South Orangetown Central School District

As we continue our celebration of Music In Our Schools Month, we visited the Tappan Zee High School Chorale class, led by Tappan Zee High School Chorale Director Russell Wagoner, DMA, as they prepare for a singing competition at Six Flags Great Adventure this June. 

Throughout the school year, TZHS concert choir and chorale members rehearse for a variety of performances—ranging from the Winter and Spring concerts, to opening for the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. “Music education is a vital part of education as it reaches and unlocks the aesthetic side of student thinking and learning. Students are able to draw comparisons with their feelings and prior experiences and use those to help them express and convey text through sound. In much of education, students work independently while in many music classrooms, students are required to work and learn collaboratively. Each student’s learning and the expression of their learning impacts the students beside them in producing a collective outcome – the music,” explained Wagoner. “We encourage and inspire our students to use their personal experiences to arrive at a shared musical emotion, which not only moves each member of the ensemble, but ideally the audience as well. Unlike other classrooms where only the student and parents know how successful the student has been in achieving the desired learning outcomes, the audience revels and also shares in what the students have learned in our public concert settings.”

Members of the Tri-M Music Honor Society are also putting their own spin on Music In Our Schools Month by hosting “Music In Our Schools Week” at the end of the month. “During passing time that week, we will be playing music from various genres over the speakers  including country, film scores, pop, rock, jazz, classical, R&B and alternative. We want to highlight all the different types of music and maybe expose students to music they don’t typically listen to,” said member Mikayla K. “Music is something that I’m very passionate about and I’m so grateful for the opportunities that we have had like performing at Radio City and Carnegie Hall. Dr. Wagoner makes sure that not only are we hitting the right notes, but that we understand the theory of music. I’m not planning on pursuing singing and acting as a career but it’s something I would love to do on the side in the future.”

Wagoner noted, “While we know that not every student will pursue music as a career, we work daily to challenge our students to understand how to be successful musicians and musical patrons after they leave high school. There are many opportunities after graduation where students may desire to join their local community instrumental ensemble or sing in their church choir. We provide our students with the skills to be successful music consumers and creators, so they can carry on the legacy of making and sharing great music wherever they go.

Music in our schools month TZHS Chorale