Parents Request District Hire Resident Staff Pianist


BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Acknowledging that there are more than 1,000 students performing in the performing arts programs throughout the district, and 163 at the Bridgewater-Raritan High School alone, a few parents came forward at a recent board of education meeting to request that the district hire a resident staff pianist to accompany all the choirs.

“We would like to request a staff piano accompanist in all classes, rehearsals and auditions,” said parent Wen-Ling Hsu. “Having one would be a huge benefit to our students, and many other New Jersey school districts provide such a resource.”

In the high school alone, the program has a mixed choir, select women’s choir, symphonic choir, Ensembros, Lorelei Women’s Ensemble, Men’s Choir, Glee and the A Cappella Alliance.

Sign Up for E-News

And in the 2016–2017 school year alone, Hsu said, there were more than 20 performances, including the Men of Note competition, Choir Christmas Spectacular, Broadway Night, Roxbury Choir Festival and the Festival of the Arts. In addition, she said, there are regularly scheduled district performances, master classes and showcases.

But, Hsu said, the program only has one conductor, John Wilson, who also plays the piano at all events and in rehearsals.

“We are lucky he can play the piano,” she said.

Hsu noted that Wilson is a passionate teacher who works hard to get the very best out of his students and help them improve in every class.

But by hiring a pianist, Hsu said, Wilson would be able to keep his focus on the students, without having to focus on the piano too.

“I was surprised to find the conductor did not have an accompanist in the regular classes,” she said. “I am presenting this proposal from the entire choir community, students and parents. This is a thought we have had for two years.”

“We have enough demand for this, and I hope the board will consider this proposal,” she added.

A Gateshead Drive resident, whose daughter is in the choir program, said Wilson’s energy and enthusiasm fills the classroom, and he watches, observes and works with students to get them to their full potential. But there are obstacles, she said, when he has to play the piano as well.

The students are missing Wilson’s observations when he has to play the piano, she said, so they would benefit from having a pianist in the room.

Board of education vice president Melanie Thiesse said she also thinks it is a good idea.

“I can’t imagine any other group or sports team that serves as many students, and there’s only one adult,” she said. “And having an accompanist that could work district-wide, I think that’s a great idea.”

Thiesse said she did a little research, and there are other districts with a full time accompanist.

Board president Jill Gladstone said it is something the administration will look into for the future.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events

Mon, April 23

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Les Photos de Bernie at the Wayrick ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Mon, April 23, 1:00 PM

Somerville Elks Lodge, Bridgwater

April Blood Drive

Giving Back Health & Wellness

Mon, April 23, 6:00 PM

Old York Cellars, Bridgewater

Wine & Truffle Tasting

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back Health & Wellness

New Jersey Association of School Librarians Urges BRRSD to Keep All Librarians

April 18, 2018

To the Editor:

The following letter was sent to the Bridgewater-Raritan school superintendent as well as members of the school board from the New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL).  

As the statewide organization for school library media specialists, the organization advocates for strong school library programs for all students.  NJASL is disheartened to learn that a ...

Car Fire in Wendy's Parking Lot Deemed Not Suspicious, Bridgewater Police Say

April 20, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater Township Police responded to a car fire in the parking lot of Wendy's, on Route 22 East April 9, but the fire was not deemed suspicious, according to a report.

According to the report, an unoccupied 2003 Infinity G35 caught fire. A 2010 Honda CRV, which was parked next to it, was also damaged in the fire.

North Branch and Green Knoll fire both ...

BAM Desserts Visits SCVTHS Culinary Arts Program

April 22, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ – Melissa Jenkins, one of the owners of BAM Desserts in Somerset, and Chef Liz Hernandez visited the Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School (SCVTHS) culinary arts classes this week in hopes to recruit students for the growing bakery. 

Jenkins and Hernandez were looking for reliable students who were willing to learn new skills, get workplace ...

Whitehouse Wind Symphony Presents Free Concert in Somerville

April 22, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Whitehouse Wind Symphony, a community band under the direction of Branchburg resident James P. Sheeley, Jr., will present a free concert on Sunday, April 29th at 3 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 158 West High St.

The concert will feature a wide range of selections from wind band literature both new and old, such as the overture to “Die Frau ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...

Bateman Bill to Require Training, Licensing for Pet Groomers

April 15, 2018

TRENTON, NJ - Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman (R-16) will introduce legislation to increase protections for family pets by requiring pet groomers to be properly trained and licensed following the deaths of three dogs in five months at different New Jersey pet salons.

“It is sadly far too common for us to read of dog grooming deaths in the news,” said Bateman.