Dear CMS Band Students and Families -
I hope that this message finds you safe and healthy as we approach the end of the 2020-21 academic year. Although we did not have the opportunity for our usual musical celebrations this spring, I hope that our students know how proud we are of your work this year. We are all looking forward to the day when we can get back in the music wing and make beautiful sounds together again.
I am writing to share news of staffing changes in our music department for the upcoming school year. Two of our teachers will be moving on to exciting new opportunities, and we will be welcoming in two outstanding music educators to join our team.
Megan Riccio will be leaving Belmont after making an excellent contribution to our program for the past two years. Ms. Riccio has accepted a Doctoral Teaching Assistantship at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. Any musicians reading this will know that the Frost School at Miami is considered to be one of the very best music schools in the world. Megan has, for years, been one of the most sought-after and well-respected French horn players in the Boston area. This is an incredible opportunity that Ms. Riccio has earned, and we wish her all the best in her new adventures in the warmer weather.
In late February we were very fortunate to have Jacob Gross join us as a long-term substitute teacher in our music department. Though we only had the opportunity to work with Mr. Gross for a few weeks prior to the Covid-19 school closure, those who have continued to work with Jacob remotely can attest to the great work he has done with our students and staff. Mr. Gross will be pursuing a Masters Degree in Arts Administration at Boston University. We all want to thank him for his work this spring, and wish him the best of luck.
Over the past several weeks we screened applications and interviewed many candidates to fill these positions. I would like to thank the many members of the BPS music department, Nicolette Foundas, Mike McAllister and John Phelan for their work in helping us select and hire two outstanding music educators to join our teaching faculty.
Joseph Wright is a brass specialist who has been teaching music in the Andover Schools since 2001. He directed the Andover High School bands until 2013, when he went to work helping the program move its start from sixth to fourth grade. He has been teaching elementary and middle school bands since.
Mr. Wright has taught in Waterville, ME and Chelsea, MA. He was fortunate to have an opportunity to lead the concert, marching, and pep bands at Boston University. Over the course of nine years, he taught classes in music education, managed the Young Artists' Orchestra at their Tanglewood Institute, and administered their all-university (non-major) music program.
Mr. Wright holds a Bachelors of Music in music education from the University of New Hampshire, and a Masters of Music from Boston University. He loves travel, pursuing American history, Celtic music and culture, baseball, soccer, and golf. His wife, Dr. Amy McGlothlin, is the Director of Bands at Fitchburg State University. His son Mack will begin a program in Graphic Design this fall at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. He is thrilled to be offered this chance to become part of the Belmont music community!
Saxophonist, Ken Gable, originally from Andover, MA, began his professional career in Boston. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Ken has performed with such notables as Wynton Marsalis, David Sanchez, Michael Philip Mossman, Herb Pomeroy, Alan Dawson, Victor Mendoza, Sal Cracchiolo, Steve Cotter and Lee Thornburg. While living in California, Ken played with the MVPs who shared the stage with such artists as Kelly Clarkson, The GoGo’s, Tom Jones and Santana.
Receiving his undergraduate in Music Education at Berklee College of Music, Ken has taught all levels in schools in Massachusetts, New York and California. He has also taught in the Jazz Programs at Queens College and St. John’s University. In addition to teaching, Ken has adjudicated the Alhambra High School Jazz Festival as well as the SCSBOA Honor Band for southern California.
While teaching at Lexington High School, Ken directed the LHS Jazz Ensemble and Combo which was accepted to the Charles Mingus Jazz Festival. In 2012 both groups placed first in their division. Ken has strived in developing quality Fine and Performing Arts programs in many schools and co-chaired with an organization called Arts for All. As co-chair, Ken developed a district wide arts policy and strategic plan, which would provide music, visual art, dance and theatre to all students in the Wiseburn School District. More recently, Ken was the K -12 Music Coordinator for the Walpole Public Schools and was instrumental in developing a comprehensive district wide music program and started up a private lesson program for students in grades 4 to 12.
The level of skill and experience that Joe Wright and Ken Gable bring will make them invaluable to the continued success of our students and our programs. Their musical backgrounds provide our faculty with a diverse set of skills that should wonderfully compliment those of Jaclyn Viscardi and Alley Lacasse, their colleagues in the Belmont Band Program. I know I speak for all of our teachers when I say how excited we will be to get back to making music together - in some way, shape or form - as soon as we can.
Thank you for taking the time to read this message, and for your continued support of music in our schools. I hope you have a stress-free last week of school, and a wonderful summer ahead.
Director of Visual & Performing Arts, Belmont Public Schools