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BCME LogoWe are SO proud to announce that Ichabod Crane Central School District was designated one of the Best Communities for Music Education by The NAMM Foundation.

Now in its 21st year, the designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the Best Communities designation, we answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities and support for the music program. All responses were verified by our school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

The award recognizes how our district leads the way with learning opportunities outlined Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the legislation that replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). NCLB sidelined subjects such as music, where ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education.

Our music department offers a comprehensive program that promotes a love of music while teaching students to be independent musicians. The department includes our talented music teachers: Amy Giammattei, Jennifer Edwards, Jodie Jacque, Karolyn Eberhardt, Rukan Khondker, Alessandra Shellard and Olivia Faure. Plus, we cannot forget recent retirees from the department – Robert Richburg, David Bulan, Dianne Rieck and Gail Helfer – all of whom helped make it what it is today.

“To say that I am proud of our music program winning the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education, would be an understatement,” said Mr. Tim Farley, Co-Principal of Ichabod Crane Middle School. “I have seen the impact our music department has had with so many of our students over the years, but even more so as a parent of four students who have benefitted from our program.” Furthermore, Mr. Farley stated, “This award gives great validation to all the dedication of our music teachers over the years to make it the best music program for students.”

On of our sophomore music students, Julia Saxby, stated, “With help from my teachers, I embraced the fact that there is always room to improve and you have to work to do so. By the time I got into high school, I had truly found my place; music. Music at Ichabod has helped me through so much in finding out who I am and who I can become. I go to school every day smiling because I know that once I enter the music suite doors, I can leave all the drama from the outside world behind me and immerse myself in the music. I have even met some of my best friends through music.”

When asked about her teachers, Julia said, “The music teachers are great people to look up to, to see what I could become as an adult.  They have inspired me to work hard to try and go to college for music education. I am so grateful to all the teachers at Ichabod that have exposed me to this wonderful yet challenging world of music, and I can’t wait to learn whatever else I can about this fascinating subject.”

Participation in music education in our schools is impressive to say the least, with three quarters of our K-12 student population participating in music each year. Plus, we’re well represented at the state, regional, and county levels. Examples include:

  • Two students – Michael Vecellio and Erin Curry – were selected to represent Ichabod Crane at the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) All-State Festival in Rochester, NY.
  • Seven high school students were selected to participate in Area-All-State.
  • 84 instrumental and 66 vocal students were selected to participate in All-County Festivals this year.

Our music program underwent recent improvements such as updating the K-8 General Music Curriculum to include more music technology and the addition of ukulele instruction in grades 6-8.  The department hopes to add more electives at the high school level and is working on offering a music course for college credit this fall.

A crucial part of our music program is TEMPO (To Encourage Music Participation Organization), a local parent/community organization that fosters enthusiasm for music and the performing arts. They devotedly support our music program year-round in a variety of ways including advocating for music education, making the needs of our students and program known to the community, helping with in-school & public music events and fundraising.

Ichabod Crane music student graduates have attended top music schools such as the Manhattan School of Music, Ithaca College, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Fredonia, SUNY New Paltz, Bard Conservatory, Nazareth, Wagner, NYU, Hartwick, Berklee College of Music, Hartt School of Music, Schenectady Community College, East Carolina University, Shenandoah Conservatory, University of Washington, and the College of St. Rose. Graduates of ICC work in the fields of music education, music performance, opera, musical theatre, music business/management, music/audio production & recording, musical composition, and music therapy.