new website often to keep abreast of new information, dates, and the many changes that may occur as we move toward the new school year. Our Bulletin Editor, Tom Reynolds is there to serve and notify.


At a recent executive board meeting we were pleased to accept an invitation from Gilford High School, New Hampshire for the 89th NEMFA Concert Festival on March 17-19, 2016. Lyvie Beyrent and Denise Sanborn, hosts and music directors, are long time members of our association and continue to support the activities of NEMFA. We are grateful and appreciative for this kind invitation from the New Hampshire School Administration Unit 73 and all festival committee members.


Finally, thank you to the executive board who dedicate many hours for NEMFA. Each member deserves special credit for meeting the numerous challenges with professionalism and success in their positions and creating the very best festival for all concerned.


Congratulations for continued success and enjoy the long summer days you so deserve.


My best,


Sal Cicciarella

President, NEMFA



Secretary's Report -
Gail Reynolds
Gail Reynolds
March 20, 2015, 9:30 A.M.
Keene H.S., Keene, NH

The meeting was called to order by President Sal Cicciarella at 9:50A.M. In Attendance: Sal Cicciarella, Gail Reynolds, Bill Sittard, Frank Whitcomb, Tom Reynolds, Rob Gattie, John Kuhner, Peter Roach, Tony Brackett, Caleb Pillsbury. Member Apologies: Steffen Parker
Guests: Tom Martin, Kevin Lam, Amy Ranta, Stephanie Weigand

Recording Secretary, Gail Reynolds presented the minutes of the December meeting which were already approved by electronic vote.
Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Bill Sittard reported that NEMFA remains on sound footing as of this meeting. A motion by Tom Reynolds to accept the report passed unanimously.

Band Manager, Peter Roach reported that his conductor connects the students to the music. He said that the students and directors are pleased with the rehearsals. Peter is pleased with the onsite communication with the conductor. He stated that student preparation was good but work remains to be done. The students are pleased and excited by the program selections.

Orchestra Manager, Tony Brackett reported that his conductor, Robert Lehmann is nice and talented. Students are beginning to connect to his personality. The first rehearsal started shaky but was much improved by the end of the day. The principal seating auditions ran well and the students were wellprepared.

Two students did not show up for the festival. Gail Reynolds asked if the registration roster could be given to the managers and Bill Sittard said that he would see to it. The sharing of a pianist by the band and orchestra is going well. Keene HS staff and students have been helpful and pleasant to work with.

2015 Concert Festival Host, Tom Martin reported that he is pleased with events so far. He said that his colleagues, administration and district are all incredibly supportive toward the NEMFA Concert Festival. On behalf of NEMFA, President Cicciarella extended his thanks and gratitude to Tom and the Keene community for all their efforts hosting the festival.

Bulletin Editor and Website Manager, Tom Reynolds reported that Constant Contact does not want him to post PDF's. He said that he will look into that. He reported that more NEMFA members are opening the Constant Contact e-mailings.

Website Update: Tom said that the new site looks basically the same as it did last December. The name switch to the new website will occur after this Concert Festival. President Cicciarella recognized Tom for his heroic and successful efforts to restore the crashed website. Tom recommended that a subcommittee of three: website manager Tom Reynolds, social media manager Kevin Lam, and website designer Steffen Parker work together on the new website to clean it up visually.

Past President Report, Frank Whitcomb. Mr. Whitcomb reported that the morning's Past Presidents Meeting focused on the Solo and Ensemble Festival and dwindling membership numbers. He reported that the past presidents attending the meeting were himself, Rob Gattie, John Kuhner, Bill Sittard and Don Hermance. He said that he asked past president Don Hermance to present the report at the Annual General Membership meeting at 2:30 P.M.

Dean of Students, Stephanie Weigand reported that all is well to date. The student issues are few and mild. President Cicciarella asked if the ensemble managers took morning attendance. Band and orchestra managers answered yes. The chorus manager was not in the room at the time. President Cicciarella congratulated Stephanie for an impressive first presentation to students as our new Dean of Students.

Solo and Ensemble Festival, Rob Gattie and Steffen Parker. The report was given by Rob Gattie. Mr. Gattie asked the board to consider reevaluating the current practice of giving one score per vocal ensemble. He offered a possible solution of creating a rubric to include a score for each individual student as well as one for the ensemble. He suggested adding one extra adjudicator per vocal ensemble room as a possibility. He suggested that the Board consider it on a trial basis. The Board said that if changing to this type of scoring could lead to increased student/member participation then the idea warrants a trial implementation. A discussion concerning the number of judges that would be needed in each room ended without any decision. It was decided that the idea would be presented at the Annual General Membership Meeting later in the day.

