MPAC Music Students of April - Outstanding Piano Players
Students from schools based in Madison, Parsippany, Morristown, Florham Park, Chester, Chatham, Oak Ridge, Kinnelon and Randolph were honored as Mayo Performing Arts Center April Music Students of the Month – Outstanding Piano Players -- prior to the Thursday, April 20 performance by the Joey Alexander Trio.
The students were recognized for their achievements on stage prior to the concert and had the opportunity to meet Joey Alexander prior to the event.
Students were nominated by their teachers and were chosen by the Theatre’s Education Department based on their commitment to and excellence in the performing arts. The Theatre will honor a group of students every month throughout the season and invites area teachers to nominate students for this honor. Students will be invited to perform at a year-end recital in June.
Music Students of the Month are: (bios provided by school)
Ellie Cullin - Grade 10, Madison High School, Madison, Nominated by Russ Batsch
Ellie is a piano player in jazz band, pit orchestra, and plays the marimba in Marching Band. Ellie is amazing, she learned the pit book in under 1 month. Her dedication to the piano and keyboard is really quite impressive. Ellis has been taking private instruction for almost 10 years now, and can seriously play just about anything that is asked of her. On top of that she is a super nice kid, with great manners and a really impressive work ethic.
Jessica Currao - Grade 8, Brooklawn Middle School, Parsippany Nominated by Joseph Stella
Jessica is currently a tenor saxophone player in our 9th grade band, but she is also a wonderfully talented pianist. She has played piano in our middle school jazz band and pit orchestra and has worked diligently to learn these challenging parts. Outside of school she has won piano competitions and has performed in winner’s recitals at New York’s prestigious Carnegie Hall.
Clara Gong - Grade 12, Morristown High School, Morristown, Nominated by David Gallagher
Clara is an extremely talented piano player that has been an absolute joy to work with over her years in high school. She is a very talented soloist performing works for the classical cannon in recitals and chamber performances at the school. However, Clara also uses her talents at the piano to help numerous musical organizations throughout the school. She has frequently accompanied the high school choirs for their Spring and Winter concerts. She has also played in the pit orchestras for several of the school musicals at both of the middle school and high school. In addition to playing piano, Clara is also a very fine violin player participating in the high school orchestra and select chamber orchestra.
Samantha Howden - Grade 7, Ridgedale Middle School, Florham Park, Nominated by Sondra Paulson
Samantha is a remarkable musician, participates in the choral program at Ridgedale, where she has accompanied the chorus. She has participated in the New Jersey Federation of Music Clubs music festival every year and has received a Superior rating every year. She entered the MEA Honors auditions and performed in the MEA Honors recital the last three years. She participates in the MEA annual auditions every year and has always received an Outstanding rating. She has performed at Carnegie Hall the last four years after placing Gold in the Golden Keys Music Festival Competition. She will be performing at Carnegie Hall this coming May after placing Silver in the Golden Key Music Festival Competition. Samantha studies piano with Barbara Landi Hause in Florham Park.
Ella Huang - Grade 8, The Peck School, Morristown, Nominated by Andrew Lyman
Ella has proven to be a very serious pianist and all around musician both in and out of school. Ella has participated in various musical ensembles at The Peck School such as choir, the winner musical, and the upper school talent show. She has shown great artistic promise in the area of piano by participating and placing in many area competitions and music festivals such as a Gold Medalist in the 2016 Golden Key International Music Festival & second place in the 2016 Music Educators Association of NJ Piano Competition. Ella is a superb musician that is always eager to perform, shows a genuine interest in music, and is extremely modest about her abilities which far exceed others’ talents.
Christopher Kopreski - Grade 11, West Morris Central High School, Chester, Nominated by Margret Schaefer
Junior jazz pianist Chris Kopreski has been the foundation of the rhythm section in the Wets Morris Central HS Jazz Band for here years. Combining fluid technique, tasteful and appropriate style, and musical maturity beyond his years, Chris is comfortable playing in the funk, rock, swing, bebop, and Latin styles. His ability not only to play what’s on the page but also to comp and improvise sets him aside from other high school musicians. Away from the piano, Chris also excels academically and on the stage.
Jasmine Meyer - Grade 8, Black River Middle School, Chester, Nominated by Kathleen Vespignani
Jasmine is an incredibly accomplished musician, having experience as a singer and instrumentalist. Ms. Meyer has been a part of the various musical ensembles in Black River Middle School, including Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Chorus, and Select Chorus. Her piano skills are like no other that I have seen or heard in a very long time. Jasmine’s dedication to her musical craft is amazing and inspiring to others her age. She has performed in competitions and for school performances, both on a local stage and in more prestigious venues. She is a dedicated artist and works to the standards of a true virtuoso.
