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Recommend virtue to your children; it alone, not money, can make them happy.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Inspiring Truth for Teachers






Newsletter | January

AROUND THE STATE Events and News from our 14 Districts


Newsletter | January

DISTRICT ONE • Drs. Larisa and Steven Elisha (Elaris Duo), Georgia Southern University Strings Division faculty members, recently released its second CD for MSR Classics, DUO VIRTUOSO II: Works for Violin and Cello - Honegger, Ravel, Schulhoff. The new CD, recorded in Sprague Hall at Yale University, "features an exciting and colorful program of 20th-Century European masterpieces written between the two World Wars": Maurice Ravel's Sonata for Violin and Cello (1920-22), Arthur Honegger's Sonatina for Violin and Cello (1932), and Erwin Schulhoff's Duo for Violin and Cello (1925). The CD is available at Amazon and MSR-Classics: AMAZON BUTTON


To read additional reviews: CLICK HERE BUTTON


• As part of the Apprentice-Mentorship outreach initiative of the Georgia Southern Symphony and Georgia Southern University Strings Division, the Golden Isles Youth Orchestra (GMEA District 8), has entered into a collaboration with the “Eagle Nation” mu-


sicians. Georgia Southern University Strings Faculty, Dr. Steven Elisha (Director of Orchestras and Head of the String Division) and Dr. Larisa Elisha (Coordinator of Upper Strings Studies) have formed this exciting union with the GIYO and the high school class from Glynn Academy to provide high school string players residing throughout Coastal Georgia with educational and musical opportunities. The Golden Isles Youth Orchestra, under the direction of Jorge Pena, is entering its twelfth year of supporting school and community based opportunities for elementary, middle and high school students to play and perform classical music. Georgia Southern University string majors, Benjamin Cork (violin student of Dr. Larisa Elisha) and William Page (cello student of Dr. Steven Elisha), travel to Brunswick weekly to assist in orchestra rehearsals at Glynn Academy High School (Nathaniel Roper, orchestra and choral director) and teach private instrumental lessons. In February 2018, the GIYO string players will have the opportunity to participate in the Strings at Southern Chamber Music Festival and the Georgia Southern Symphony Concert, under the baton of Dr. Steven Elisha. Additionally, the Georgia Southern Symphony will be the sponsoring organization for the creation of a Glynn County Tri-M Music Honor Orchestra, a program affiliate of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). Past participants in the Georgia Southern Symphony Apprentice-Mentorship Program include the Savannah-Armstrong Youth Orchestra, Mary Green, orchestra director, Lorraine Jones Co-Founder and Executive Director, and the Mill Creek High School Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Dana Ballard and Victoria Brown.

Newsletter | January


DISTRICT FOUR One of the most influential students of the band program is Jahkee Johnson, a double amputee student who is currently the trombone section leader. Born with the extremely rare disease of tibial hemimelia. Jahkee is among the most active students within the marching band because he does not allow this condition to deter his hard work and determination. In addition to being a model band student, Jahkee excels in the classroom as an Advanced Placement student with a 3.3 GPA. Jahkee was featured on CBS46 news (see link).

• The Cedar Grove High School Band, under the direction of Davion Battle, began this school year by receiving the Most Improved Band during the Vanguard Band Room Nation Invitational, the Drum Major Leadership Award, and an invitation to one of Dekalb County Schools' biggest band functions, the MLK Extravaganza Battle of the Bands. The motto of the Saints band: our time, our turn, your tears.


Newsletter | January

SOUND TAPP DISTRICT FIVE • SoundTapp, a group from High Meadows School in Roswell, GA performed as an invited guest at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference in San Antonio over the summer. With over 27,000 attendees, ISTE is the largest educational technology conference in the world. SoundTapp is a small ensemble made up of five middle school students making music on iPads. They use the Garageband app on the iPads to make live music together. All of the members

have music training on real acoustic instruments as well. The electronic instruments allow for extensive creativity without the limitations of learning an acoustic instrument. SoundTapp debut was at the GMEA In-Service in 2015. They performed again in 2016, as part of a clinic, and again in 2017, as a lobby performance group. SoundTapp will also perform at the National Association for Independent Schools National Conference that will take place this March in Atlanta.



