October 18, 2019
President’s Message
2019 Summit
Every September, the MTNA hosts a leadership weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio, for all of the presidents of
the affiliated state associations called Summit. Personally, I have learned a great deal from attending this
weekend of lectures, meetings and reports. Assuming VMTA’s presidency as a free-lance musician and
teacher, I found that I lacked some of the skills necessary to lead our organization. (Thank you, board
members, for your patience with me!) My philosophy is that everything I learn will somehow be useful to
me as a person, musician, teacher or VMTA president. Because I believe that knowledge is precious, I
continually strive to learn so that I will in turn grow in the many aspects of my personal and professional life.

This year’s Summit introduced attendees to “ the
Enneagram, ” an intriguing model of the human psyche
realized as nine interconnected personality types. (The
term comes from the Greek words for “nine” and
“drawn.”) The nine personality types are shown noted in
the illustration to the right.

The Summit’s keynote speaker was a psychologist who has dedicated herself to the Enneagram. She is convinced that if we, as association presidents, understand our board members, our membership, our students and even everyday people we meet in our lives in this way, we can understand the
best ways to respond and relate to that person.

I found the concept intriguing because it made me think
about how we relate to people in our professional and
personal lives. Do I need to assign an Enneagram
number to my colleagues or students in order to
understand them? Can I ever fully comprehend another
human being? Is recognizing a personality type enough
to know how to relate to that person? In the wide
spectrum that constitutes human relationships with all of
their unspoken subtleties, body language, vocal tone, and eye contact (or lack thereof), is it really possible to label a person a certain type, thereby limiting one’s understanding of that person to a description? To me, that answer is no. And this led me to think about how we approach music and teaching. Are we limited in our knowledge right now? Will we evolve and develop? Will the student? And the music? In my view, the answers are yes. So, what is the point? For me, it is to look beyond how a student performs at a certain moment in time
and to envision that student in the future as an advanced accomplished musician; to strive to learn more about the music I am preparing and performing; and to view each person with whom I come in contact with as an individually dynamic and developing soul. Can the Enneagram help with interpersonal relationships? I honestly don’t know. I only know that, for now, I will continue to rely on my own philosophy – to listen to others, to consider their points of view, and to be respectful to them.

If you want to be involved in your music teaching community, and help us keep VMTA running, volunteer
some time to help out at an event, or join the board of directors. We would love to have you!
VMTA Calendar

Fall Ensemble Festival
November 10, 2019
Richmond Library

VMTA Competitive Auditions
November 10, 2019
Richmond Library

Music at the Mall
University Mall
January 24-26, 2020

Spring Festival
Trinity Baptist Church
March 28, 2020
VMTA Board Members
Laurel Maurer


Samantha Angstman

Sarah Williams
Conference Chair

Non-Competitive Auditions
Lilly C. Ramsey

Competitive Auditions

Sylvia Parker, NCTM
Jina Smith

Patricia Cleary Bergeron

Web Publicist
Samuel Whitesell

Composer Commissioning
Quad State Fall Conference

Collaboration, Empowerment and Motivation in the Studio was the theme of this year’s Quad State Conference. 
Vermont MTA joined its MTA neighbors in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts for our biennial “Quad State” Conference. This year it was held at the beautiful campus of Endicott College in Beverly, MA. The Keynote speaker was Dr. William Westney, author of “The Perfect Wrong Note”. Dr. Westney had a lecture on the many elements that create enjoyment when it comes to music study. 

New works, commissioned by each state (New Hampshire and Maine were co-commissioners) were presented to an enthusiastic audience. Each piece was unique in both style and message. Vermont’s Commissioned composer-Dennis Bathory Kitsz-created “Fugue States”. Written for voice, alto flute, looper and metallophones, the piece explores an atmosphere of comfort that becomes tense. 

Because of the many percussion instruments and electronics, the piece was recorded and presented at the conference in video format. If you want to see it, it is now on YouTube. Click the link below to view.

Conference attendees were treated to a wonderful chamber music concert comprised of ensembles from NH, ME and MA. 

Dr. Westney finished the conference activities with his Un-Masterclass which is designed as a lively, engaging alternative to the traditional masterclass. 