Chorus Manager, Caleb Pillsbury reported that his conductor is holding the students to a high standard and that he did a lot of foundation work on Thursday. Caleb reported that the new choral hearing process worked very well. For next year, he said that he would look into creating a better rubric and standardizing of the hearing process between the hearing rooms. The hearings ended at 12:30P.M. He suggested that the remedial work could be done before the first rehearsal started instead of having students miss rehearsal time. Several EB members thought that the impact of having a remedial rehearsal would not be as effective on the students if it were held before the first chorus rehearsal.

Board Member Positions Report Presentations. President Cicciarella tabled the reports until the June meeting.

Social Media Manager, Kevin Lam reported that student posting social media for the Concert Festival is a bit slow so far this festival. He believes that it is due to restricted availability to the web and to lack of free time so far.

Member Service Chair Report. John Kuhner reported that he has compiled a contact list of area youth groups and associations as well as other contacts for recruiting new members. He said that he would like the board to consider using Skype adjudications for students in remote areas. He also suggested that NEMFA invite 1 or 2 students from each state from a non-member source to participate in NEMFA Concert Festival for recruitment purposes. John suggested that NEMFA establish a college connection with nearby colleges that have music education majors and invite students to observe our concert festival and perhaps ask NEMFA members to assist in offering workshop sessions to them. Tony Brackett suggested that we try a pilot at the S&E festival on a low key level. Rob Gattie volunteered to contact Plymouth State University. Tony Brackett volunteered to contact home school associations by phone and follow up with another call or perhaps a visit.

Housing report. Mr. Kuhner reported that there were more families who volunteered to host this year than in the previous two years. He reported that social security numbers are necessary for processing background checks. He thought that potential hosts might feel more comfortable giving their SS# to the host housing chair instead of a NEMFA representative. President Cicciarella asked that John, Steffen and Lyvie Beyrent (2016 Host) to meet with him to discuss background checks.


1. June Summer Summit Proposal. After discussion, it was decided that the EB will meet in the morning, then break for the summit and resume later in the day. Rob Gattie made a motion to hold both the NEMFA summit meeting and the EB meeting on Saturday, June 6th. The motion passed unanimously.

2. Polling membership for optional Concert Festival Dates. After discussion, John Kuhner volunteered to create a membership survey that will include asking members if they are interested in changing the concert festival date to either the 2nd or the 4th week of March.

3. Website Development Update: Steffen Parker. Tom Reynolds presented the report. He said that there were 14 NEMFA members present at the unveiling of the new website session. He said that members were divided over the visual look of the site with a split between those who liked the great amount of text on the site and those who wanted it more visually appealing. The website release date is undecided but May is the target unveiling at this point.

4. Housing/Ensemble Numbers: Reduction. Tabled.

5. Revised Solo Vocal Repertoire: Amy Ranta. Amy presented revised lists of vocal solos to the Board for possible approval. Amy Ranta will present the lists at the Annual Membership Meeting at 2:30P.M. A motion by Rob Gattie to accept the new solo lists to be implemented for the December 2015 Solo & Ensemble Festival was unanimously approved. Rob Gattie suggested that the Board discuss the possibility of adding virtuoso pieces to the list at the June meeting. The Board agreed. Amy will make a virtuoso list and get it to the Board by the June meeting. Mr. Gattie reminded the board that students are given one year grace period after a revised list is adopted.

6. Lower String Forum Report: Tony Brackett. Mr. Brackett reported on the progress of the lower string S&E list revisions. He said that the string bass list was completed. The viola and cello lists are not yet finished. He decided that there were not enough members present at the forum to complete the lists but he expects to have them finished by June.

7. Electronic Adjudication: Face Time for Maine Participation. The discussion centered on equipment and time frame. It was stated that an IPhone and a smart board would be needed at the site. Tom Reynolds volunteered to work with Kevin Lam to create a report on the feasibility of
electronic adjudication which will be presented at the June meeting.

8. Revisiting NEMFA Constitution and By-Laws: Comments/Suggestions from Frank Whitcomb. Frank reported that Rob is going to take care of the By Laws and he will do the Constitution. He said that a presentation of initial revisions will be given at the June meeting and decisions on how to proceed will be made then.

9. Student Name format for Concert Program suggestion: Tony Brackett. Mr. Brackett asked that the Concert Festival programs list students' town and state after their names instead of the school, "Parent" or "Private" which is the current practice. Following discussion, Tom Reynolds made a motion to revise the Concert program format listing students' names be changed to read: last name, first name and student home address with the membership list appearing in a separate list. The motion passed unanimously.

