The Hartt School Community Division Alumni Newsletter September 2016
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The Compass: September 2016

September 2016

In this Issue

HCD Faculty Spotlight

Daniel D'Addio

The Connecticut Youth Symphony is HCD’s top-level orchestra. Created nearly 75 years ago by Rubin Segal, the Hartt School Training Orchestra, as it was originally called, held its first concert in May 1939. Since then the orchestra has undergone numerous name changes, including Hartt Youth Orchestra (1955–64), Greater Hartford Youth Orchestra (1965–89), and most recently, Connecticut Youth Symphony (CYS).

Current music director, Daniel D’Addio, DMA (University of Michigan), shared his thoughts with us about his time at HCD as both a trumpet teacher and a conductor.

Daniel D'Addio conducting at HCDIn October 1986, I joined the faculty of the Hartt Community Division as a trumpet instructor. In my first year I had a trumpet studio of two students. While I maintained this small studio in my first year, my performance as a chamber musician, soloist, and freelance artist kept me quite busy. I was just happy to have returned to The Hartt School, the institution from which I graduated after the completion of my undergraduate studies in 1978.

Actually, I had no experience as a conductor. However, I had quite an education in observing excellent conductors for whom I performedand some not-so-excellent ones as well! During the Hartt Summer Music Festival in July 1990, I was asked to conduct an extra band about 15 minutes before the first rehearsal. I was given scores and told to rehearse this ensemble in Berkman Auditorium for a Friday performance. Stanley DeRusha, then the Director of Bands, was impressed with my efforts that week, but noted that I needed to be more prepared for the first rehearsal!

Later that summer, I was invited by Michael Yaffe to become the Music Director the Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble (GHYWE). Additionally, I was asked to be Assistant Conductor of the Connecticut Youth Symphony along with Mickey Reisman. Mickey and I have been working together at Hartt for over 25 years! During the 1990s I conducted GHYWE and assisted Stanley DeRusha, Gene Young, and Michael Lankester during their tenures as Music Director of CYS.

In January 2001, Michael asked me to assume the Music Director position with CYS. I conducted both CYS and GHYWE for five years. Six hours of intense conducting every Sunday, plus a chamber music coaching in between the rehearsals, was taking a toll on this then-50-year-old body. And so, with reluctance, I decided to focus on music making with CYS and left GHYWE in the outstanding directorship of Professor Glen Adsit.

I have had the best job anyone musician can imagine for the last 26 years. There is not a Sunday that passes without my being most happily satisfied with the musicianship and effort given by our young musical artists. I am truly blessed to make music with every musician in CYS and GHYWE at The Hartt Community Division.

—Daniel D'Addio, Conductor, Connecticut Youth Symphony

Our HCD Family

Margaret "Maggie" Spear, alumna

Maggie Wyporek SpearMargaret "Maggie" (Wyporek) Spear, Music Program Director at HCD, studied trombone with Scott Bean from 1996–2004 and piano with Mia Kang in 2001. She played in the Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble (GHYWE) from 2002–04 under Dan D’Addio and his assistant, Tom Seddon, and in the Connecticut Youth Symphony (CYS) from 2003–04 under Dan D’Addio.

After graduating Windsor High School in 2004, Maggie’s pursuit of higher education took her in various directions.

GHYWE at The Bushnell in 2003

Maggie Spear (MS): I earned my Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance with a concentration in "Music in Education" from New England Conservatory (NEC) in 2008. After that I took a "gap year," during which I worked multiple jobs ranging from bakery worker to long-term substitute teacher at the University of Hartford’s University High School of Science and Engineering (UHSSE), all whilst practicing and playing and teaching as often as possible.

In 2009 I returned to school, this time pursuing an Ed.M. in Arts in Education (AIE) at Harvard University. This stemmed from my curiosity about the state of music education and the current research evolving around the benefits of consistent and long-term study. I then spent a year at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, on a Kosciuszko Fellowship to study language and culture. Upon my return to the US, I was a Field Researcher for a literacy program based out of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., and then in December of 2011 began working at HCD as the Music Program Manager.

Maggie Wyporek Spear in 2003

Having been a part of the HCD family as both a student and a staff member, Maggie has developed a unique perspective.

