WEST NEWBURY — As the school year comes to a close, the Pentucket Regional School District wishes to recognize and highlight music staff for their dedication and exemplary work.
This spring, the district was honored with a Best Communities for Music Education award from the NAMM Foundation. For the past 22 years, this honor has been awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.
The district’s music instructors are specialists in their fields of jazz, percussion, strings, voice and woodwinds, and are active in their professional pursuits performing, publishing, recording, composing, presenting, and guest conducting. Pentucket music staff include:
David Schumacher is Director of Bands & Jazz for the Pentucket Regional School District, and he has worked at Pentucket for 21 years. He is also one of the district’s Elementary Band and Instrumental Music Specialists, instructs the Pentucket Regional Middle School Jazz Band, and also oversees the Pentucket Regional High School Band and Jazz Ensembles. He is primarily a composer and saxophone player, and composed for and conducted his own jazz orchestra in New York City from 2000-2014.
His NYC Jazz Orchestra recording received critical acclaim and designation as one of CD Baby’s top 10 jazz albums of 2009. His music has been commissioned and performed by artists, bands, and schools across the country; he has been published in several national publications; and has presented at conferences throughout the Northeast.
Schumacher holds a master’s degree in Jazz Studies from the New England Conservatory with high honors and distinction in performance.
“Music is not just something we play, it’s a powerful tool to improve the wellbeing of both the individual and their community,” Schumacher said. “Working with our students for up to nine years in a row puts us in the unique position to influence not only their musical aptitude, but their personal growth as human beings. It’s an incredible responsibility – awesome in every sense of the word – because these are obviously profoundly formative years. The social-emotional learning they have experienced throughout our program will continue to impact their growth in significant ways well beyond the notated page.”
Hartigan is an Elementary Instrumental Music Specialist and oversees the Pentucket Regional Middle School and Pentucket Regional High School percussion ensembles.
He has worked at Pentucket for two years, and plays drums with a number of bands that perform throughout the New England area including the Deep Blue “C” Studio Orchestra, 60s Invasion and Bonus Cat. He primarily plays the drums and percussion, and also teaches private drum lessons at Zach Field Drums and Music in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
Hartigan holds a bachelor’s degree in music education and music performance from UMASS Lowell.
“When I was a student in High School my music classes and private drum lessons were a great source of inspiration and joy,” Hartigan said. “I want to be able to pass on that same feeling and love for music to all of my students.”
Torossian is a District Orchestra Director and Instrumental Music Specialist, and oversees the district’s elementary, middle and high school orchestras. He has worked at Pentucket for five years, and in his spare time plays the guitar and keyboards for a reggae/rock band called Supernothing. In addition to the guitar, he plays all of the string orchestra instruments, including cello, violin, viola and bass. He holds a master’s degree in music education from UMass Lowell.
“My love for performing and writing music mixed with sharing the valuable benefits of being involved in learning an instrument brought me into wanting to teach,” Torossian said. “I want students to walk away from their time with me seeing the value of the essential skills that music can teach that are applicable into everyday life, for example: time management, discipline, patience, accountability, compassion, teamwork/social skills and more.”
MacLennan oversees the Pentucket Regional Middle School and Pentucket Regional High School Choirs as well as music electives at both schools. She has worked at Pentucket for five years., and is a singer and a pianist. MacLennan holds a master’s degree in music education from Boston University as well as a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire in music education.
Before the pandemic, she was a member of the Newburyport Choral Society, as well as other choirs and bands. In addition to teaching at Pentucket she teaches private voice and piano lessons at Zach Field Drums and Music and has led various choirs and A Cappella groups.
“My philosophy as a music educator is to empower students to become functional musicians, and to inspire students to love listening to and performing music,” MacLennan said. “I also strive to create authentic performance experiences for my students so that they can apply their skills in the musical world. Lastly, I focus on fostering a safe and welcoming learning environment where students feel comfortable and motivated to make music together.”
Guerriero is an Elementary Band and Instrumental Music Specialist, and instructs the Pentucket Regional Middle School band and music electives at the school. She has worked at Pentucket for nine years. Her primary instrument is the flute, and she holds a master’s degree in music education from UMass Lowell as well as a bachelor’s degree in music education from Gordon College. She was a member of the Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes and Drums for many years, as well as local chamber groups.
“I became a music teacher because I was passionate about sharing my love of music with others,” Guerriero said. “In my classes and ensembles I strive to foster an atmosphere of teamwork as we learn to make music together. I love helping students develop the skills necessary to have a lifelong enjoyment of music, whether they continue to actively create and perform it themselves, or further appreciate music in the world around them.”
Dickson is a music teacher at the Merrimac Schools. She teaches weekly classes to students in kindergarten through grade six and has been with the district cumulatively for nine years.
Dickson is a Gordon College graduate and has served as musical director for several area choirs, theater productions, and children’s programs.
“Music is an important part of our overall health and wellness. It brings me immense joy to help young students connect meaningfully with music,” Dickson said. “All students can be music participants, all students can be thoughtful listeners, and all students can benefit from a well-rounded music program. I am deeply grateful for a school district that values music and has made it an important part of the student experience.”
About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music-making by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org.