11. Tom Reynolds asked if the Board would be interested in donating to the Lowell Mason House. This was tabled until the June meeting.

Burton O. Cowgill Award. A suggestion was made that the Board consider doing something to break ties for the award. After discussion, no action was taken.

Agenda: Slate of Officers: Frank Whitcomb. A motion by Tom Reynolds that the Board move into executive session was approved. In attendance were Frank Whitcomb, Rob Gattie, John Kuhner, Tom Reynolds, Bill Sittard, Gail Reynolds and Sal Cicciarella. A motion by Frank Whitcomb to table the slate of officers as it stands and put forward a slate to vote for Band manager at the afternoon Annual Membership Meeting passed.


Executive Board Meetings:
* June 6, 2015. Saturday. NEMFA Board meeting & Summit at the Holiday Inn
Express, Brattleboro, VT.

* September 5, 2015. Saturday. Gilford H.S., NH, Lyvie Beyrent, Host.

S & E Festival 2015:
North: December 5
South: December 12
Snow Date: December 19

2016 Concert Festival: March 17-19 Gilford H.S., NH. Lyvie Beyrent, Host.
The meeting adjourned at 1:06 P.M.

                                                                     Respectfully submitted,


                                                                           Gail Reynolds

                                                                        Recording Secretary

Secretary's Report -
Gail Reynolds
Gail Reynolds
March 20, 2015, 2:30 P.M.
Keene H.S., Keene, NH

The meeting was called to order by President Sal Cicciarella at 2:30 P.M. Present were about 50 members of the Association.

Recording Secretary, Gail Reynolds presented the minutes. A motion by Sal Cicciarella to approve the minutes was approved.

Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Bill Sittard reported that NEMFA remains on sound footing as of this meeting. He announced the time and place of the membership reception. A motion by Amy Ranta to accept the report passed.

Band Manager, Peter Roach reported that the conductor is working the students hard. He said that they are enjoying the experience. He thanked the membership for visiting the rehearsal and thanked the hosts for their help. He is generally pleased with the preparation. Mr. Roach announced that James Miller will be next year's conductor. President Cicciarella reminded the membership that they can recommend conductors to the Board.

Concert Festival Host, Tom Martin told the membership that hosting is very rewarding and he paralleled the experience to presenting a musical. He asked sponsors to aid students in filling out their data entries more accurately. This, he said, will do much to help the host school. He mentioned that food and allergy inaccuracies or omissions were a particular issue for his team. Tom asked for membership volunteers to help move equipment after the last concert. President Cicciarella extended his thanks and appreciation to Tom and all of the Keene community for their hard work in making the Concert Festival a success.

Bulletin Editor and Website Manager, Tom Reynolds reported that the bulletin is coming out in June. He reported that NEMFA is in the process of completing a new website and soon the new site will load when is entered. The target date is May 1, 2015.

Dean of Students, Stefanie Wiegand reported that all is well to date. There were no serious medical or behavioral issues. She said that it is a joy to work with the kids.

Immediate Past President Report, Frank Whitcomb. Upon invitation, the report was opened by past president, Donald Hermance. Don gave a passionate speech about the importance of NEMFA. He emphasized that the organization runs through volunteers. He said that the organization will not survive long without new volunteers stepping up. Frank Whitcomb added that twenty years ago there were 200 NEMFA members and today there are 140. Mr. Whitcomb concluded by saying that the Executive Board continues to work on improving the S&E Festival.

* Frank Whitcomb reported that the Slate of Officers prepared for today needed more work and has been temporarily tabled. The slate to be voted upon today is for Band Manager for two years. Peter Roach was nominated by the EB. Mr. Whitcomb asked for nominations from the floor and there were none. Jay Wilson made a motion to allow the recording secretary to cast the vote for Peter Roach. The vote passed.

Solo and Ensemble Festival Report, Rob Gattie and Steffen Parker, Co-chairs. Mr. Gattie reported that some of the membership expressed concern over score equality and lack of feedback. He said that the EB is looking into giving individual scores to each member of vocal ensembles and asked for membership feedback. Member Pam Rodgers asked for clarification. Steffen Parker shared two preliminary scoring ideas:

#1) Allocate a portion of the ensemble performance score to be used as an individual score.

#2) Use three judges, all with different assessment duties.

He asked for membership input to assist him in creating a formal proposal to be voted on in June for implementation for the next S&E Festival.