MS: I never appreciated what I had here at HCD until I left and moved on in my studies. When I got to NEC, I learned that I was extremely lucky to have a dedicated and gifted trombone teacher who consistently went the extra mile for me. Not all of my peers had the opportunity to play in ensembles of the caliber of GHYWE and CYS prior to their conservatory experience, and the building blocks that I gained at HCD did help support me along my studies at NEC. 

Maggie resides in West Simsbury with her husband, a school teacher. Still an active musician, Maggie currently is a member of Capitol Winds under Gary Partridge, where she plays alongside other HCD alumni.

Photos: Top - Maggie in 2015. Center - GHYWE at The Bushnell in 2003. Bottom - Maggie in 2003. Photos courtesy of Maggie Spear.

The Schwartz Family

The Schwartz family became a part of the Hartt communityand the music community throughout Connecticutin the 1950s, back when HCD was the Julius Hartt School and The Hartt School was Hartt College. Gerald (“Gerry”, 193699), a graduate of Hartt College, taught piano in both the community and college divisions, was a music teacher in the South Windsor public schools, was the music director and organist at Beth El Temple in West Hartford, Conn., and was the youth choir director at the First Congregational Church in Bloomfield, Conn. Mary Ann (19372008), also a graduate of Hartt College, worked in the HCD office as secretary to then-director Louis Pelletieri and in the Management Department of the Barney School of Business, was Administrative Assistant at the First Congregational Church of Bloomfield, Conn., and became a licensed massage therapist (LMT). Their three daughters, Lynda, Debbie, and Carolyn, all took lessons and participated in the HCD’s various programs from the late 1960s through the early 1980s.

Pictured below: The Schwartz family in 1993, from left to right: Debbie, Mary Ann, Carolyn, Gerry, and Lynda

The Schwartz family in 1993, from left to right: Debbie, Mary Ann, Carolyn, Gerry, and Lynda

Lynda (Schwartz) Fee studied flute with Carl Bergner, music theory with Ron Luchsinger, piano with her parents, and violin outside of the school. She performed in Tanya Paranov's "Singing Class" and as a result was part of the children's chorus of many of the college Opera Department's productions. Lynda made her musical debut at age 3. "My very first memory of The Hartt Schoolwhen it was on Broad Streetwas playing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' in a concert," Lynda recalls.

Pictured below: Lynda Schwartz in her Mephistopheles costume (left), 1967

Lynda Schwartz in her Mephistopheles costume (left), 1967Lynda (Schwartz) Fee (LF): Moshe Paranov was the conductor for many of the operas that my sisters and I were in. It was an honor to have been on the stage in front of him. He seemed to conduct not only with his baton, but with his facial expressions in a most effective manner. I also remember Elmer Nagy leading us through some of the productions. My first opera was Pinocchio (at age 8) and my last was Help! Help! The Globolinks (in high school) with numerous larger productions in between (including La Boheme and Mephistophele) and multiple stints as a gingerbread child in Hansel and Gretel. I thoroughly enjoyed participating both in-house and as a member of the “Traveling Opera,” where we would perform for schools and at various performance halls, including The Bushnell, G. Fox, Constitution Plaza, Connecticut General, Newington Children’s Hospital, the Gengras Center at St. Joseph College, and John Hancock in Boston, Mass.

Lynda's ties to Hartt and the University of Hartford were always very strong. She began her college studies at The Hartt School with a goal of writing jingles for commercials, but then transferred to the University's Barney School of Business where she studied marketing with the same goal of writing jingles. During that time she sang in the Hartt Chorale under Gerald Mack and played flute in the Miss Porter's Orchestra along with her sisters. At the time, her mother was also pursuing a degree at Hartt, and the two took a theory class together.

A native of Bloomfield, Conn., Lynda lived at home during college and worked at the Crown Market, where she met her husband. After graduating she attended the Computer Processing Institute (CPI) and worked as a computer analyst for United Technologies Corporation (UTC) for over thirty years. During that time, she pursued an MBA at the Barney School of Business and worked as a Graduate Assistant and later an Adjunct Professor teaching Introduction to Management Information Systems. Having recently taken an early retirement from UTC, Lynda is now back working as a contractor for UTC, and joined the Pratt & Whitney United Chorus last spring.

LF: Though I did not become a professional musician as most in my family did, I believe that the instruction in, and exposure to, classical music and opera that I received during my childhood prepared me perfectly for my career as a computer programmer and later as a project analyst.