Special thanks to Alison Barr of MA for her two years of planning this very successful conference! 
Marie Johnson and Sylvia Parker enjoying dessert at the Quad State Conference
Commissioned Composers 2019
Dennis Bathory-Kitsz, VT
Alexandra du Bois, NH and ME
Vartan Aghababian, MA
following the Commissioned Composers concert
MTNA Member News

Sylvia Parker : Here is the link to an article by Sylvia Parker recently published in College Music Symposium. It’s a story about the famous “Swedish Nightingale” singer Jenny Lind and the “Prince of Humbug” PT Barnum, and their unlikely collaboration in a tour of America in 1850. Sylvia presented a short version of this paper at a conference in Sweden, and the article grew out of that presentation. College Music Symposium

Elaine Greenfield : Hello Everyone!
It is a busy time in the Greenfield studio, with no let-up in the forecast. Early summer featured Greenfield Piano Associates annual recital, in which VMTA members Susanna Guthmann, Claire Black, and Samantha Angstman participated. We bade farewell to Claire Black, who left us to begin a new life adventure near Spokane Washington, only 45 minutes from Melody Puller, now residing in northern Idaho! Performing and teaching at the Adamant Music School was on my summer agenda and proved to be as fulfilling as ever, with outstanding students from around the world. In early August I recorded the second phase of my Ravel recording project, in Syracuse, N.Y., on a rare, totally restored, 20th century Ivers and Pond Concert Grand. After returning home, it was time to finish the final editing of the first phase, recorded October 2018 on a 1893 French Erard, identical to Ravel’s piano, at the Frederick Collection in Massachusetts. This editing, with Charles Eller of Eller Studios in Charlotte, wound down just this October 2nd. Next spring we edit the second, Ivers and Pond, phase. This is a long-range project, due for completion during fall 2020. It features two recordings of the same Ravel works on contrasting instruments, one of which provides the sound as Ravel heard it. Soprano Helen Lyons and I perform songs by Fanny Mendelssohn & Alma Mahler for Middlebury Song Fest, featuring music by women composers, Oct. 19, 8 pm, Unitarian Universalist Society, Middlebury. Fall teaching has begun; GPA has met, and is now organized for a full season of classes, workshops, and recitals. Best wishes to everyone for a happy, rewarding musical season! 

Susan Nicholas : In June I attended a Piano Pedagogy Workshop in Rochester NY. The workshop was sponsored by the Rochester Piano Teachers' Guild and Nazareth College. Ingrid Clarfield, a professor of piano and head of the Piano Division at Westminster Choir College was the presenter. The 2 day workshop discussed materials for moving students from method books through repertoire that will prepare them with the technical and musical challenges that they encounter in their first Chopin pieces.
Professor Clarfield shared her strategies and technical, musical, psychological, and philosophical teaching suggestions. The conference ended with a masterclass.

 VMTA is comprised of dedicated, independent music teachers like you. Teachers who want excellent performing opportunities for their students. Teachers who enjoy being inspired by lectures and classes from gifted and well known pedagogues. Teachers who simply want high standards of music education in the state of Vermont. The higher the level of teaching and student performance, the more students gain and are inspired. The VMTA board is happy to spend time and resources making these programs available to you and your students. We all know how beneficial it is to belong to this collective of teachers. Please ask yourself if you could donate some of your time to help. There are 3 board meetings a year. The meetings last 2 hours. The duties are light. But we do need more teachers to help out. Please let a board member know if you would like to contribute in this way. We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Join us on Facebook ! Please check out the latest VMTA programs and news on the Vermont Music Teachers Association Facebook page!”
Do you patronize a music store? Piano tuner? Instrument maker? Are they a VMTA sponsor? (See ads in this newsletter). If not, could you mention our sponsor program to them and let a board member know about them? Sponsors receive publicity to the market they are trying to reach-teachers, students and their families. Their support of music education in Vermont will also help their business. 

Fall Ensemble Festival

The VMTA is offering a new performance opportunity for students. Pianists are
often asked to accompany singers or instrumentalists. Collaboration between musicians is both fun and educational, opening up a new dimension in music making. The first VMTA Ensemble Festival Concert will be on Sunday, November 10 at 3:45 at the Richmond Free Library. The Ensemble Festival is a great way to build skills for accompanying.

If you have students interested in participating, contact Marie Johnson or Susan Nicholas, co-chairs of this event. They may also be of help finding appropriate repertoire or if you have a student interested but need help finding other musicians to play with.

Friends and family members of a student who studies with a VMTA member are invited to join in. Music to be performed at the Ensemble festival should be Chamber music, solo instrumentalist accompanied by students, piano duets, and piano trios are examples of music that are intended to be performed at the festival.

Memorization for this concert is not required.

