MORRISTOWN,NJ - Students from schools based in area schools were honored as Mayo Performing Arts Center May Music Students of the Month - Outstanding Drummers and Band Members  -- prior to the Friday, May 12 performance by the Gu Gu Drum Group of Shanghai.

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

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.

Please note that outstanding band members were originally set to be honored at the May 4 Jazz at Lincoln Center concert, but the event had to be cancelled due to an illness.

The 2016-2017 Music Student of the Month program is sponsored by The Provident Bank Foundation.

Music Students of the Month are: (bios provided by school)

Outstanding Percussionists:
Parker Abramson
Grade 8, Mountain View School, Mendham, Nominated by Leigh Carpenter
Parker is the type of student a band director wishes they had a hundred of.  Parker plays at an advanced skill level, is a self motivated and disciplined learner, and has great passion for music.  Parker immediately takes correction and applies it to her playing.  And not just for the day but will remember it for the next class, rehearsal, performance!  She asks for enhanced work, and volunteers to do solos, for example, Parker even taught herself to play the drum set in order to accompany our Choir when she found out there was a need.  Parker is valuable to our group as she can be relied upon to give of herself to help focus the other students in her section, and to help teach them the music.

Chris Coulter
Grade 8, Copeland Middle School, Rockaway, Nominated by Jodie Adessa
Chris is a true leader in the band.  He conducts the band when needed and often runs warm ups.  He's a leader in his section has been a member of both of our honors ensembles all three years of middle school.  In addition to his musical achievements he is also the President of our chapter of National Junior Honors Society and was the student director for our musical this year Seussical, the Musical.  He also choreographed two numbers for the show.  He is truly an amazing, dedicated, and talented music student.

Jordan Durnal
Grade 12, Jefferson Township High School, Oak Ridge, Nominated by Rich Barrieres
Jordan is our principal chair percussionist.  He also held the position of Drumline Section Leader in our marching band and plays drum set in our Jazz Band.  Jordan takes the time to assign parts for both our Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble.  Jordan was accepted into the All Sussex county Band and has performed with the County College of Morris Wind Ensemble.  This year we will present an original piece for percussion ensemble written by Jordan in Music Theory class at our ensemble concert in May.

Spencer Gaffney
Grade 8, Randolph Middle School, Randolph, Nominated by Tom Davidson
Spencer is a percussionist in the Randolph Middle School 8th Grade Band and Percussion Ensemble.  He is also the piano player in the Jazz Ensemble.  This year, he successfully auditioned into both the North Jersey School Music Association Junior Region Band and Intermediate Orchestra on mallet percussion and piano.  Outside of school, he studies privately under the famous jazz pianist Rio Clemente and takes marimba lessons at The Music Den.  Last summer, Spencer participated in a music camp at The Music Den where he worked with other students at arranging and playing various types of music compositions.  He has also participated in several semesters of acting workshops at the Mayo Performing Arts School as well as attending MPAC's summer sessions for both the Young Actor's and Teen Actor's Workshops.

Trevor Govelitz
Grade 7, Brooklawn Middle School, Parsippany, Nominated by Joseph Stella
Trevor is a trumpet player in our 7th grade band and also plays trumpet in our jazz band and pit orchestra.  He is a leader in his section and is always willing to play solos when asked.  In addition to being a fine musician, he is a very friendly and respectful student.

Emily Hughes
Grade 11, Whippany Park High School, Whippany, Nominated by Carl Sabatino
Emily is a thoughtful, hardworking musician who is always ready to take on a challenge.  Her commitment and dedication to being the best musician she can be are surpassed only by her leadership within the band.  She was the trumpet section leader this past year and went above and beyond what was asked of her on a regular basis.  As a result the trumpet section was one of the best we had in the marching band.  Emily is an outstanding musician and a fine young lady.  We are fortunate to have her in our program.

Ben Kunze
Grade 8, Ridgedale Middle School, Florham Park, Nominated by Mike Leone
Ben is a three-year band member who is currently our euphonium player. Previously, Ben played trombone in concert band. Ben is still involved as a trombone player in our jazz band, as well as playing tuba for several of our concert band pieces, while still performing at a high level on euphonium.  Ben is already a member of the high school marching band, as this is an option to our current 7th and 8th graders. He participates in every aspect of the performing arts department that he possibly can. He is involved in the fall play, the spring musical, the talent show (where he played bass guitar), band, jazz band, pep band, high school pep band, high school marching band, just to name a few.