Being a part of and witnessing first-hand the evolution of each production from our first reading of the score through dress rehearsals and opening night was so rewarding, feeling I was part of a team making one accomplishment after another. As a teen, I spent many hours in the costume and scenery shops watching sketches on paper “come to life”, and as long as I was quiet, I was allowed to stay with the lighting team and observe how their cues were precisely timed with the music, choreography, and scenery. All of this instilled in me a fascination with the “behind the scenes” aspect of many things in life, and I believe it helped me tremendously in my career, especially when designing and planning programs and projects.

I am sure that having attended so many concerts and operas from such an early age helped me to develop a greater attention span and level of patience than had I not done so. I recently attended several Metropolitan Opera House simulcasts at a local movie theater and remained glued to the screen even during intermission. (Hint for anyone planning to do the same: they bring the cameras backstage and interview people while showing more of what I love“behind the scenes” activityso you might find it worthwhile to stick around.)

After being on stage throughout most of my childhood, I have rarely felt anxiety or stage fright when singing, speaking, or performing in front of a roomful of people. That has enabled me to focus on and enjoy what I am doing, whether giving a presentation at work, partaking in karaoke or open mic night, or when singing at a retirement home with our chorus.

Both the community and college divisions were much more diverse in the late 1960s and the 1970s than the schools that we attended. Getting to know and work with people from many different backgrounds and cultures was something that we would not have experienced had our lives been limited to attending school and making friends within our own neighborhood.

Debbie (Schwartz) Voyer studied violin starting in 1974 with Rose Kleman and, later, Bernie Lurie, and performed in the Greater Hartford Youth Orchestra under Charles Palmer from 197579.

Debbie and Carolyn Schwartz with Tanya Paranov in the cast of

Pictured: Debbie (fourth from left) and Carolyn (third from right) Schwartz with Tanya Paranov (middle) in the cast of Johnny Appleseed in the 1970s.

Debbie (Schwartz) Voyer: My earliest memories of HCD are of going to concerts and operas, sometimes the same opera over and over again. I believe we did this from the beginning of our lives, so just like playing outside, going for car rides, and going to school, it was just what we did. As we got a bit older, we joined Tanya Paranov's “Singing Class.” Depending on the roles available in the operas and shows, we sometimes performed in them. If it was not all of us (my sisters and me), most likely one or the other of us were in the opera of the season. So we went to all of the rehearsals, even if we did not participate in the performances. I remember how fun these early days in the operas and shows were and how we just belonged. It was so special on performance nights, getting in our costumes lovingly made by Nina (Paranov) Fagan, and later Annie Cowart, and having the makeup professionally applied. There was a certain camaraderie with the other children, and even the adults, which was unique to the experience of being in these shows and operas.

It was in Mr. Palmer's orchestra that the deep appreciation of orchestral music I still carry with me today came from. Saturday mornings going to rehearsal with Mr. Palmer was once again just something I did. It was a part of me at the time.

I now only listen to music, but with great appreciation. I am married, have two children, Danielle (24) and Jeremy (22), two dogs, three cats, and have been working for the State of Connecticut for 28 years. Over the past ten years I've gone to dog-grooming school, worked in a few grooming shops, worked for a pet sitter, and most recently worked in a dog kennel. I hope to dedicate my years after retirement to some type of work involving animals.

Carolyn (Schwartz) Engle, the youngest of the three Schwartz sisters, also participated in all that HCD had to offer from a very young age.

Carolyn (Schwartz) Engle (CE): When I was four I joined Tanya Paranov’s “Singing Class." For an hour each week we would sing songs, both as a group and as soloists. We would improvise stories in a game called, “I forgot what happened next." We would improvise scenes of made-up plays. This was the group that fed into the operas performed by the college students and professors, and being part of the class meant that we would be in the “adult” operas. Children were supposed to be eight years old to join, but Debbie, at seven, was given special permission, as was I. I was so excited to be a part of the group that I couldn’t get the smile off my face. Immediately, Tanya nicknamed me “Smiley," a nickname that stuck with me in the opera world until I graduated high school.

My first opera was Medea. I was one of the two little “boys” who gets killed at the end. The opera was directed by Elmer Nagy, whose statue used to grace the Millard Auditorium lobby (now Sukman Foyer). As the years progressed, the opera department started performing more musicals than operas, including Carnival, Carousel, The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, Gigi, and, Help! Help! The Globolinks, which used electronic music.