Andrew Rosenkilde - Grade 10, Morristown High School, Morristown, Nominated by Michael Russo
Andrew is the Pianist in the Morristown High School Jazz Ensemble and a Percussionist in the Morristown HS Wind Ensemble. He is also a member of the Marching Band and the Pit Orchestra. Andrew has proven to me by participating in these ensembles that he can be responsible and manage his time well. He has also participated in many other musical activities outside of MHS that have enhanced his knowledge and appreciation of music including Private Piano Study, 3 time Gold winner for the Golden Key piano competition, performed at Golden Key winners recital at Carnegie Hall 2 times (3rd time in June 2017), and has opened for professional pianist Alina Kiryayeva’s concert at Morristown’s Methodist Church’s Abendmusik recital series.
Siwagorn “Net” Soper - Grade 9, Jefferson Township High School, Oak Ridge, Nominated by James Wynne
Net has already demonstrated his fine technical mastery of the piano keyboard. He is only a freshman, but he exhibits great promise for the coming years, especially as a piano accompanist for the high school chorus. He has also demonstrated an acute sense of pitch, making him one of my leaders within the tenor section of the chorus. I am looking forward to seeing Net accomplish great musical heights over the next few years.
Evelyn Tomaro - Grade 8, Chatham Middle School, Chatham, Nominated by Christie Spriggs
Evelyn is an outstanding pianist. She has been playing piano and competing successfully on the instrument for several years. She has additionally performed at several places including Carnegie Hall. Evelyn has actively participated in our school district as an accompanist for the elementary and middle school choral groups for ht past four years. She has recently written a piece of music on the piano that she is currently transcribing for our 8th grade band to perform in the spring.
Sarah Wang - Grade 12, Kinnelon High School, Kinnelon, Nominated by Bonnie Hendricks
Sarah plays an integral part in all aspects of the Kinnelon High School Music Department and always encourages her peers by the effective leadership of her example. She is currently a member of our percussion section in our Honors Wind Ensemble class, Jazz Band, and a vocalist in our Contemporary Choir. Sarah has continued to study the piano and has performed as a soloist for many school and community functions in Kinnelon. The success of her continued dedication to the study of music and piano performance can be seen through her many accolades, including high place rankings at the Crescendo International Music Competition, Golden Key International Music Festival, NJMEA Young Artist Solo Competition, and solo performances at Carnegie Hall.
Frank Zhang - Grade 12, Randolph High School, Randolph, Nominated by David Miller
Over the course of 4 years Frank has gone from a student who never had played jazz to an excellent jazz musician and band leader. I helped introduce Frank to the music and various ways to practice, and he took it from there. I have featured Frank as a solo pianist at the RHS annual jazz concerts every year. Frank has formed a combo that has played numerous dates over the past two years. His example is one I point out to all my students. In my estimation, Frank’s hard work and dedication to his craft have earned him the honor of being named jazz musician of the month.
The Music Student of the Month Program is generously underwritten by:
About The Provident Bank Foundation:
The Provident Bank Foundation was established by New Jersey's oldest bank in 2003 to enhance the quality of life in New Jersey through support of not-for-profit groups, institutions, schools and other organizations that provide services in communities served by Provident Bank. Since its founding, the Foundation has provided more than $18 million in grants for programs focusing on education, health, wellness, recreation, the arts and social and civic services.
About Music Student of the Month
The Mayo Performing Arts Center is thrilled to continue the Music Student of the Month (MSOM) Program this year. This student recognition program was recognized as “outstanding” by the New Jersey State Council of the Arts, and has honored hundreds of students over the last twelve years. Thank you to all you educators who have taken time to nominate students!
Our program is not designed to simply honor extraordinary musicians, but to honor those students who put forth a tremendous effort to embody what it is to be a good member of a band, choir, or orchestra. We are looking for Morris County students who demonstrate extraordinary leadership, personal development, and an overall sense of musicianship.
Each month, we will choose 2-8 students representing various schools. Students who are selected will receive two tickets (one for themselves and one for a chaperone) to a special performance at The Mayo Performing Arts Center during which they will be honored on stage.
We will be handling all nominations through email. To nominate students, please have your MSOM representative email the following information each month:
- Nominating instructor and contact information every month (including phone number, email address and school address)
- Student’s name
- Student’s grade level
- Description (at least a paragraph) as to why they should be chosen