Newsletter Newsletter || January January

fall 2017 // georgia music news



DISTRICT SIX • The Sandy Creek High School Marching Band, directors John Kelley and Erica Schiller, won Grand Champion at the 2017 Berkmar Marching Invitational. In addition, the Sandy Creek HS Marching Band received first place for their division in all categories: music, band, color guard, drum major, and percussion.

• McIntosh High School’s marching band, under the direction of Barbara Baker and Michelle Amosu, earned several accolades for their innovative props this year. McIntosh’s props were a collaborative project between the band and graphic design class. Graphic Arts formed creative teams to listen to the music and used the show title, "True Colors," to propose a creative design and storyboard. The winning team’s prop designs were incorporated into this year’s show. This collaboration saved McIntosh both the design and set up fee usually associated with the company that printed their props.

• “That Viola Kid,” Drew Forde began his viola studies in Amanda Moran’s sixth grade orchestra at Booth Middle School in Fayette County. Following graduation from McIntosh High School, where he was a member of Jim Hagberg’s orchestra, Drew studied at the McDuffie Center of Mercer University. From there he went on to graduate school at Juilliard where he began to connect with audiences via social media. Known as “That Viola Kid,” he is now one of the most followed classical musicians on Instagram. This month he performed for two sold-out young people’s concerts at Spivey Hall. Thank you to GMEA members, Amanda Moran and Jim Hagberg, for establishing a great musical foundation for Drew.

• Barbara Baker, Director of Bands at McIntosh High School, was selected as the Georgia representative for the 20th Annual 50 Directors Who Make A Difference presented by SBO Magazine. • Kathy Saucier, orchestra director at Union Grove Middle School, was named Teacher of the Year at her school. Kathy was also named as one of six semi-finalists for Henry County Teacher of the Year.

• The Whitewater High School Wind Ensemble, Jack Jean and Madison Argo Directors, will perform as a Guest Ensemble at the 2018 University of Alabama Honor Band Festival on Friday, February 2nd. 6

Newsletter | January


then came to Cass High last October 24th to rehearse with Dr. Stefanie Cash of Berry College. The students performed that evening to a standing room only audience of parents, administrators and central office personnel. Preceding the elementary concert was by a performance by the combined Cass and Adairsville High School Choruses. The high school students joined the elementary students in singing the national anthem. It was a great evening of music making and a wonderful way to display choral growth from elementary to high school levels.

• Dr. Ben Geyer is Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Jazz at the University of West Georgia. He was previously at Oberlin Conservatory of Music. • Alex Sutton is Assistant Director of Choirs at the University of West Georgia. He comes from his doctoral studies at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. • The Armuchee Elementary School Honor Chorus (4th and 5th grade) sang as part of the Rome Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert on December 9, 2017.

• On October 24, 2017, at their annual Fall Concert, The Ringgold Middle School Symphonic Band was presented with the Exemplary Performance Award for the 2016-2017 school year. The exemplary performance award recognizes ensemble programs for their achievements in all GMEA sponsored events.

Guest conductor for the Rome Symphony was Rolando Salazar of the Atlanta Opera Orchestra. The Armuchee Elementary Honor Chorus were guest artists for the Rome/Floyd County Retired Teacher's Luncheon on December 13, 2017. Armuchee Elementary School is a part of the Floyd County School System.

• The Woodland High School Band, under the direction of Eric Willoughby, Michael Kobito, and Geana Gault will represent Georgia in the 2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

• The annual Bartow County Elementary Honor chorus brings together students from all twelve Bartow County Elementary schools and Cartersville City Elementary. These 130 students learned four songs with their individual music teachers


Newsletter Newsletter || January January



Newsletter | January

DISTRICT NINE • The Dean Rusk Middle School Symphonic Band, director Ricky Williams, was the featured band at the Reinhardt University Middle School Honor Band Clinic on Friday, November 3rd.