Teachers may enter 15 minutes of music for the performance, but can add more if time allows. A fee of $5 a student (or $10 a family) will be charged.
The VMTA board is very excited to launch this new program!
Sunday, November 10, 2019

Sunday, November 10, 2019 will be a very full day for VMTA and BBVMTA members. Our activities will take place at the Richmond Free Library 

11:30-12:00 competitive audition. Level is senior piano

12:30-1:30 General membership meeting

2:00 pm BBVMTA recital

3:45 pm VMTA Ensemble Festival

On a spectacular summer after BBVMTA members welcomed new members at the fall pot luck luncheon on Monday, August 25, 2019 in my backyard, members elected BBVMTA officers for the 2019-2020 term:
Co-Presidents: Melissa Dickerson & Marie Johnson                              
Treasurer:                           Lilly Ramsey
Recital Chair:                      Ed Darling
Monster Concert Chair:      Patty Bergeron

We discussed the two BBVMTA recitals, Wynn Ann Rossi’s 2021 commissioned monster concert duet suite based on Lake Champlain themes, and shared some of our favorite teaching pieces. We’re looking forward to an exciting season.
Our next event is the BBVMTA Recital on November 10, 2019 at the Richmond Library. Hope to see you there!

Marie Johnson
Music at the Mall Event

Come one! Come all! Support the VMTA as well as The Children’s Oncology Unit at UVM Medical Center by playing your instrument. Yes! Just by playing (or singing), your students can raise funds for both our VMTA as well as for families of children battling cancer.

WHERE? University Mall in South Burlington (main stage)
WHEN? January 24………..5:00pm - 8:30pm
              January 25……….11:00am - 5:00pm
              January 26……….12:00noon - 4:30pm
WHY? Fundraiser for both VMTA and families facing a cancer battle.
HOW? Each student must have at least 1 sponsor to be able to play. (There is NO minimum    
            amount to qualify as a sponsorship.) You may stage competitions within your studio or 
            possibly compete between studios. Use your imagination! 

Please contact me, Lynn Smith ( luspiano@gmail.com ), to sign up your students to play in the mall. I like to sign in 15 minute increments. Students may play once or several times to fill in a time period. The audience changes regularly as pedestrians pass the playing area, pause to listen, then move on. The idea is to keep someone performing for as much of the time as possible! Teachers are welcome to play as time allows. 

Suggestions: Try to program “crowd-pleasing” music. That does not necessarily mean fast and furious since slow and beautiful is crowd-pleasing as well. Well-known tunes of all genres draw in people to listen and most often result in donations. Student duets, teacher/student ensembles, and chamber groups make for interesting performances as well.

I look forward to hearing from each of you!

VMTA Spring Festival 2020
Saturday, March 28, 2020

Our annual VMTA Spring Festival will be held on Saturday, March 28th, 2020 , at Trinity Baptist School and Church in Williston, Vermont. The registration deadline is Friday, February, 21st, 2020 . Registrations will be available after January 1st, 2020. If you have questions about this event or to receive a registration, please email Lilly Ramsey at  cldkramsey@comcast.net  to request an electronic registration. We hope to have many participants!

Summer Sonatina
Summer Sonatina celebrates 50 years
Summer Sonatina International Piano Camp in Bennington celebrated 50 years this past summer. Festivities lasted three days, starting with an evening student concert in Chapin Hall at Williams College on the 9-foot Bosendorfer Imperial. We had an open mic pizza party under the tent in the backyard of Summer Sonatina to hear stories from those who had come to camp many years ago or are currently in attendance. This was followed by a ceremony to honor the Founder of Summer Sonatina, Rosamond van der Linde and a film on the history of camp. The evening was capped off with a solo piano concert by pianist, Mackenzie Melemed, who attended Summer Sonatina when he was 9 and 10 years old. His program included: Bach French Suite in G major, BWV 81; Schumann Symphonic Variations, Op. 13: Poulenc Trois Pieces; Scriabin Five Preludes, Op. 16 and Rachmaninoff’s Six Moments Musicaux, Op. 16.

Traditionally, Summer Sonatina ends their season with a final concert on the back lawns of camp; however, this season, the last day of camp also included a very special event in the morning. To celebrate our 50th, Summer Sonatina commissioned a piece to be composed by Sonatina Faculty Member, Joel A. Martin. The idea was to write a composition for 4 pianos that were repurposed and commissioned to be painted by local artists. The artists were selected through the Vermont Arts Exchange in North Bennington (who were also celebrating their 25th anniversary) and all were painted colorfully. The composition included lyrics about Summer Sonatina and its 50 year history. 

Because the pianos were not in concert-stage condition, Mr. Martin chose to write in rag-time honky-tonk style and titled the piece: “The Bennington Stomp.” The young pianists at Summer Sonatina had 5 days to learn the lyrics as well as the choreographed dance steps to look all the more festive during the performance. 