Amy Leon
Grade 7, John Hill School, Boonton, Nominated by Yvonne Manca
Amy is an outstanding clarinet player. She has a diverse range and beautiful tone on the clarinet. She has played solos in band and is a true leader. Amy has helped and coached other clarinet players throughout this school year and has never missed a band practice or lesson. Amy is an asset to the music program here in Boonton School and I am extremely lucky to have her.

Marvin Li
Grade 7, Brooklawn Middle School, Parsippany, Nominated by Joseph Stella
Marvin is a percussionist in our 7th grade band and was selected by audition to play the drum set part in this year's pit orchestra for our school musical.  He is always receptive to being challenged in his lessons with increasingly more difficult music.  He has also done well with learning the many types of percussion instruments including the mallet instruments.

Selia Myers
Grade 11, Morristown High School, Morristown, Nominated by Michael Russo
Selia has been involved in many aspects of the Band Program and has become a respected upperclassman in the Music Department.  Selia is the Principal Flute and Piccolo in the MHS Wind Ensemble and the 2nd Alto Saxophone in our Jazz Ensemble.  She has successfully auditioned for many honors ensembles including 1st Chair Flute in the North Jersey Area Band Wind Ensemble, Piccolo in the Region 1 Wind Ensemble and Piccolo in the New Jersey All-State Orchestra.  She has also participates in many other Flute activates outside of Morristown High School that have enhanced her knowledge and appreciate of music.  This year she was also selected to perform at Carnegie Hall for the Honors Performance Series

Mujtaba Raja
Grade 7, John Hill School, Boonton, Nominated by Yvonne Manca
Mujtaba has been playing the drums since fourth grade.  He is an excellent reader and is able to perform the band music with confidence and expression.  Mujtaba plays for the Harmony Drum Corp located in town.  He attends practice regularly and is a great addition to the group.  Mujtaba is not only an excellent reader on the snare drum but he can play a variety of auxiliary percussion when asked.

Mitchell Ryzuk
Grade 12, Parsippany High School, Parsippany, Nominated by Gregory Dalakian
Mitchell has been involved in every single facet of the PHS music program since his freshman year.  He has served as the Snare Captain of the Drumline the last two years and the Drumline Section Leader this past year.  He has also been our Jazz Band drummer all through high school and has played drum set for every high school and middle school pit orchestra since he was in middle school.  Mitchell is a talented musician who always leads by example and gladly gives of his time and efforts in order for our band program to succeed.  He is truly an outstanding band member with a true passion for music.

Charlie Sager
Grade 7, Mendham Township Middle School, Mendham, Nominated by Russell Branch
Charlie is simply the highest achieving student I have ever had.  He made 1st chair JH Regions by a margin of 20 pts over the 2nd chair player as a 7th grader.  He studies piano in addition to trumpet and has long expressed his desire to be a band director since the 3rd grade.  He has mastered my rhythm study packet as a 6th grader and participates to the fullest extent he can in our band program studying Jazz, Wind Ensemble, regions workshops and Concert Band.  Charlie keeps his eye on the ball and encourages and enables his peers by giving up solos for someone else to play and offering advice and setting a high standard.

Timothy Scott
Grade 12, Morristown High School, Morristown, Nominated by Michael Russo
I have known Timothy for the last three 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 Band Program and he has become a respected upperclassmen in the Music Department.  Timothy is the Principal Percussionist in the Morristown HS Wind Ensemble and the Section Leader for the Front Ensemble for the Marching Band. He also has performed as a Percussionist in the Pit Orchestra. Timothy has proven to me by participating in these activities that he can be responsible and manage his time well.   Due to Timothy's high level of dedication and desire to learn new percussion literature he has often appeared as a Marimba Soloist on our Concerts.  Timothy possesses great desire and works very hard to achieve his goals.

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 2016-2017 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 Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, 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 has been named 2016 Outstanding Historic Theatre by the League of Historic American Theatres.