Member Services Report: John Kuhner. Mr. Kuhner asked the membership to help recruit new members. He reported that he is looking into inviting college music majors to be part of the S&E and Concert Festivals. He is reaching out to youth ensembles and home school associations. He is looking into allowing that the social security numbers of potential host families to be given to the host school instead of directly to NEMFA. He will create surveys to be sent out to the membership, students and host families. President Cicciarella said that the membership survey will include a question about interest in changing the Concert Festival from the 3rd week of March to the 2nd or 4th week in March.

Social Media Manager. President Cicciarella introduced Kevin Lam as the new Social Media Manager, appointed on June 8, 2014. Kevin reported on his activities for moving forward with social media efforts for NEMFA. At the festival so far, his focus has been accumulating video footage of students commenting on the NEMFA experience.

Chorus Manager Report. Caleb Pillsbury reported that the conductor is working the kids hard and that they are having a great time. He asked for membership feedback on the on-site hearings. He reported that there were 53 students identified as remedial which was a bit more than last year. He added that the music is harder. Member Pam Rodgers recommended that it would be helpful if students received more tracks to rehearse with than just their solo part. A member commented that a forum be held to review practice tracks and hearing procedure. Member Ethan Nash asked that a hearing forum be held before the next concert. President Cicciarella asked member Pam Rodgers to organize and chair a forum to discuss the hearing process after the meeting. Mr. Pillsbury announced that the 2016 chorus conductor will be Joshua Habermann (Director of the Dallas Symphony Chorus).


Revised Solo Vocal Repertoire: Amy Ranta. Amy presented revised lists of vocal solos to the membership. She explained the process. She and her committee paired down the lists to 50 selections for each voice. She shared some of the choices and reasons for keeping or deleting others. The lists are expected to be online by May 1. Lists were made available to interested members.

Brass S&E Solo Repertoire Lists. Member Lauren Churchill suggested that the woodwind and brass lists should be made smaller, too. She volunteered to revise the brass list. She asked for volunteers to help with the brass and woodwind lists. Volunteers were told to contact Lauren directly. One member requested that the lists include frequently played pieces. President Cicciarella and Lauren agreed that a report on new repertoire lists for brass will be ready for March 2016. President Cicciarella told the membership that anyone interested in revising the woodwind list to meet up with Lauren after the meeting.

Website Development Update Report. Website designer, Steffen Parker thanked those members who attended the website unveiling workshop held in the morning. He reported that although the site is ready, he has decided to add more graphic art to it so that it has a better presentation. He invited the membership to view the site at and offer suggestions/feedback to him.

Polling membership for optional Concert Festival Dates. John Kuhner will create a membership survey that will include asking members if they would be able to participate in the Concert Festival if it were held on the 2nd or 4th week of March instead of the 3rd week. NEMFA wants to get a better feel as to whether changing the date would encourage participants who used to belong to the organization to rejoin. Right now, it is in the NEMFA constitution to hold the festival on the 3rd week of March.

Future Concert Festival Hosts. President Cicciarella introduced next year's Festival hosts, Lyvie Beyrent and Denise Sanborn from Gilford H.S., NH. He added that NEMFA is accepting invitations for future sites from 2017 and on. He asked any interested members to speak to former hosts and/or Executive Board members.

Revised Low String S&E lists should be ready for approval at the June meeting. A member expressed concern over the possibility of new lists not being posted soon enough for some of his more eager students to start to learn. President Cicciarella explained that when a new solo list is posted, students have one year grace period in which they can adjudicate on solos from the old list.


S & E Festival 2015:
North: December 5
South: December 12
Snow Date: December 19

2016 Concert Festival: March 17-19 Gilford H.S., NH. Lyvie Beyrent and Denise Sanborn, Hosts.

The meeting adjourned at 3:54 P.M.
                                                                     Respectfully submitted,


                                                                           Gail Reynolds

                                                                        Recording Secretary

Future NEMFA Concert Festival Dates
     March 17-19, 2016 - Guilford, NH


Be sure to mark these dates into your calendars. We also need host schools for these concert festivals. If you have never hosted a NEMFA Concert Festival at your school, please do consider it. It is a very rewarding experience for any school to be a host, and most every NEMFA Concert Festival has had a positive effect on the host school's music program for a long time after the festival is over. It is also a great way to raise funds for your local school program. Please contact President Sal Cicciarella if you have any further questions about hosting a NEMFA Concert Festival.   

