Coonan and Heary earn RPO honors

24 Apr

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve praised the tremendous music educators in our school district. Our music program regularly wins top honors for its quality, and today it was announced that two of its finest teachers have earned special recognition from the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Every year on their Music Educators’ Awards Night, RPO musicians honor several local music teachers, in an effort to strengthen the relationship between area music educators and the musicians of the RPO.

This year, two Webster music teachers were among the award winners: Jeanne Coonan of Spry Middle School won the Instrumental Music Award for K-12 Band, and Al Heary of Dewitt Elementary School won the Classroom Music Specialist Award.

Jeanne CoonanJeanne Coonan holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Ithaca College, and has taught Instrumental Music for 35 years (24 years in Webster Central School District). Her experience includes teaching elementary, middle, and high school bands. Her elementary bands received Superior ratings at the Annapolis, MD Music Festival in 1996, 1998, and 2007, performing original commissioned compositions each time.

Coonan is co-founder of the Hochstein Junior Wind Symphony and Hochstein Youth Wind Symphony, both created to give motivated middle and high school students an in-depth performing experience. In addition to teaching, she performs as bassoonist and contrabassoonist for the University of Rochester Symphony Orchestra, Roberts Wesleyan College-Community Orchestra, and the Penfield Symphony.

Al HearyAl Heary has been teaching vocal/general music for 30 years, and currently teaches K-5 music at DeWitt Road Elementary School. He received a B.S. in Music Education/ Performance from Ithaca College and a M.M. in Music Education from SUNY Fredonia. He has completed three levels of Orff-Schulwerk teacher training at Eastman School of Music, three levels of Kodály teacher training at Nazareth College, and studied at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria.

The award winners were selected from nominations submitted by administrators, educators, parents and students, which are then reviewed by a committee comprised of community educators and RPO musicians. The three other winners were:

  • M. David Shemancik of Pittsford Sutherland High School — Instrumental Music Award, Band (K-12)
  • Douglas Steves of Oliver Middle School in Brockport — Choral Director Award (K-12)
  • Beverly Smoker, Professor and Department Chair at Nazareth College — Special Award

Congratulations to Jeanne and Al. You are two of the reasons Webster’s music program in one of the best anywhere.

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One Response to “Coonan and Heary earn RPO honors”

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  1. Coonan and Heary earn RPO honors – WNY Pages - April 24, 2017

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