ENFIELD — For its dedication to providing music education to all its students, Enfield Public Schools has received the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation. The designation offers national and community recognition, increased visibility for music education and a program auditing tool for evaluating the music program.

“Our Enfield certified music staff is committed to life-long learning in music and are consistently involved in developing professionally and musically,” said Mark F. Reppucci, the K-12 music coordinator for Enfield Public Schools. “The students have a commitment, dedication to the program and willingness to learn. The sacrifices the students make for their musical art form and the consistent approach to taking risks and learning collaboratively are so fulfilling to witness. The staff is committed to their students and spends many extra hours beyond the school day providing experiences and opportunities.”

In addition to Reppucci, the district employs 16 full-time music teachers from the elementary to high school level. Although it looks different at the different grades, the teachers strive to fulfill the mission of the district’s music program.

“The main goal is providing a quality music education with access to all,” said Reppucci. “We encourage students to strive for the pursuit of excellence through active ownership and involvement in a variety of musical and culturally connected experiences. Our goal is for all students to have equitable access to a quality music education that leads to artistic literacy and fluency in the practices of the music discipline through creating, performing, presenting, producing, responding and connecting.”

The curriculum follows the National Core Arts and Connecticut State Standards and provides many opportunities for students to engage with music in different ways. At Enfield High School, nearly 36% of the student body is enrolled in a music class. The music department offers 18 elective courses, including piano, guitar, foundations of music, history of American popular music and music technology. In addition, students may participate in several different ensembles, such as chorus, concert band, marching band, jazz ensemble and orchestra.

“The United Sound Program is our newly acquired course elective with teacher recommendation that meets during the school day offering instrumental instruction with mentors and new unique musicians in a collaborative learning environment,” explained Reppucci. “This offering is co-facilitated by a music teacher and a special education teacher. This course was initiated last year with a $10,000 grant through the Voice4Change State of Connecticut Program with Enfield as a recipient.”

At John F. Kennedy Middle School, students have access daily to music education and 13 elective courses, such as chorus, band and orchestra.

“All general music classes focus on developing the students’ ability to perform, create, respond, and connect to music through developing music literacy skills, improving their knowledge of music history and styles of music, analyzing the elements of music and having hands-on project-based experiences,” said Reppucci.

All elementary students have general music classes once a week with a certified music teacher and can start band or orchestra in fifth grade, or chorus in fourth grade.

The staff have a wide range of backgrounds and lead many different programs throughout the district. Justin Rodzen, an Enfield native who will soon receive his master of music education degree from Rutgers University, will begin as the general music teacher at JFK Middle School.

Carla Stoddard, who studied violin and music education at Central Connecticut State University and the University of Bridgeport, leads the fifth grade orchestras, Edgar H. Parkman Elementary School instrumental music program and the elementary music enrichment program.

University of Connecticut graduate Liz Gagnon is responsible for general music and chorus at Edgar H. Parkman and chorus at Eli Whitney Elementary School. Eric Spoldi, a Western Connecticut State and Central Connecticut State University graduate, heads up the fifth grade band at Prudence Crandall Elementary School, the sixth-grade band at JFK Middle School and general music at Eagle Academy.

Amanda Urquhuart Tilghman, who is working toward her master of music education degree at Hartt School of Music, operates the chorus at Enfield High School while Ashley Schell, an Enfield native and Syracuse University graduate, leads the Enfield High School Band.

Raymond Cole, who received his master of music degree from Austin Peay State University, serves as the orchestra director and assistant band director. Michael Stewart, who has international experience, is responsible for piano and music technology. Leading them all is Reppucci, who taught instrumental music at Fermi High School for 17 years and then served as band director at Enfield High School for three years before becoming the district music coordinator.

Reppucci said he would love to expand the program’s capacity even more with courses such as advanced placement music theory or advanced piano and guitar, and to offer more opportunities for students who seek music careers.

“Unfortunately, we are currently experiencing budgetary constraints that are extremely challenging,” explained Reppucci. “In this climate, I am concerned about the future of the availability of resources to continue with the path we have set.”

Tina Lesniak
+ posts