Two Edgemont School Students Win Recorder Contest

Montclair, NJ – Julienne Pape, President and Founder of Montclair Early Music (MEM), recently announced winners of its annual Elementary School Recorder Contest sponsored in part by the American Recorder Society.

From Montclair’s Edgemont School the winners are Lyle Harmon and Coco Luraschi; from Belleville’s School #25 the winners are Lindsay Chabla and Maya Herrera-Shimokawa.

Four recorder students after receiving awards at Avis Memorial Gardens10-2020: (Left to right) Lyle Harmon, Coco Luraschi, Lindsay Chabla and Maya Herrera-Shimokawa.
Photographer: Christian Herrera

The annual contest is open to all students in Essex County. Twelve students participated in the contest and all received free lessons. In these challenging COVID-19 times, Pape altered her teaching style and delivered their lessons initially via Zoom. Later she taught them outdoors in Montclair’s Essex Park maintaining safe distances.

Pape explains: “We believe music can have an enormous impact on learning and self confidence in all areas of life, and recorder music has a rich history and extensive repertoire. While simple to play, the recorder is much more than the ‘Hot Cross Buns’ tune that most of us learned in primary school.”

The players submitted videos which were evaluated by three nationally recognized professional recorder players/teachers who used a variety of criteria including accuracy, posture and hand position as well as tone and articulation.

The award ceremony for this contest took place on October 4 as part of a special outdoor concert by the Montclair Early Music group entitled “A French Masque.” After the students performed memorized French traditional folk songs, they were presented with trophies and a cash prize.

Edgemont School’s music teacher Max Mellman explains: “I’m so proud of Lyle and Coco! When Edgemont School went remote last year, Montclair Early Music was one of the first local organizations to reach out and offer free supplementary recorder lessons for our students. A number of Edgemont’s third grade families jumped at the opportunity. I was pleased to sit in on some of their remote lessons and hear how well Montclair Early Music’s Leader Julienne Pape worked with Lyle and Coco.

“By continuing further with their recorder studies, Lyle and Coco have found musical ways to bring joy to their homes during these emotionally stressful times. Additionally, their sharing of their progress with their own classmates through pre-recorded videos and live Zoom meetings have helped to propel the whole third grade’s interest in their recorders into new territory, extending beyond the school year. For this, I am so grateful.

“I thank Montclair Early Music for their dedication to local high-quality childhood music education as well as the Harmon and Luraschi families for unconditionally supporting their children’s musical interests during this era of social distance.”

Cara Birnbaum – Lyle Harmon’s mother – is delighted by her son’s personal growth: “Thank you Julienne Pape for everything. I try hard to look for the few silver linings during this time — this opportunity our children have had to learn and play recorder with Montclair Early Music group and together outdoors is absolutely one of them. What an amazing experience the last many months have been especially with Sunday’s beautiful concert! Lyle is so excited about his award.”

Julienne Pape affirmed the meaning for these Montclair Schools: “We hope our support of area schools and their students will add to their success in the future as well as enhance the appreciation of recorder music.”

The October 4th concert at the Avis Campbell Gardens in Montclair was limited to a small audience to accommodate social distance seating.

Major sponsorship was provided by Renda & Voynick, Esqs from Cedar Grove. Montclair Early Music Consort performed French music beginning with a Medieval Processional and included music of a Burgundian Masque (festival) and Music from the court of Louis XIV.

The event was taped and will be broadcast on TV-34. For more information please visit MontclairEarlyMusic.org. Students interested in applying for 2021 contest — send inquiry to info@montclairearlymusic.org.

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