• Dr. Brian Williams and Jana Williams were participants in "Tanglewood Conversations," a two-day symposium held at Boston University in September. Representing high school chorus, Brian (Lassiter High School) and Jana (Walton High School), were among the select group of fifty music educators from across the country who met to further the work of the landmark Tanglewood Symposium held sixty years ago.

• The Allatoona Symphonic Winds will be performing on Friday, February 2, 2018 at 7 PM in Falany Hall as the Selected Ensemble for the annual Reinhardt University High School Honor Band Clinic.

• Gary Gribble and Scott Brown, of Pope High School and Dickerson MS respectively, were named Quarter-Finalists for the Grammy Educator of the Year Award.

• The Pope High School Wind Symphony was selected to perform in the National Concert Festival in Car Hall this March.

• The Legacy of Champions Marching Competition in Carrollton, GA named the Pope High School Marching Band Grand Champions at this year’s competition.


Newsletter Newsletter || January January



• Andy Edwards and Kinsey Edwards completed their Ed.D. Degrees from the University of Georgia in the Fall Semester of 2017. • Carol M. Taylor has joined Georgia Southern University as a University Supervisor. In this role, Carol will supervise the GSU music student teachers in Gwinnett County.

The Pride of Mill Creek Marching Band was named a Bands of America (BOA) Powder Springs and Atlanta Regional finalist and the Powder Springs Class AAAA champion.

• The North Gwinnett High School (NGHS) Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Christine Lansou and Lauren McCombe, was chosen to perform at the Carnegie Hall Band and Orchestra Festival at the end of • The Marching Wolves from Wesleyan School, located March, 2018. In addition, North Gwinnett in Peachtree Corners, were named Class A Champions of the Bands of America Super Regional in Atlanta. The High School Chamber Orchestra Quintets performed at Level Creek Elementary for a Marching Wolves, under the direction of Jeff Foster, also received awards for high music, visual and general week to enhance this school’s “Families of the Orchestra” unit. The Advanced Philhareffect. monic from NGHS is performed at the Su• Under the direction of Erik Mason and Bridget Wilwanee Library Tuesday 12/19 at 6pm. des, the Mill Creek Wind Ensemble has been named as a State Level Winner in the Music Education Foundation's 2017 Mark of Excellence Program. In addition, 10

Newsletter | January

DISTRICT FOURTEEN for Black History Month. Black History Month at West Jackson Middle School will be celebrated through the music, drama, art and dance. The Jackson EMC Bright Ideas Grant monies will purchase music, study materials and a portable sound system.

• Charlotte Poss Chromiak, elementary music teacher, was selected as Teacher of the Year for Oconee Primary School (Oconee County Schools). • Dana Harrell, West Jackson Middle School Chorus, was awarded her second Jackson EMC’s Bright Ideas Grant in two years. Last year, the grant money bought four new condenser microphones and a recording system for her chorus. Her students and she arranged American Folk Songs and recorded a cd using the new equipment. (

• Katie Williams, teacher at Oconee County High School (Oconee County Schools) whose responsibilities include instruction of Concert Choir, musical theater and music history, is Teacher of the Year at Oconee County High School. • Kelly Poquette former General Music Teacher for Chesney Elementary in Gwinnett County, is now teaching at J.J. Harris Elementary in Clarke County.

This year, Dana’s students are learning about music written and performed by African Americans. After studying spirituals, jazz, blues and rock and roll, they will then prepare music, write monologues and will put together a program


Newsletter | January





Newsletter | January





Newsletter January Newsletter Newsletter || October January

Garnetta Penn teaches Choral Music, Piano, Musical Theatre Arts and AP Music Theory at Benjamin E. Mays High School in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her Master of Music Education from University of Georgia and her Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Clark Atlanta University. Her 23 year career as an Arts Educator began as an Arts Education Intern at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She then returned to Atlanta as a high school choral director at Cedar Grove and Southwest DeKalb HS as Itinerant Choral Director for two years. She then returned to teach at her HS Alma Mater Benjamin E. Mays HS where she developed her love for choral music.


