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RPO Musicians Honor Area Music Educators

March 05, 2007

Three educators from Canandaigua, Spencerport and the Eastman School to be honored on May 3

Rochester, NY – Three local music educators will be honored for their contributions to their students, schools and communities with the 19th annual RPO Musicians’ Awards for Outstanding Music Educators on Thursday, May 3.  The awards will be given immediately following intermission on that concert which is designated as “Music Educators Night at the RPO.”

The award winners and their categories are:

  • Amy Story, Canandaigua Academy (Choral Award)
  • John Viavattine, Spencerport High School (Band Award)
  • Donna Brink Fox, Eastman School of Music (Special Award)

RPO violinist Lara Sipols, Chair of the 2007 Music Educators Award Committee, said: “It’s my honor to present these awards to these very deserving music educators.  What makes them so unique is their unusual ability to pass on their love of music to so many children in our community.  The incredibly high level of musical achievement by their performing ensembles is a result of their energy, commitment and talent.”

Founded in 1988, the RPO Musicians’ Awards program works to strengthen the relationship between area music educators and the musicians of the RPO.  The awards commend those teachers who have shown both educational and musical excellence, and recognize the positive influence they have on the musicians and audiences of the future.  Administrators, educators, parents and students submit nominations that are then reviewed by a committee comprised of RPO musicians and community educators.  For more information, please go to: www.rpo.org/s_4/s_28/p_419/RPO_Musicians%E2%80%99_Awards_for_Outstanding_Music_Educators

Amy Story, Canandaigua Academy (Choral Award)
Amy Story is in her sixth year as choral director at Canandaigua Academy, where she directs the Academy Mixed Chorus, Women’s Choir, Madrigal Choir and Jazz Choir.  She also has been music director for the Academy Players’ many musical theater productions.  Prior to joining the Academy staff, she taught in the Canandaigua Middle School, the Corning-Painted Post School District and at Arkport Central Schools.  Amy has conducted Area All-State and All-County Choral Groups in Pennsylvania and New York and serves as a New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) vocal adjudicator.  She is listed in Who’s Who in America and was named a Paul Harris fellow by Rotary International for service to her community.  Amy also has been a cooperating teacher for Mansfield University and Ithaca College student teachers.

John Viavittine, Spencerport High School (Band Award)
Saxophonist John Viavittine is an accomplished woodwind specialist.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in music from Nazareth College and has taught at Spencerport High School since 1998.  John is most well-known for his direction of the Jazz Band, which has been ranked as one of the top high school bands in the country, ranking first nationwide in the heritage music festivals.  He also directs the Spencerport Wind Ensemble and is co-director of the Spencerport Symphonic Band.  As a member of Mambo Kings, John performs in Rochester and tours throughout the country.

Donna Brink Fox, Eastman School of Music (Special Award)
The Interim Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Eastman School of Music, Dr. Fox has been on the Eastman faculty since 1984 where she holds an endowed position as Eisenhart Professor of Music Education. She is the doctoral advisor in music education, and designed and directed the early childhood music program for the Eastman Community Music School.  She also created The Gibbs Street Connection, a professional development program for music teachers in collaboration with the RPO.  She recently received the Richard Snook Award from the Monroe County School Music Association for her work with teachers and young children in the greater Rochester community.  She has received Eastman’s Eisenhart Award for Excellence in Teaching, Outstanding Alumni Awards from Ohio University School of Music and Ohio University College of Fine Arts, and a Parents’ Choice Award for excellence in published materials for families and children. 

Tickets to the Thursday, May 3 Philharmonics concert at 8 p.m. with Music Director Christopher Seaman and guest pianist Stephen Kovacevich are available at www.rpo.org, through the box office (585) 454-2100 or at any Wegmans location.  RPO Box Office hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (non-concert Saturdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.).  Wegmans is open 24/7.  A convenience fee may apply.

Now in its 84th season, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music.  The Orchestra is passionately dedicated to outstanding musical performance at the highest artistic levels, and has a unique tradition of musical versatility, commitment to music education in the broadest sense and a deep and enduring engagement with the community.  The RPO has been honored with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award, and two recent ASCAP awards for adventurous programming.   


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