New NEMFA Website at
Make sure that you check out the website update designed by Steffen Parker at so that you can navigate around the new site and find the things that you need!
NEMFA Online Membership Survey
Membership Chair John Kuhner needs ALL NEMFA members to fill out an online survey regarding future NEMFA Festivals and Membership. The survey may be found at the following link: . The title of the survey is: "88th Concert Festival, New England Music Festival Association, March 19-21, 2015"

Thank you in advance for filling this out

Report on Violin Virtuoso Program
In December NEMFA hosted a pilot program allowing violin students to perform from a list of ten "virtuoso" pieces. This list was comprised of solos that are technically and musically far more challenging than the solos found on NEMFA's standard list and was created by a volunteer committee of string teachers and educators of NEMFA members. It was my privilege to adjudicate the 11 students who performed pieces from the virtuoso list. Students were rewarded up to 7 bonus points for their efforts.

The majority of these students would have been accepted into the Concert Festival Orchestra without the bonus points. For a couple of students this pilot program actually secured them a spot in the orchestra, for others it placed them very high up on the roster.

This trial, however, does not guarantee bonus points to every student who performs from the virtuoso list. Students are first adjudicated based on how well they perform the piece and later, at the discretion of the adjudicator, bonus points may be awarded. A couple of students performing from this virtuoso list did not receive bonus points, nor were they accepted into the Concert Festival Orchestra because the pieces were either too difficult for them or were not properly prepared. It is important for teachers and students alike to carefully select a solo that is at an appropriate level for the student. If a student is not ready to tackle a solo from the virtuoso list please perform from the standard list.

Because this pilot program was so successful and offered incentive to those students who chose to challenge themselves by performing more difficult literature, the Executive Board has agreed to extend this pilot program next year to violas, celli, and string basses. I will be forming committees to look at the repertoire lists for the other stringed instruments and create standard and virtuoso lists. This will all be done electronically, via email. If any string teachers would like to participate in this process, please contact me ASAP at or call me at 646.456.9041.

Congratulations to all the violin students who performed.

Tony Brackett
Orchestra Manager


NEMFA now allowing Eighth Graders to participate in the Solo/Ensemble Festival!

Special Announcement



The NEMFA Executive Board has unanimously passed the following new policy effective immediately!!


         To allow 8th graders to participate in the Solo and Ensemble Festival provided they follow the existing policy understanding that they cannot be considered for acceptance in the Concert Festival. They will have the option to perform the same piece in 9th grade and be considered for the concert festival if all criteria for acceptance is followed.



For additional questions and concerns please contact:


         Tony Brackett, Orchestra Manager NEMFA



  2016 NEMFA Chorus Manager
Caleb Pillsbury
Caleb Pillsbury

NEMFA Chorus Report

June Bulletin

Caleb Pillsbury

May 31. 2015


I am excited to announce that Joshua Habermann, chorus master of the Dallas Symphony Chorus and the Santa Fe Desert Chorale will conduct the 2016 New England Music Festival Chorus. We are finalizing the program and will announce the selection in September.


Thank you once more to all the teachers whose efforts made the 2015 NEMFA Chorus such an enriching musical experience for our students. We had many fruitful discussions during the festival all had the goal of ensuring the outstanding nature of the musical performance we offer. Thank you for all your positive input and I am committed to making them a reality.


Special thanks to the teachers:

  • Organizing and discussing work around the rehearsal tracks for the 2016 festival I will be in contact with you
  • Organizing a rotation for helping facilitate the chorus during breaks and meals for the 2016 chorus. I am looking forward to continuing and formalizing our fantastic team effort
  • Discussing improvements to the Onsite Hearing Rubric, I will be in contact with you

Thanks again to the Following Choral Directors for their help in the Onsite Hearings or in facilitating the Chorus Rehearsals/breaks for the 2015 NEMFA Chorus:

Ethan Nash - Glastonbury HS

Stephanie Weigand - Harwood Union HS

Patricia Meyer - Brattleboro Union HS

Talia Mercandante - Ashland HS

Bridgett Gattie - Hopkinton Middle High School

Cailin O'Hara Monpelier HS

Stephanie Chambers - Hanover HS

Edward Wilkin - Fair Haven Union HS

Damon Coachman - Bethel HS

Susanne Norwood- Lyndon Institute

Danielle Carrier- North Country Union HS

Raymond Churchill - Griswold HS

Amy Ranta - Woodstock Academy

Christian Stanley - Stonington HS

Pamela Rodgers - Killingly HS

Denise Sanborn - Gilford HS

Daniel Graves- Rutland HS

Frank Arcari- Brien McMahon HS

Danielle Turner- Missisquoi Valley Union HS


Finally, a huge thanks to Frank Whitcomb for his outstanding performance in accompanying the chorus on the Bussleberg "Skip To My Lou."


I feel so privileged to work with so many outstanding music educators as part of the New England Music Festival Association. I look forward to seeing you all once again in Gilford, NH.