Newsletter | January


As a product of the Atlanta Public Schools, Garnetta has established a strong tradition of choral excellence at Benjamin E. Mays High School. Students under her direction have performed at the Operation Hope Global Forum, Clark Atlanta University Chorus Invitational, All City High School Chorus, District 5 Honor Chorus as well as the Spivey Hall High School Honor Chorus. Her students have been selected for All State Chorus and the Georgia’s Governors Honors Program. Garnetta takes pride in encouraging and cultivating vocal artists through mentoring and coaching. She enjoys shaping the minds of young people to love and embrace their ingenuity. Additionally, as a leader in the district, she serves as the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD Teacher Coordinator and as part of the Arts Resource Team. In 2017, Garnetta received the GMEA Volunteer of the Year Award for her service to GMEA throughout her teaching career. She is currently a Choral Adjudicator for Large Group Performance Evaluation and has served as 5th District Interim Chair, 5th District Chair, 5th District Choral Chair and 4th District Multi Cultural Chair. She has utilized her organizational skills as a host and organizer for Large Group Performance Evaluation and Choral Solo and Ensemble on numerous occasions. Her commitment to GMEA started as a student member of the Clark Atlanta University (CMENC) Collegiate Chapter where she served as State Level Secretary, Local Chapter President, and Chapter Treasurer. She now serves as a chapter sponsor for the Tri-M Music Honor Society. In addition to directing the Mays' Choruses, Garnetta is a gifted lyric soprano and enjoys performing with the Cascade United Methodist Church Chancel Choir in Atlanta. She also teaches private voice at the Southwest Arts Center (Fulton County).


Newsletter | January

Mr. Carl Rieke, currently the Director of Orchestras at Frank N. Osborne Middle School in Gwinnett County, Georgia, graduated from St. Olaf College (Northfield, MN) in 1997, receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education. He received his Masters of Music in Instrumental Conducting from Georgia State University (Atlanta) in 2003. Mr. Rieke has had the privilege of directing the orchestra program at Osborne Middle School since 2015 and was recently named the 2017-2018 OMS Teacher of the Year. Under his direction, the Osborne orchestra program, for the first time in program history, received the Georgia Music Educator Association (GMEA) 2016 “Exemplary Program Award.” Before arriving at Osborne, Mr. Rieke was the Director of Orchestras at Ola Middle School (2006-2015) in Henry County, Georgia. During his tenure at Ola, he was named the 2012 Ola Teacher of the Year and in the same year, the Ola orchestra program earned the GMEA “Exemplary Program Award.” In 2013, Mr. Rieke was named a “Class Act” teacher by Atlanta’s WXIA-TV—11 Alive News.


