NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - While many students think their teachers love to grade papers, assign homework and write on a chalkboard, last night reminded them that they do have lives outside of school. Tuesday night, New Providence High School held their annual Faculty Recital.

The event is held every two years by the New Providence Music Boosters, which is an organization comprised of parents and friends whose purpose is to support the music and performing arts department in the district. Teachers sang and played guitar, piano and cello.

The admission for the event was donated to the Susan Iatesta Music Education Scholarship Fund. The charity was established by the boosters to honor the late Susan Iatesta who taught music at the Salt Brook School for many years. Each year, a scholarship is awarded to a senior who plans to study music education in college.

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Teacher Susan Kirkland, who has taught at the high school for several years, said she had a great time performing. She said it’s a really fun night dressing up and being with her colleagues.

“I lost track of how many years I’ve done this,” she said.

She likes to sing opera and jazz and used to perform in New York City prior to becoming a teacher. She admitted she still gets a bit nervous because her days on stage are behind her.

Kenneth Hess shares her passion for music. Hess, who has been teaching in the district for 17 years, said it’s really a magical evening of song. He likes to play piano, perform cabaret and sing classical music as well. He added it’s nice to see some of his students at the show

“It’s a good opportunity for us to get our musical chops as musicians,” Hess said. “I like to be able to share a little piece of my soul.”

One student, who enjoyed the performance, was ninth grader Rachel Turrisi. Turrisi, who is active in choir and theater, said it was her third time attending the show.  All of the performances were great and it kind of made her forget they were teachers, she said.

“All of our teachers are very talented,” she said.

 The performers were:

  • Don Baker, who teaches band at Salt Brook and assists with the Pioneer Marching Band
  • Jessica Beltz, a member of special education department at NPHS and was an actress and theater educator before teaching 
  • Pamela Crockett, who studied at the performing arts institute in Wilkes Barre, Pa.
  • Craig Duke, teaches and directs at NPHS
  • Kelley Fahey, technology specialist at AWR
  • Edward Fleischman, director of middle school and high school orchestras and Swingin’ strings ensemble
  • Catherine Flynn, teaches vocal and choral music at AWR, middle and high schools
  • Kenneth Hess, the dept. head of fine performing and practical arts and teaches vocal music at AWR
  • Walter Kempner, teaches economics, history and financial literacy teacher at NPHS
  • Susan Kirkland, teaches choral and vocal music at NPHS
  • Timothy Leonard, cellist and student at Rutgers University
  • Michael Niedziejko, director of bands for NPHS
  • Jose Rodriguez, director of the orchestra at AWR and  Salt Brook
  • Sandra Searing,  the director of curriculum instruction
  • Jennifer Starr, teaches vocal music at Salt Brook and AWR
  • Celeste Zazzali, teaches band at AWR