Parsippany student named MPAC Music Student of the Month

Students from Boonton, Randolph, Morristown, Mendham, Succasunna, and Roxbury were also honored

Front Row Jamie Kim, Grade 7, Eisenhower Middle School, Succasunna and  Jack Liska, Grade 8, John Hill School, Boonton. Back Row: Dylan Curnow, Grade 10, Randolph High School, Randolph; Colin Elgarten, Grade 12, West Morris Mendham High School, Mendham; James Fourie, Grade 8, Mountain View School, Mendham and Kent Hefele, Grade 12, Morristown High School, Morristown. Not pictured: Ethan Chen, Parsippany and Daniel Pinyan, Randolph.

MORRIS COUNTY —  Students from Parsippany, Boonton, Randolph, Morristown, Mendham, Succasunna, and Roxbury were honored as Mayo Performing Arts Center’s February Music Students of the Month – Outstanding Percussionists — prior to the Thursday, March 14 performance by the Kodo Drummers of Japan.

The students were recognized for their achievements on stage prior to the concert and had the opportunity to meet the performers.

Students were nominated by their teachers and were chosen by the Theatre’s Education Department based on their commitment to and excellence in the performing arts. The Theatre will honor a group of students every month throughout the season and invites area teachers to nominate students for this honor. Students will be invited to perform at a year-end recital in June.

The 2018-2019 Music Student of the Month program is supported by The Walter F. and Alice Gorham Foundation, Inc.

Music Students of the Month are:

Ethan Chen
Grade 12, Parsippany High School; Parsippany; Nominated by Gregory Dalakian
Ethan Chen has been a dedicated member of our instrumental music program at PHS since his freshman year. He has participated in Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, Jazz Ensemble, and Pit Orchestra. Ethan also served as our Drumline Section Leader and Snare Captain for the Marching Band this past year. Since his freshman year, Ethan has always been determined to become a true multi-percussionist, and through countless hours of dedicated practice and training he has achieved that goal. He is a great role model to his peers and always leads by example. Ethan is someone we can always count on whenever help is needed and always carries himself with pride, honor, and spirit in everything he does. It is my great pleasure to recommend Ethan Chen for the Outstanding Percussionist Student of the Month award.

Jack Liska
Grade 8, John Hill School; Boonton; Nominated by Yvonne Manca
Jack has been a part of the JHS band since 4th grade.  He is in the advanced band and has no trouble reading any rhythms.  He plays in the harmony band outside of school (which is the town band). Jack has taken private lessons outside of school because he has a passion for percussion. Jack is well rounded on all percussion instruments and can play any part at first sight. He truly is an asset to the band.

Dylan Curnow
Grade 10, Randolph High School; Randolph; Nominated by Carmine Fusaro
Dylan Curnow is in the 10th grade at Randolph High School. Dylan has participated in the Randolph music program since the 4th grade starting with chorus, and joining band in 5th grade. Dylan chose percussion and has been with it ever since. In 7th grade, he joined the schools percussion ensemble and continues with it today. In the 9th grade, he joined the Randolph High Schools Marching Rams marching band. He started off in the front ensemble playing bells and vibes and in 10th grade moved up to the drumline playing Bass Drum 4.  Outside of school, Dylan participates in local groups. He helps his father at the local firehouse, Randolph Chemical Engine Co. 2 with Christmas Tree sales, cleanups, and renovations. Dylan also participated with the local cub scouts for 5 years. In school, he participated in the Model UN Club for 2 years, won 3rd place at the Stem Junior Solar Sprint, participated in sports including baseball, soccer, and track and field for multiple years, and won the schools citizenship award in 5th grade.

Colin Elgarten
Grade 12, West Morris Mendham High School; Mendham; Nominated by Timothy Beadle
Colin is the hardest-working student I have ever taught. He has transformed himself from the student who struggled the most as a freshman to the leader and most accomplished percussionist in our program. Whether he is working on jazz ensemble, concert band, pit orchestra, percussion ensemble, youth orchestra, or marching band music, you can find Colin in the band room doggedly working through tough licks and difficult passages. Colin has been a ubiquitous presence in the practice room for the past four years and this has given him unending credibility as a leader in the percussion section and band as a whole. He was the natural choice for drum captain in the marching band this year and is almost a co-teacher in the percussion section of our advanced wind ensemble. I cannot recommend Colin Elgarten enough for outstanding percussionist!