Newsletter | January


From 1999 until 2006, Mr. Rieke was Director of Orchestras at Shiloh High School in Gwinnett County, Georgia. While teaching at Shiloh, he was also a co-conductor of the Gwinnett County Youth Symphony, the co-director of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) Philharmonia, and the co-director of the Southern Crescent Symphony Orchestra. During this period and under Mr. Rieke’s direction, the Gwinnett County Youth Symphony, the MYSO Philharmonia, and the Southern Crescent Symphony Orchestra were featured groups at the GMEA state conference. From 1997 through 1999, Mr. Rieke was the Director of Orchestras at middle and high schools in Clayton County, Georgia including G.P. Babb Middle School, Forest Park High School, and Riverdale High School. Mr. Rieke has conducted a number of orchestra camps and clinics in Georgia, Minnesota, Alabama, and Tennessee, including the Encore Orchestra Camp (Atlanta, GA), the University of Georgia Music Camp and UGA Orchestra Fall Festival (Athens, GA), the Atlanta Suzuki Summer Institute (Roswell, GA), the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) Summer Camp (Hampton, GA), the Gwinnett Tapestry Festival (Lawrenceville, GA), the Clayton County Honor Clinic (Jonesboro, GA), the New Ulm Suzuki Pops Camp (New Ulm, MN), one of the 2009 Alabama All-State Orchestras (Tuscaloosa, AL), and the 2017 East Tennessee Junior Clinic (Knoxville, TN). In 2011, Mr. Rieke became a co-owner of the Encore Orchestra Camp, which is held each summer on the campus of Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia and since 2016, he has renewed his association with MYSO as the Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra. Mr. Rieke has been an active member of the Georgia Music Educator Association and the Georgia Chapter of the American String Teacher’s Association (ASTA) since 1997. He has served as the GMEA All-State Orchestra Organizing Chair for the last 12 years, the GMEA Vice President of Large Group Performance Evaluations (2012-2014), the GMEA Orchestra Division Chair (20072009), and as Secretary for the Georgia Chapter of ASTA (2005-2007). Mr. Rieke was named the 2010 Georgia ASTA “Orchestra Director of the Year” and currently serves as the Georgia ASTA Treasurer. Mr. Rieke has presented sessions at the GMEA in-service conference and the national ASTA conference. He has also served as a certified head adjudicator at orchestra evaluations around the State of Georgia since 2007. Before arriving in Georgia in the late 1990s, Mr. Rieke served as the 1997 Summer Music Director with at the Red Wing Theater Company (Red Wing, MN) and performed with a variety of Minnesota orchestras, including the Mankato Symphony Orchestra, the Owatonna Chamber Orchestra, and the New Ulm Civic Orchestra. Since his arrival in Georgia, he has performed with both the Southern Crescent Symphony Orchestra and the North Georgia Symphony. Mr. Rieke resides in Tucker, Georgia with his wife Stacy and their son, David.


Newsletter | January


Retirement is more than clearing your possessions from your usual workplace and heading to a beach or the garden or the library. Make sure you are fiscally and physically in good health. This year there will be several professionals to share insights into the fiscal needs we need to have so we may enjoy our new lifestyle. If you are not retired yet, but see it on the horizon, you need only ask those who are retired what it means to live in a world without the daily commitments of the education world. You have choices you probably have not experienced since kindergarten. GMEA has some great professionals coming to share important information with all who can attend. Mike Zarem from TRS will be joining us and will have a booth in the vendors’ hall. Alicia Lipscomb will also give a clinic on SSA. If you think you are entitled to SSA, it would be wise to be present for updates. Find out the real information from a knowledgeable professional. A newcomer to our conference, Chase Burkhart, CFP, is a Vice-President and Financial Advisor with CAPTRUST in Tampa, Florida. Several of you have asked for advisors in this area. Are you financially ready to retire? Are you satisfied with your investments and health security? Lastly, I want to warn you regarding the health issues we face as our bodies age. All of us need a yearly physical at the very least. If you are male, there is a little, but valuable, test for you: PSA. If you do not know what that means, you are behind in the knowledge you should possess about your own wellbeing. Tell your physician (not ask) that you want a PSA test done every time you have a physical. It is an extra test done when having a routine blood draw. This test could save your life. It did for me. Prostate cancer is deadly, and there are not many symptoms. I ask you to be knowledgeable about your own health. I look forward to seeing you at the reunion referred to as the GMEA ISC in Athens. Stay healthy and happy! We get one shot at this life. May as well make the most of it!


Newsletter | January






Newsletter | January


A NAfME MEMBERSHIP Congratulations! NAfME Collegiate members are eligible to receive up to a 50% DISCOUNT on dues when you become a full active member. This offer is only valid for one year after you graduate. Act now. Become a member and we’ll do everything in our power to make sure you get the career you want. For as long as you want it. From professional development to networking opportunities, advocacy tools to lesson plans and webinars. And when you join NAfME, you also become a member of your state’s music education association with even more resources at the local level. Deadline: Offer extends from June 30 of your graduation year until June 30 of the following year. Visit: Collegiate

Profile for Georgia Music Educators Association

2018 GMEA Newsletter | January  

2018 GMEA Newsletter | January