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, November 20

The Wayrick Wildlife Gallery, at the Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Gallery, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: The Wayrick Wildlife Art Gallery -- ...

Arts & Entertainment Education Green

Mon, November 20, 9:00 AM

The Center for Contemporary Art, Bedminster

2017 International Juried Exhibition

Arts & Entertainment

Mon, November 20, 9:00 AM

The Center for Contemporary Art, Bedminster

2017 International Juried Exhibition

Arts & Entertainment

Newark Residents Arrested for Theft of More Than $1K in Merchandise at Microsoft Store, Bridgewater Police Report

November 18, 2017

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Two Newark residents were arrested Nov. 7 for shoplifting more than $1,000 worth of merchandise from the Microsoft Store in the Bridgewater Commons Mall, according to a report from Bridgewater Township Police.

Raymond Sierra, 21, was charged with shoplifting, and was also found to have an outstanding warrant from Secaucus. Janilly Perez-Matos, 26, was charged with shoplifting ...

Outstanding Citizens to be Honored at Boy Scouts of America Toast to Scouting Awards Dinner

November 19, 2017

RARITAN, NJ - Boy Scouts of America, Patriots’ Path Council will be honoring local citizens at the Toast to Scouting Awards Dinner to be held Nov. 30 at the Raritan Valley Country Club in Bridgewater at 6:30 p.m.  This year’s honorees are Joanie Coffaro, Brian Gallagher, Nicholas F. Pellitta, Esq., Craig & Jonathan Slass, and Doris (Dee) Zampella.

The event ...

A Somerset Hills Tradition, Colonial Christmas at Vanderveer House, Kicks Off Late

November 20, 2017

BEDMINSTER, NJ - The 15th annual Colonial Christmas celebration at the historic Jacobus Vanderveer House and Museum off Route 206, will be open to the public for the next two weekends, Nov. 25-26, and Dec. 2-3. The event will be open daily during both weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

All invited to tree lighting next Friday evening.

The festivities are due to kick off with a tree ...

Would a Trip to Mars be Bad for the Heart?

Mars, the closest planet to the Earth, has always fascinated humans. From H.G Wells 1898 novel The War of the Worlds, to Orson Welles’ infamous 1938 radio broadcast about a Martian invasion, to Gustav Holst’s 1914 classical music piece Mars, the Bringer of War, to the 2015 Academy Award nominated film, The Martian mankind has long dreamed about Mars. Now NASA and private companies ...

Rutgers president addresses controversial bias incidents, says they're protected by ​First ​Amendment

November 18, 2017

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers President Robert Barchi stood by his affirmation ​of​ the First Amendment, saying those ​protections ​extend to ​the recent rash of ​anti-Semitism on campus.

At the November 16 student government town hall, Barchi​ noted the protections to incidents such as the anti-Semitic posts allegedly shared on the Facebook of a food science professor, the ...