James Fourie
Grade 8, Mountain View School; Mendham; Nominated by Leigh Carpenter
In 5th grade, Jame Fourie started out as a trumpet player. He came in at every opportunity for extra help and to practice his instrument. He did very well and was my top trumpet of his grade. But he also longed to play the drums. I tried to discourage this as I had plenty enough percussionists, but James was persistent. He took up both instruments and I let him do both for a while hoping he would go back to the trumpet. But it was not to be. James really had it in his heart to play the percussion and there is not fighting the heart. I let him focus fully on his passion and I am glad I did. James has continued to improve as a percussionist. He has made unbelievable growth always challenging himself to get better and better. He asks for the difficult parts and challenges himself with mallet instruments for example, or the bass drum which the rest of the bucket solo drums rely on. James is a team player and works well with the other percussionists in our band; he shares his camaraderie and leadership as the drummers challenge each other to new heights. As a percussionist myself, I am inspired by James’ passion and drive for learning. I am fortunate to have such a wonderful musician and young man as my student.

Kent Hefele
Grade 12, Morristown High School; Morristown; Nominated by Michael Russo
I have known Kent for the last four years as his Band Director and I have enjoyed seeing him develop his skills as a musician at Morristown High School. He has been involved in many aspects of the Music Department and he has become a respected upperclassman to our younger members. Kent performs as a Percussionist in the Morristown HS Wind Ensemble and is a Section Leader in the Marching Band.  He has also been a Drummer for the Morristown HS “Spectrum” Jazz Ensemble.  Kent has also performed in a Side-By-Side Concert with the New Jersey Wind Symphony and represented Morristown HS in the Boys State Band sponsored by the American Legion.  Kent possesses great desire and works very hard to achieve his goals. He is a very talented young man in many areas. His natural enthusiasm combined with his preparedness for his ensemble rehearsals make him a student I am eager to challenge in my teaching.

Jamie Kim
Grade 7, Eisenhower Middle School; Succasunna; Nominated by Shannon Perrone
Jamie Kim is a talented young percussionist!  He works hard in band class, follows through with practice assignments, and has a positive outlook.  At Eisenhower Middle School, Jamie also auditioned and placed into both of our extracurricular ensembles- Jazz Band and Honors Band.  He’s willing to help out as needed throughout the section and plays an important role in our ensembles.

Nicholas Morris
Grade 10, Roxbury High School; Roxbury; Nominated by Jeffrey Conrad
Nicholas is an outstanding leader in our program despite only being a sophomore.  He auditioned successfully into the NJ Region 1 Symphonic Band on mallets and is an active member of both our marching bands, indoor percussion and is a frequent participant in our chamber music concerts.  Nicholas is not only a hard worker, but is also kind and funny.  He has earned the admiration and respect of his peers as well as our band staff.  He leads by example; always giving his best and always working to be prepared at the highest level.  He is a true asset to the Roxbury Band Program.

Daniel Pinyan
Grade 8, Randolph Middle School; Randolph; Nominated by Carmine Fusaro
Dan has developed a passion for the variety of percussion instruments and a respect for the level of skill it takes to play all of them. He officially started playing percussion at the age of 11 in fifth grade on the snare drum. After continuing in the middle school with the marimba, timpani, bass drum, chimes and auxiliary percussion, he was nominated for the North Jersey Area Band for timpani. Dan had always enjoyed playing timpani because of the wide range of the drums and the occasional solo. He thought it was a great experience to play with so many other dedicated musicians and meet other fellow percussionists. Along with playing the timpani, Dan also played the marimba for the world premiere of the percussion ensemble piece “Octet for Percussion” composed by Matthew Blood.   He is a well-rounded scholar and an active member of his community.  He volunteers at his church as a vacation bible school counselor and is interested in many types of sports.

Mayo Performing Arts Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, presents a wide range of programs that entertain, enrich, and educate the diverse population of the region and enhance the economic vitality of Northern New Jersey. The 2018-2019 season is made possible, in part, by a grant the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as support received from the F.M. Kirby Foundation and numerous corporations, foundations and individuals. The Mayo Performing Arts Center has been designated a Major Presenting Organization by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Mayo Performing Arts Center was named 2016 Outstanding Historic Theatre by the League of Historic American Theatres, and is ranked in the top 50 mid-sized performing arts centers by Pollstar Magazine.

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