Two years prior, the Town of Bennington allowed Sonatina to paint a 30 x 30 foot Piano Key Compass in the middle of the main intersection at the Four Corners in downtown Bennington. The inspiration behind the painting came from a Flash Mob that Sonatina had performed downtown on the crosswalks with giant painted piano keys on cardboard. Shortly after that, there was a major article written in a Boston newspaper about Bennington, focusing on its popularity through nature, history, and food. Because art is a big part of our community, Summer Sonatina Director, Polly van der Linde, approached the town to have her design painted. It was approved immediately. 

Rehearsing for this event proved to be quite difficult. We had to chalk an outline of the Piano Key Compass in a parking lot, bring 4 electronic keyboards and amps, all the props, cords, wires, and mics outside and hope for good weather. We had to haul all the equipment in and out every day for the 5 days we had to learn the score. 

For the performance, the Piano Key Compass formed the stage for the Bennington Stomp. Over 400 people (local and alumni of Sonatina) came to watch the pianos have their artistic unveiling and then the students began to sing and dance while faculty members played the pianos. The celebration was so joyful, Rosamond van der Linde was honored again and many people are still talking about how much fun it was to see and hear the world premiere of The Bennington Stomp. 

Here’s the Bennington Banner Article about the event:  https://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/downtown-pauses-for-the-bennington-stomp,580674  (Lyrics to the piece are included)

Here’s the Bennington CAT-TV event on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1sjV9titL0&t=14s

And, if you’re on FaceBook, the livestream done by Sonatina (better audio):  https://www.facebook.com/pollyvanderlinde/videos/10218424507220110/
Upcoming Concerts

Middlebury Song Fest 
Saturday, October 19th, 8 pm, at  Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society, Middlebury Helen Lyons and I have been happily collaborating to perform art songs of Fanny Mendelssohn and Alma Mahler for the festival, which takes place over the weekend, Friday, October 18th, ~ Sunday, the 20th. Mendelssohn and Mahler, each overshadowed by a towering musical giant, were active in their own right, producing art songs of outstanding beauty, depth and power. We look forward to sharing these wonderful songs with you.
Performances on Friday, October 18th will be held at the Middlebury Community Music Center, 6 Main Street, Middlebury. Tickets can be purchased online ($15) or at the door ($20). The performance begins at 8 p.m. and features three voice and piano duos:
  • Francois Clemmons, recipient of the 2019 Governor’s (Vermont) Award for Excellence in the Arts, and Cynthia Huard will perform Margaret Bond’s Three Dream Portraits, with poetry by Langston Hughes, and selected spirituals. 
  • Ali Dawson Gibson, festival director, and Sadie Brightman, Middlebury Community Music Center’s director, will perform Vermont native, Gwyneth Walker’s song cycle, The Sun Is Love, with poetry by Rumi.
  • Sarah Cullins and Sammy Angstman will perform selected Argentinian and Spanish songs. 

Performances on Saturday, October 19th will be held the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society, 2 Duane Court, Middlebury. Tickets can be purchased online ($20) or at the door ($25). The performance begins at 8 p.m. and features three voice and piano duos:
  • Helen Lyons and Elaine Greenfield will perform selected songs by Fanny Mendelssohn and Alma Mahler. 
  • Mary Bonhag and Marika Yasuda will perform selected songs by Germaine Tailleferre.
  • Ivy Walz and Diane Birr will perform Juliana Hall’s social justice song cycle, Through the Guarded Gate.

On Sunday, October 20th soprano Mary Bonhag will offer a master class to developing artists and students at 1 p.m., followed by a developing artists concert at 4 p.m. Students interested in participating must submit an application online at www.middleburysongfest.org . Both of these events are free and will be held at Middlebury Community Music Center, 6 Main Street.  

VMTA Website: vermontmta.net

Allan H. Day, R.P.T. Piano Service
8 Lincoln Road
Williston, VT 05495
(802) 879-4338

Advance Music Center
75 Maple Street
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 863-8652
(802) 660-8652

American College of Musicians
P.O. Box 1807
Austin, TX 78767
(512) 478-5775

Ellis Music Company, Inc.
P.O. Box 437
Bethel, VT 05032
(802) 234-6400

Geoghegan Company
396 Howes Rd,
Moretown, VT 05660

Hilbert Pianos
40 Pleasant Street
Bristol, VT 05443
(802) 453-3743

Piano Service by Rose Kinnick, RPT
(802) 598-3385

Steinway Pianos
One Steinway Place
Astoria, NY 11105

Vermont Piano Service
Ben Giroux
64 Paquette Road
St. Albans, VT 05478
(802) 343-1333
What we ever hope to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.