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Musical Shuffle Results in New Harmony for the School District

Big changes in the Mendon Upton Regional School District's Music Departments mean a new, yet harmonious tune for the students at the elementary, middle, and high schools.

At Miscoe Hill School, a full time Chorus teacher was added back into the staff after being cut from the budget two years ago. Ann Marie Tremblay transferred back to Miscoe after teaching music at the Memorial Elementary School last year. Tremblay was Miscoe's Chorus Teacher prior to the cuts. "We are so lucky to have Ann Marie back," said Miscoe Principal Ann Meyer. "She is phenomenal. What she does with the students is outstanding." Meyer said that although only 12 seventh grade students and nine eighth grade students initially signed up for Chorus, since the beginning of the year those numbers have increased to 46 and 56 students respectively, which she credits to Tremblay's influence. "There is a huge interest in Chorus here," said Meyer. "It is one thing they really seem to like."

Tremblay's transfer to the middle school left a vacancy at Memorial which was filled by Oliver MacFadden, the former Band Director at Nipmuc High School. MacFadden was at Nipmuc for the past three years before transferring to Memorial where he is currently the full-time Music Teacher for PreK-4 grades.

Mike Morel, the former Director of Instrumental Music at Miscoe Hill, transferred into the vacant position left by MacFadden. Morel has taught in the middle school for the past eight years, and was excited to take on the new position. "Things are going very well," said Morel about working with the High School band for the first time. "It is a great school environment and the kids are playing at such a high level; it is really musically fulfilling for me." Along with his new position at Nipmuc, Morel will continue to teach instrument lessons at the Miscoe, and has taken on the additional responsibilities of becoming the district's Music Coordinator for PreK-12, directing the district's music curriculum and being the liaison between the music staff and the parent organizations.

Due to the last minute vacancies in these positions, and with the start of school looming, Miscoe Hill needed to quickly find a replacement for Morel to take over as Band teacher for grades 5-8. "We were so, so lucky to have filled those spots with three master teachers," said Meyer about the three teachers who came out of retirement as temporary Band and Music Teachers for this school year.

The three "master teachers" that Meyer refers to are Henry Morel, Bill Moffet, and Ron Lewis. Henry Morel, who retired from the district in 2009 after spending over 35 years teaching music, will take over as Band Director for this year. Bill Moffett, who was the Orchestra Director for 38 years at Milford High School before retiring, will be teaching the brass sections for 5th and 6th grades. And Ron Lewis, retired Music teacher from Hopedale where he taught for over 30 years, will be covering for Music Teacher Lauren Amitrano, who is currently on leave.

Meyer said that everything is going very smoothly with the seasoned interim teachers. "They have 90 plus years of experience between them; they just know what they are doing," she said.

Meyer said that they plan to post for the position of a new Band Teacher in January.




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