WARREN, NJ - Some 38 student singers and/or instrumentalists were inducted as either Returning Members or Newly Inducted Members at this year’s Tri-M Music Honor Society induction Ceremony, Thursday, Feb. 13, in the Watchung Hills Regional High School’s (WHRHS) South Auditorium.

The WHRHS chapter of the honor society is Chapter 1549.

WHRHS Choral Music Teacher and Chapter Advisor, Angela DiIorio Bird, welcomed all the students and parents to the ceremony, along with Guest Speaker, Music Teacher, Conductor and performer Diana Charos-Reilly. She also performed several pieces of music with WHRHS students while students and the parents arrived and took their seats in the auditorium. 

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Charos-Reilly played flute in a duet with fellow flutist, Tri-M Honor Society Executive Board Secretary Maylin Zhu, and as a trio with Zhu on Flute and Tri-M Member Spencer Shao on Cello.

Also playing before the induction ceremony was a Wind Quintet of WHRHS instrumentalists: Zhu on flute; Erica Hwang on oboe; Ben Watkins on french horn; Vijay Subramanian on bass clarinet; and Tan on clarinet.

The newly selected student Executive Board for this year’s Class of Tri-M Music Honor Society was also named at the induction ceremony. They are: Christine Tanko and Katie Tan, presidents; Matthew Schaefer, vice president; Maylin Zhu, secretary; Miah Manning, treasurer; and Madeleine Johnson, historian. They are all returning Tri-M members

Other returning members are: Spencer Shao, Hannah Marszalek, Ariya Blow, James Narayanan, Christine Sarrico, Catherine Cai, Ben Watkins, Emily Thompson, Jack Melillo, Anisha Jackson, Giovanna DiSanto, Vijay Subramanian, and Sam Bouffard.

Newly Inducted Members are: Maya Zhang, Nina DiNorscio, Jordan Pincus, Melissa Miketen, Alex Martino, Malvika George, Arshia Agrawal, John Santucci, Jenna Hansen, Katerina Calvo, Kathryn Selinger, Olivia Kider, and Erica Hwang.

Induction Program

WHRHS Music Teacher DiIorio Bird welcomed all to the induction ceremony, saying:  “The students you see here before you have been selected to be a part of this very prestigious group based on their passion, dedication and devotion to our music department. As chapter advisor it is a sincere pleasure to work with such talented students. The rigorous audition and selection process was in no way easy. I am confident that this strong and highly selective group will do all they can this year to share their talents, not only for the Watchung Hills’ student body but also for the community. It gives me great pleasure to announce this year’s chapter co-presidents Christine Tanko and Katie Tan.”

From there, the various members of the student Executive Board took turns handling various aspects of the speaking program, leading up to the comments by the Guest Speaker Charos-Reilly.

Treasurer Manning explained, “These music students have been carefully selected on the basis of scholarship, character, leadership, and service. Scholarship represents scholastic achievement and open-mindedness toward knowledge and truth. Character emphasizes a devotion to high ideals and recognizes no barriers between people of diverse backgrounds. Leadership guides us to greater undertakings, and service encourages assistance and kindness to others.”

Co-President Tanko explained the honor society’s name, “The name Tri-M was derived from the original name of our honor society, Modern Music Masters.” 

“That which is new in any age is called modern,” explained Vice President Schaefer. “It is only in looking back that descriptions such as old, classical, or romantic are given to those art forms that had formerly been accepted as modern.”

Secretary Zhu explained, “Let us remember that we should study the past to effectively plan our future. This is a youth organization, and with each succeeding year, its membership will be made up of young people such as you. Therefore, our honor society will never grow old, but will be eternally modern.”

Historian Johnson explained, “According to The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, ‘Music is the art of sound that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color.’"

She continued, “Music was present even before there was written language, and from that time to the present, it has been a source of communication. Music is the universal language.”

Co-President Tanko explained, “The third letter M signifies ‘masters.’ In the art field, the custom has been to give the title of ‘master’ to those who have achieved a high degree of proficiency.”

Co-President Tan added, “You have met the criteria as a Tri-M candidate for student membership. As ‘masters’ you now have increased your opportunities to serve your school and community. A member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society is one who sets a good example, is always willing to assist those students who are striving to better themselves in the music department, and always remembers that real honor brings responsibility. May you accept this honor of membership and the responsibility that is now vested in you, and wear your pin emblem with pride.”

Vice-President Schaefer described the significance of the TRI-M Pin that every member received, “The Tri-M emblem was designed to symbolize the function and purpose of the honor society. The music staff, the lyre, and the scroll represents the members’ proficiency and service in the field of music. The triplet figure in the form of an M symbolizes the three Ms in the name Modern Music Masters, from which the society’s name was derived.”

Guest Speaker

Co-President Tan then introduced the guest speaker: “It is my pleasure to introduce today’s speaker Diana Charos-Reilly.  Mrs. Reilly is an accomplished teacher, conductor and performer, well known throughout the community and the greater New Jersey vicinity.  Along with an extensive private flute studio, she is the founder and director of three flute ensembles for the New Jersey Youth Symphony, attracting some of the most talented young flutists in the region.  Her students have gone on to take the top seats in the state’s orchestral and band competitions.”

She continued, “Additionally Mrs. Reilly is the current flute instructor at Fairleigh Dickinson University (Madison) and has taught and conducted at Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.), Westminster Choir College (Princeton) and The College of St. Elizabeth (Convent Station section of Morris Township). She holds a B.S. in Music Performance from the Hartt School of Music (Hartford University, West Hartford, Conn.) under the tutelage of John Wion, principal flutist for the New York City Ballet, continued her post graduate studies at Mason Gross School of the Arts, and is a graduate of Juilliard’s pre-college division.”

Charos-Reilly started her comments by marveling about the universal language of music. Two people across the world could meet anytime, anywhere, and speak to each other if they know, can read, play, and/or sing music.

She congratulated the inducted students, saying membership in the Tri-M Music Honor Society is a “true musical milestone.” She added, they didn’t reach this achievement by luck or chance. They achieved it by “preparation, persistence and resilience.”

She urged the students to understand what many high achieving people know: They must realize that they will experience failures, but that when they do, those failures can be opportunities to learn.

Charos-Reilly urged the students to adopt the attitude that they will remain “lifetime learners,” no matter what they do for a living. They would do well to have the mindset of being continually in the mindset of self-discovery. 

Music Teacher and Chapter Advisor DiIorio Bird said it was her pleasure to read a congratulatory message from the Tri-M Music Honor Society national leadership to the new members of Chapter 1549. 

“Dear inductees, congratulations on your induction into the Tri-M Music Honor Society. Your nomination for membership is based on your musicianship, academic qualification, and demonstrated leadership. You may take great pride in this achievement, which unites you with thousands of other student members throughout the world. As you were instructed during the presentation ceremony, ‘We should study the past to effectively prepare for our future.’ With that thought in mind, you are now in the unique position of being able to pass on the ‘torch of your musical knowledge’ to colleagues and future beneficiaries of musical arts. May you wear your Tri-M pin with pride and dignity as you continue to demonstrate the value of music in your life and share your gift with your school and community. Welcome to the Tri-M family.”

Co-presidents Tanko and Tan thanked all who attended the ceremony and supported the members. They also thanked DiIorio Bird, the officers and all who have made this induction ceremony such a success. 

“We look forward to the next few months, full of bright ideas, performances, and community. Congratulations to all those inducted, thank you, and have a wonderful night,” said Co-President Tan.