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RPO honors outstanding music educators

May 14, 2015

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For Immediate Release:  May 14, 2015
Media Contacts:   Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795, sally@sallycohenpr.com
RPO Inforpo.org, facebook.com/RochesterPhilharmonic, twitter.com/RochesterPhil, rochesterphilharmonic.blogspot.com



2015 awards will be presented May 21 at ‘Music Educators’ Night at the RPO’


Rochester, NY – Five area music educators have been chosen for contributions to their students, schools and communities by the musicians of Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) with the 27th annual RPO Musicians’ Awards for Outstanding Music Educators. They will receive their awards on Thursday, May 21st’s RPO concert at Kodak Hall in a presentation  immediately following intermission at what is designated “Music Educators’ Night at the RPO.” 

The 2015 awards winners are: Kim Fink (Outstanding String Director, Greece Central School District); Shawn Halquist (Outstanding High School Band Director, Brockport Central School District), Jennifer Lewis (Special Award recognizing tremendous commitment to music education in our area, Victor Central School District), Debbie Parker (Outstanding Elementary Band Director, Brighton Central School District), and Linda Rosebrough (Outstanding General Music Specialist, Rush-Henrietta Central School District).

Kim Fink has taught in the Greece Schools for 30 years and is currently orchestra director and strings teacher at Pine Brook and West Ridge elementary schools, as well as the Greece Central School District’s Teacher on Special Assignment for K-5 Music. A native of Greece, Kim started her musical studies on double bass in the fourth grade at Holmes Road School. During high school, Kim was a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and studied string bass with the late Oscar Zimmerman. Kim is a former member of the Tucson Symphony, in Tucson, Arizona. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Performance/Double Bass from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Master of Music Degree in Music Education from the Eastman School of Music. Kim has taught elementary, middle and high school level orchestra, as well as beginner band and primary general music class. She has certification in the Suzuki, Orff-Schulwerk and Kodaly methods and is a member of the National Association of Music Educators and the New York State School Music Associations. Kim lives in Greece with her husband, Carl, and two daughters.

Shawn Halquist is Band Director at Brockport HS and is in his 30th year of teaching, 18th at Brockport.  His responsibilities at BHS include Concert, Jazz and Marching Bands; and lessons and Music Theory. He has also served as Music Department Chair for 11 years. Shawn is an active trumpet performer in the Rochester area and is a member of the Eastman Community School Music Educators’ Wind Band, the Great Lakes Wind Ensemble, and the Brockport Big Band.  He is in demand as an arranger for marching ensembles and has been an adjudicator for all types of music festivals and marching shows across the country.  Shawn is a native of Wilcox, PA and holds degrees from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and SUNY Binghamton.  He has guest conducted concert and jazz festivals in New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Shawn and his wife Deanna live in Brockport and are the proud parents of twins sons: Noah, music composition major at Syracuse University; and Cody, a Masters’ of French horn performance candidate at Yale University. 


Jennifer Lewis received a Master of Science in Experiential Education from Minnesota State University, and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Nazareth College in Rochester. She has worked extensively with young children in vocal/general music education. Currently, she works for the Victor Central School District teaching vocal/general music to grades K-3, and directing an annual Choral/Orff performance for third grade student. She has also served as a clinician for local workshops sponsored by Nazareth College, BOCES, and Victor Central Schools. Jennifer mentors student teachers from Nazareth as well as high school interns from Victor Central School District. In addition to teaching in public school, Jennifer teaches beginning piano privately and has directed summer theater programs at Creative Themes Day Camp in Rochester. Jennifer currently runs a "Broadway Bound" summer program for kids to experience choreographed dancing, acting, and singing on stage through the Victor Recreation Department.


Deborah Sinacore Parker has been an instrumental music teacher and band director at French Road Elementary School in the Brighton district since 1992. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from SUNY Fredonia in Music Education and Music Therapy, and a Masters of Music in Flute Performancefrom Boston University. She currently performs with the Finger Lakes Symphony Orchestra and the Greater Rochester Women’s Philharmonic. Debbie has been a director of the flute camp at the Hochstein School of Music and Dance, and is active with the Rochester Flute Association. She will participate in a panel discussion entitled "Pass it On: Advocacy 101" at the 2015 National Flute Association Convention in Washington, D.C.  She has presented clinics for the New York State Band Directors Association regional conference, and is currently a flute consultant for the William S. Haynes Flute Company. Deborah resides in Fairport with her husband Todd and son Johnathan, and can be found rowing on the Erie Canal with the Rochester Boat Club. 


Linda Rosebrough has taught elementary vocal music in the Rush-Henrietta School District since 1998, following prior teaching experience in Skaneateles, Weedsport, Bloomfield and Genesee Community College. She completed Levels 1, 2 and 3 of the Orff-Schulwerk teacher education course at the Eastman School of Music, and has been a member of the Greater Rochester American Orff-Schulwerk Association for 17 years, serving as the newsletter editor for six years. She credits the amazing workshops with nationally recognized presenters with the most influential part of her professional development through the years. Lisa also serves as the music director at the Avon United Methodist Church and teaches private piano lessons. She received a bachelor's degree from the State University of Potsdam and a master's degree from Northwestern University.


“Without outstanding music educators like these, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra would not exist,” states Herb Smith, RPO trumpeter and co-chair with RPO English horn/oboist Anna Steltenpohl of the 2015 Music Educators Awards Committee. “Every musician in the orchestra owes his or her musical career to a great music educator, and I am proud to be able to honor them with this award.”


Founded in 1988, the RPO Musician’s Educator Awards program works to strengthen the relationship between area music educators and the musicians of the RPO.  The awards commend those teaches who have shown both educational and musical excellence and who recognize the positive influence they have on musicians and audiences of the future.  Administrators, educators, parents and students submit nominations that are then reviewed by a committee comprised of community educators and RPO musicians.


The RPO’s concert on Thursday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m. is Dvorák’s “New World” Symphony with the return of guest conductor Yoav Talmi. Dvor™ák’s folk-inspired symphony captures the unsinkable spirit and limitless potential of America, while Juliana Athayde (The Caroline W. Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair)—who is currently celebrating her 10th season as RPO Concertmaster—sparkles on Sibelius’ ethereal Violin Concerto in D Minor. The orchestra will also give Sibelius’ Lemminkäinen’s Return its first RPO performance. Tickets start at $22 ($10 student tickets) and are available in person at the Eastman Theatre Box Office (433 East Main Street) or at area Wegmans; by phone at (585) 454-2100; or online at rpo.org.


The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has been committed to enriching and inspiring our community through the art of music since its founding in 1922. The RPO presents approximately 150 concerts and broadcasts a year, serving up to 170,000 people through ticketed events, education and community engagement activities, and concerts in schools and community centers throughout the region. Recently appointed 12th Music Director Ward Stare joins the ranks of former notable RPO music directors, including Eugene Goossens, José Iturbi, Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman and Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik has earned a national reputation for excellence in pops programming during his 20-year tenure with the RPO. With Michael Butterman as Principal Conductor for Education and Community Engagement (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair)—the first position of its kind in the country—the RPO reaches more than 12,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children.


Media please note:  Headshots of the award winners are available, and interviews and photo/footage opportunities can be arranged. High-resolution images for 2014/15Philharmonics concerts may be downloaded at: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B8FkJzlaIpThcVY4TS1ScWhlcDQ&usp=sharing.



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