South Orangetown Central School District

Yesterday, first- and second-graders at William O. Schaefer Elementary School were treated to a special performance of the Orangetown Concert Band, a community musical group directed by South Orangetown music teacher Charles Yassky. For second-graders, the event included an auditory introduction to the strings, woodwinds and horns.

“Every third-grader gets the chance to learn to play an instrument. You simply need to choose,” Yassky advised. “Each family of instruments has their own unique characteristics such as the reed in the woodwind instrument. These differences can influence a student’s musical instrument preference.”

“I started playing in fourth grade under Mr. Yassky’s instruction,” said Diana K., a Tappan Zee High School sophomore, who performed an oboe solo during the concert. “I continued through middle school and now in high school I work with Mr. (Bill) Hughes.”

Other band members included Hughes, music teachers Lisa Kahn, Robert Bennett and Elizabeth Zook, and recent alumni Melissa Alleles (‘13) and Taylor Simpson (‘14). “I am grateful for the opportunity to show young students where I first developed my musical abilities,” said Alleles, who studied music at SUNY Purchase. “I was invited to play with the Orangetown Concert Band in eighth grade and Mr. Yassky’s encouragement motivated me to continue my studies in college.”

The goal of the program, according to Hughes, is “to inspire a love and interest in music.”

Stay tuned: Families of rising third-graders will receive an email from Cottage Lane Elementary School with information about instrumental music lessons and a link to online registration later this month.
First grade students listening to concert band in gymnasium