Most Sincerely,


Caleb Pillsbury


  2016 NEMFA Chorus Conductor
Joshua Habermann
Joshua Habermann was named director of the Dallas Symphony Chorus in December 2010 and began his tenure in August 2011. Habermann came to the Chorus from the University of Miami Frost School of Music, where he was associate professor and program director of choral studies and conducted the Frost Chorale and other choral ensembles. Habermann also led the Miami Master Chorale (Miami, FL) through the 2010-2011 academic year.
A native of California, Habermann is a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Texas at Austin, where he completed doctoral studies in conducting with Craig Hella Johnson. He has also studied under Helmuth Rilling (conducting), Scott Foglesong (piano) and David Jones (voice).
From 1996-2006 Habermann was assistant conductor of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and in 2006-2007 served as interim director. In that capacity he prepared the chorus for performances with conductors Michael Tilson Thomas and Charles Dutoit in concerts of Mozart, and Berlioz: La Damnation de Faust. Recordings as a singer with the SFSC include Christmas by the Bay (Decca Records), and Mahler Symphony No. 2 (London Records), also a Grammy nominee for Best Choral/Orchestral Recording.
Habermann has appeared in numerous conferences and festivals, including international engagements in Havana, Cuba (2002 Festival Internacional de Coros), Germany, Czech Republic, China and France. As a singer (tenor) he performs with the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus (Eugene, Oregon), where he can be heard on the Grammy Award-winning recording of Krzystof Penderecki's Credo. Other projects include two recordings with Austin-based Conspirare: Through the Green Fuse, and Requiem, a Grammy nominee for best choral recording in 2006. Habermann also maintains an interest in the Hawaiian choral tradition, and sings periodically with Kawaiolaonapukanileo, an ensemble dedicated to performing and preserving this unique repertoire.
Habermann's other interests include Latin American and Nordic music. His dissertation on the a cappella works of Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara was a Julius Herford Prize finalist for music research in 1997.
Habermann lives in Dallas with his wife Joanna Habermann (a children's choir director) and daughter Kira.  

  2016 NEMFA Orchestra Manager -
Anthony Brackett
Tony Brackett
The 2015 New England Music Festival Orchestra played an exciting performance at the concert last March. Maestro Robert Lehmann from the University of Southern Maine masterfully educated our young musicians through some old favorites as well as a piece from his native Mexico. I enjoyed seeing the growth over the three days. The respectful and professional behavior exhibited by the students not only to the adults but also to each other made me extremely proud to be a part of this organization. Many thanks to our hosts at Keene High School in Keene, NH. This was one of the smoothest festivals I can recall since my involvement with NEMFA. Bravo, Keene!

David Becker will be making a return visit to conduct our 2016 Concert Festival Orchestra. Maestro Becker is currently the Director of Orchestral Studies at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. In addition to standing on the podium before a wide selection of All-State Orchestras, Maestro Becker has conducted the NAfME all-National Honors Orchestra as well as the ASTA National Orchestra. Mr. Becker has conducted many professional and youth orchestras in the United States and I look forward to see and hear him working with the NEMFA Orchestra next March.


At last December's Solo & Ensemble Festival we launched a pilot program allowing violin students to perform pieces from a virtuoso list in order to gain bonus points from the adjudicator. This program will continue this year and will be extended to all string players. Please check our website after our annual June meeting for specific information.

The 2015 Concert Orchestra was exactly as one would hope - exhilarating, dynamic, exciting and meaningful. I congratulate all of our orchestra alumni from 2015 and hope to see many of you return next March. Thank you to all volunteers, parents, students, teachers and sponsors for contributing to such an outstanding festival experience for all of us.



Tony Brackett

Orchestra Manager 




  2016 NEMFA Orchestra Conductor -
David Becker
David E. Becker was appointed Interim Director of Orchestral Studies for 2013-14 at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, and he accepted the permanent position beginning September, 2014. He is serving as the Interim Conductor of the Lubbock Youth Symphony Orchestra for 2014-15.

Professor Becker, Professor Emeritus, was the Director of Orchestral Studies and Conductor of the Symphony, Chamber, and Opera Orchestras at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music (WI) from 2005-2012. He was the recipient of the Lawrence University 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award and received the Honorary Degree of Master of Arts in recognition of meritorious achievement in 2012. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the Fox Valley Symphony (WI) for his work as the Interim Conductor of the Fox Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra (Appleton, WI) during 2011.

