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RPO honors outstanding music educators

March 30, 2016

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For Immediate Release:  March 30, 2016

Media Contact:   Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795, sally@sallycohenpr.com

RPO Inforpo.org, facebook.com/RochesterPhilharmonic, twitter.com/RochesterPhil, rochesterphilharmonic.blogspot.com



2016 awards to be presented April 14 at ‘Music Educators’ Night at the RPO’

Rochester, NY – Four area music educators have been chosen for their contributions to their students, schools and communities by the musicians of Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO). They will receive the orchestra’s 28th annual RPO Musicians’ Awards for Outstanding Music Educators on Thursday, April 14 at “Music Educators’ Night at the RPO,” immediately following intermission at the 7:30 p.m. Yuja Wang concert.

The RPO’s 2016 Outstanding Music Educator Award winners are:

  • Band Director: William Baldwin, Twelve Corners Middle School, Brighton Central School District
  • Choral Director: Brian Bohrer, Rush-Henrietta High School, Rush-Henrietta Central School District
  • Classroom Specialist: Kelly Follman, Francis Parker School #23, Rochester City School District
  • Classroom Specialist: Kathleen Sullivan, Pine Brooke Elementary School, Greece Central School District

Founded in 1988, the 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.

“We want to see how they engage students in the classroom, and how they are creating an atmosphere of excitement toward music,” explains Anna Steltenpohl, chair of the Awards committee and RPO oboe and English horn player. “We want to see how they are bringing music alive.”

“I benefited endlessly from stellar classroom and private music instruction,” adds committee member and RPO horn player Maura McCune Corvington. “I would not have pursued and succeeded in music without these experiences. Music educators deserve to be commended as often as possible for deeply enriching others’ lives!”

More about the 2016 winners:

William Baldwin is celebrating his 34th year in public education as a band director, and has taught every age level from elementary to college. Currently a junior high band director at the Twelve Corners Middle School in Brighton, he conducts the 8th Grade Band and Jazz Band. Baldwin received his Bachelor’s in Music Education at SUNY Potsdam and his Master’s in Trumpet Performance, also at SUNY Potsdam. He enjoys composing and arranging music, and has arranged numerous works for concert and marching band. He’s also written a Beginner’s Method for brass instruments. He is a NYSSMA adjudicator for Solo and Ensemble Festivals as well as an active guest conductor at area music festivals. A frequent user of technology in his music classroom, Baldwin has led numerous presentations on the subject at state and local conference. He has also served as the Solo Festival coordinator for the Monroe County School Music Association for nearly 25 years.

Brian Bohrer is now in his 15th year teaching choral music in the Rush-Henrietta Central School District. His choirs have earned Level V Gold with Distinction ratings at the NYSSMA Major Ensemble evaluation, and Level IV Superior ratings in evaluation at the Hochstein Ensemble Festival. Currently, he directs three choirs at the Rush-Henrietta Senior High School and teaches an Introduction to Theater course. His Bel Canto Singers have traveled to Florida, New York, Boston, Toronto, Gettysburg, and Chicago. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Education and Vocal Performance from Ithaca College and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music. Bohrer made his professional debut with Ithaca Opera in 2000, and has since performed roles with Opera Rochester, Rochester Opera Factory, Empire State Lyric Theatre, and Rochester Lyric Opera. In addition, he has sung with the Rochester Oratorio Society, Greece Choral Society, and as a soloist with the Irondequoit Chorale. He also directs the Asbury Singers at Asbury First United Methodist Church, and during the summer he enjoys directing musicals for the Brighton Summer Arts program. He resides in Irondequoit with his wife Melissa and son Charles.

Kelly Follman holds a Bachelor’s in Music Education from the Crane School of Music and a Master’s in Interdisciplinary Arts for Children from SUNY Brockport. She currently teaches in the Rochester City School District at Francis Parker Elementary School #23 as the Instrumental and Vocal teacher. Follman directs the Compass Choir and two bands, as well as directs and produces two elementary musicals each year. She holds the position of Eastman Pathways program liaison between the city school district and the Eastman School of Music. This year, she is a recipient of the RCSD Board of Education “Yes We Can” Award for her work with children in urban education, specifically at Francis Parker School. Follman is a woodwind specialist who performs in area pit orchestras and serves as costumer for community theater productions. She passionately believes that children in the city of Rochester should have access to the same music-making opportunities as their peers in surrounding communities, and works diligently to achieve this.

Kathleen Sullivan has been teaching vocal and general music for 27 years, and currently teaches K-5 music at Pine Brook Elementary School in the Greece Central School District. She received a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Nazareth College and a Master’s from the Eastman School of Music. She has completed three levels of Orff Schulwerk training at Eastman, three levels of Kodály training at Hartt School of Music and Nazareth College, and studied at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria. Sullivan is a past president of the Greater Rochester American Orff Schulwerk Association (GRAOSA), and has served three terms on the board for that organization. She has presented music workshops for GRAOSA, Nazareth College, and NYSSMA. In December of 2015, Sullivan and Dr. Keith Koster from Nazareth College presented a research grant paper entitled “Standardized Test Scores and Instrumental Music Students Who Receive Pullout Instruction:  A Preliminary Analysis” at the New York State School Music Association Winter Conference. The findings from this study will be published in the May 2016 edition of School Music News. Sullivan believes that the power of music education fosters success in our children through musical inspiration, creativity, and self-discipline.

The 2016 Awards are sponsored by Jeff Reimer Piano Service.

The RPO’s concert on Thursday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. (also Saturday, April 16 at 8 p.m.) in Kodak Hall in Eastman Theatre features the Rochester debut of international phenomenon, Yuja Wang. The 29-year-old pianist is widely recognized as one of the most important artists of her generation, and has performed with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, conductors and musicians. Regularly lauded for her controlled, prodigious technique, Wang has been praised for her authority over the most complex technical demands of the repertoire, the depth of her musical insight, as well as her fresh interpretations and charismatic stage presence. Wang will play a different Bartók piece here each night: Piano Concerto No. 1 on Thursday the 14th, and Piano Concerto No. 3 on Saturday the 16th.  Music Director Ward Stare will conduct Yuja Wang, which will also include Saint-Saëns’ “Danse Bacchanale” from Samson and Delilah, and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. Tickets start at $22, and may be purchased in person at the Eastman Theatre Box Office (433 East Main St.) and at all Wegmans That’s T.H.E. Ticket! locations, by phone at (585) 454-2100, or online at rpo.org. Available student ticket prices can be found at RPO Student Tickets.

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 13,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children.

Media please note:  Headshots of all the award winners are available, and interviews and photo/footage opportunities can be arranged.


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