Awarded Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2005, he was Director of Orchestras and Professor of the Graduate Orchestral Conducting Program from 1984-2005. Maestro Becker and the UW Symphony Orchestra received critical acclaim for their international tours to Central Europe (1998) and Spain (2001). He was the Associate Conductor of the Madison Symphony (1985-1992), Music Director/Conductor of the Racine Symphony (WI) (1989-1993), and the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from the Wisconsin Chapter of ASTA.

Before moving to Madison in 1984, Professor Becker was Director of Orchestras and Graduate Conducting at the University of Miami, Coral Gables. He went to Miami in 1980 from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music where he was Associate Professor of Applied Viola and Conductor of the String Arts Ensemble. During the 1980-82 seasons, Mr. Becker was appointed Assistant Conductor for Maestro Rainer Miedel and the Florida Philharmonic (Miami). Other resident conducting appointments have included the Northern Ohio (Oberlin), Greater Miami (FL) Youth Symphony Orchestras, and the Brevard (NC) Summer Music Festival.

Mr. Becker's career as an artist violist has included the Atlanta, Syracuse, Savannah, Louisville, Memphis, and Madison Symphonies, the Santa Fe and Miami Operas, the Sewanee (TN), Brevard (NC), and Peninsula (WI) Summer Music Festivals, the resident faculty string quartets at the Universities of Miami, Georgia, Memphis State, Oberlin Conservatory, and the Eduard Melkus String Quartet touring in the U.S. and Europe.

Mr. Becker is widely recognized for his dedication to teaching student musicians which has resulted in high school/university orchestra clinics, and guest conducting Regional and All-State Honor Orchestras in 42 states. More recently Professor Becker was invited to guest conduct the Zhuying Symphony Orchestra in Guanghou and Zhanjiinag (2011) China, the MENC All-National Honors Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC (2012), and serve as a clinician/conductor for the ASTA National Orchestra Conference (2013), and the Ohio State University Summer String Teacher's Workshop. Upcoming guest conducting includes Regional and All-State Honors Orchestras in Amarillo, San Antonio, Midland Odessa, Florida, Nevada, Nebraska, and the NEMFA New England Music Festival Orchestra in New Hampshire.

To contact David E. Becker, email


  2016 NEMFA Band Manager
Peter Roach
Peter Roach


Thank you everyone for a fantastic concert festival in Keene this past March. We are very excited to welcome Dr. James Patrick Miller back to NEMFA as this years guest conductor. We are in the process of picking a program now. We look forward to seeing you in December for the solo/ensemble festival. Thank you and have a wonderful summer.



Peter Roach


NEMFA Band Manager

Band Director, Fair Haven Union High School  

Fair Haven, Vermont.  

  2016 NEMFA Band Conductor
James Patrick Miller

 James Patrick Miller is the Douglas Nimmo Professor of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN. One of the nation's most storied collegiate touring wind ensembles, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra tours nationally each year and internationally every four years. At Gustavus Miller also teaches courses in conducting and music education. Professor Miller first joined the Gustavus music faculty in 2008 as interim conductor of the Gustavus and Vasa Wind Orchestras, also teaching courses in conducting, music education, and a January Term course, The Crossroads of Art Music and Popular Culture. Each summer Miller serves on the choral conducting faculty of the Performing Arts Institute at the Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, PA, an international training institute for advanced high school artist musicians.    

On September 1st, 2014 Miller released the album "Fantastique: Premieres for Trumpet and Wind Ensemble" on the MSR Classics label featuring trumpet virtuoso Eric Berlin and the UMass Wind Ensemble. About the disc, critic Henry Fogel wrote the following in FANFARE Magazine, "... All of the performances here are extremely engaged and persuasive ... But more impressive is the energy, imagination and commitment of each of the performances ... These are all performances that convey conviction and belief in the music." Since its release, this disc has received international recognition for its recording of Stephen Paulus' Concerto for Two Trumpets and Band. The concerto recording was nominated for a 2015 GRAMMY Award in the category of Best Contemporary Classical Composition, one of the only wind band recordings in history to receive a nod from the National Academy of Recording Artists.

From 2009-2014 Miller was Assistant Professor and Director of Wind Studies at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA, where he led the wind ensemble, symphony band, summer conducting institute, and taught graduate and undergraduate conducting. Under Miller's leadership the UMass wind bands twice appeared at the College Band Directors National Association Eastern Division Conference and performed with such noted artists as Frank Battisti, Keith Brion, Michael Burritt, Ayano Kataoka, Lynn Klock, and Charles Schlueter. From 2012-2014 Professor Miller served as the conducting pedagogue for the United States Coast Guard Band's Conductor Mentor program. He also led the US Coast Guard Band Chamber Players in concert in 2014. Miller's other former positions include Assistant Director of Wind Ensembles and Conductor of the Chorale at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY (2002-2006), Co-Artistic Director of the Sapphire Chamber Consort in Minneapolis (2006-2009) and teaching assistant positions at Ithaca College and the University of Minnesota.

Very active as a clinician and guest conductor, Miller has appeared throughout the United States with public school and festival ensembles, engaging with more than 25,000 high school students since 2009. In 2003 he received national recognition by winning the American Choral Directors Association National Conducting Prize at the graduate level. Ten years later Miller was recognized nationally again, this time for his research on Karel Husa's Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Concert Band with an invitation to present his work at the National Conference of the College Band Directors Association in Greensboro, NC. Dr. Miller has been involved in the commissioning of more than 30 works for a wide variety of vocal and instrumental ensembles with performances noted by such composers as Shawn Brogan Allison, Stephen Paulus, James Stephenson, Judith Weir, Dana Wilson, and Pulitzer Prize winning composers Karel Husa, Gunther Schuller, and Steven Stucky.

Originally from Winona, MN, Dr. Miller holds the DMA in conducting from the University of Minnesota where he was named a College of Liberal Arts and School of Music Graduate Research Fellow, the MM degree in conducting from Ithaca College, and a BM in music education magna cum laude from St. Olaf College. Professor Miller has been affiliated professionally with the College Band Directors National Association, NAfME/MENC, Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association, the American Choral Directors Association, and the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles. He was inducted as an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Tau Beta Sigma and Kappa Kappa Psi at UMass Amherst and elected into Pi Kappa Lambda in 2001. Miller resides in St. Peter, MN, with his wife, conductor and soprano Heidi Johanna Miller, their daughter, Linnea, and their two rambunctious kitties, Gandalf and Tisbury.
Lowell Mason House Project
Lowell Mason Poster

by Thomas E. Reynolds




May 31, 2015

Welcome to a new partner organization for Arts|Learning. As we go forward, we have found it important to form strategic alliances with like-minded organizations. The Lowell Mason House is such a group. In the future, we hope Arts|Learning and the Lowell Mason House will find opportunities to work together that will benefit both groups-as well as help bring music and the other arts to all the school children of Massachusetts.


The mission of the Lowell Mason House is to preserve, restore, and promote Lowell Mason's birthplace as a significant historical and educational resource.


  • Partnering with local arts organizations by providing office and meeting space to support the arts and the importance of arts education in our schools
  • Building an up-to-date rehearsal and performance space which will include music technology and recording facilities
  • Restoring and preserving the house to include a Lowell Mason museum


All cultivated within the home of the Father of Music Education, and fueled by a living endowment, fulfilling Lowell Mason's dream that "Children must be taught music as they are taught to read."

A very successful find-raising event for The Lowell Mason House was an inaugural gala, "Building the Ground Floor", on Sunday, May 17, 2015 at Chiara Bistro in Westwood. The Gala included a sit-down brunch with cash bar, and silent auction. Close to $11,000.00 was raised from that effort alone...enough to help us move forward and make the necessary adjustments to the basement that will strengthen the house's footing on the basement and will allow the basement to be used as a meeting space very soon.  

The Lowell Mason House continues to be in the process of raising the necessary $500,000.00 to complete the restoration of the house, to turn it into a museum and a meeting place. Now that the house has been saved and moved, the next step is to make the basement functional snd to restore the interior and exterior of the house and equip it with services, such as electricity, and water.


One major fund-raising project for the Lowell Mason House which also may be used to support music education initiatives in local schools is the Lowell Mason Music Education poster, shown at the top of this article. A beautiful, full color poster designed by Mrs. Barbara Bose, Foundation members are hoping that music educators around New England would be interested in having  the poster prominently displayed in music rooms throughout the region. The poster sells for $15.00 each and directly supports the restoration of the Lowell Mason House...however, the Lowell Mason House is open to have student music groups at various schools sell the poster for $15.00, with $10.00 going to the restoration of the Lowell Mason House and $5.00 going to the local music student group as a way of supporting student music education initiatives. We are hopeful that a number of schools will want to take part in this fund-raising project.


Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today. Make checks payable to: The Lowell Mason House, P. O. Box 913 Medfield, MA 02052. Your contribution is tax-deductible as a charitable contribution to the extent provided by U.S. tax law.


- Thomas E. Reynolds



Once again, we hope that you enjoy this format of the Bulletin. Please feel free to drop me a line at for any comments or suggestions to improve the Bulletin. It will also have a direct link on our website,

Hope that you have a great summer!


Thomas Reynolds

New England Music Festival Association, Inc.