Carolyn Schwartz (second from left) in

Pictured: Carolyn Schwartz (second from left) in Medea in the late 1960s in Millard Auditorium

Carolyn started playing cello at age ten, first studying privately outside of the school and then with Nancy Hair. She also studied piano, first with her parents and then with Andrej Anweiler at age 11, voice with Virginia Schorr and Joan Glazier, and theory with John DeBeradinis.

Pictured below: Carolyn Schwartz and Collaborative Pianist Frank Viola in the Fuller building in 1981

Carolyn Schwartz and Collaborative Pianist Frank Viola in the Fuller building in 1981CE: When I was just beginning the cello, I auditioned for an orchestra at Hartt.  Charles Palmer conducted orchestras on Saturday mornings. The Junior Orchestra met first, followed by the Elementary Orchestra. I played “A French Tune” and a scale for my audition. It was so bad even I couldn’t recognize it! I showed up the following week without my cello because I was sure I hadn’t gotten in. I did, sitting last chair.

Charles Palmer was a wonder. He had high expectations of us and was not a traditional orchestra teacher. More than any other teacher I’ve ever had, he was my biggest influence. In addition to his great conducting and rehearsing techniques, he was special because of his attitude. We were there to learn, and he was there to teach us. 

When I got older, I played in the Junior Orchestra. In that orchestra we wouldn’t play any arrangements. In 1979 Mr. Palmer changed the names of the orchestras:  the Elementary Orchestra became the Concert Orchestra, and the Junior Orchestra became the Concert Chamber Orchestra. I played in both through ninth and tenth grades.

I next auditioned for the Greater Hartford Youth Orchestra. There, we played longer originals under the baton of Bernie Luriewhole pieces instead of just select movements. It was in that orchestra that I first played Tchaikovsky’s “Capriccio Italien” and “1812 Overture” as well as Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5”.  Traditionally, GHYO went on a trip to Europe every three years, though I never went.

With GHYO, twice Charles Nelson Reilly appeared with the orchestra. Mr. Reilly was a friend of Frederick Schorr, a great opera singer and the late husband of my voice teacher, Virginia Schorr. Mr. Reilly performed Aaron Copland’s “A Lincoln Portrait” in 1978, and Camille Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals” in 1981, which we performed at the brand new Lincoln Theater on the campus of the University of Hartford.

Still an active musician, Carolyn teaches General Music at the Lewin G. Joel School in Clinton, Conn., is Assistant Principal cellist of the Wallingford Symphony, is Principal cellist of the New Britain Symphony Orchestra and the Nutmeg Symphony Orchestra, plays in the Mariona String Quartet, is the organist at The Road Church in Stonington, Conn., and teaches piano and cello lessons out of her house. Carolyn is a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, which she has been studying for 18 years, and she also teaches classes at the studio. An accomplished writer, Carolyn belongs to the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. One of her picture books, Backstage at the Opera, was a finalist for the Tassy Walden Awards. Carolyn loves roller coasters and other amusement park rides, and frequents then whenever possible. She has one son, Cameron, who will be 22 in November.

COMPASS InitIative: Special Initiatives

COMPASS InitiativeIn the first issue of The Compass, the COMPASS Initiative was introduced. This new Initiative is comprised of three areas: Alumni Network, COMPASS Committee (project-based volunteer support), and Development.

In each issue, we feature development opportunities, which include four areas that allow donors to support their specific interests: 

  • Access: need-based financial assistance
  • Scholarship: merit-based scholarship
  • Special Initiatives: support for facilities, equipment, and faculty development
  • Programs: general support for Community Division programming

This issue will explore Special Initiatives.

HCD is home to more than 2,800 students, nearly 200 faculty and staff, and dozens of programs. Serving this population and supporting our innovative and unparalleled instruction requires appropriate equipment, instruments, facilities, faculty development, and continuous upkeep.

Room 21 renovated in 2016Last year room 21 was transformed into a state-of-the-art classroom and small performance space. The former home of the school’s Gress-Miles organ had a large window added to it, along with choral risers, new lighting, and acoustical treatments.  This past summer Berkman Auditorium received some updating, including acoustical treatments similar to those in room 21.

The next room scheduled for renovation as part of "Fuller@50" is Millard Auditorium.  Currently work on that space is scheduled to begin in May of 2017. Please consider making a contribution to these important renovations.

Photo: Room 21 after its renovation in 2016.

Alumni Weekend

http://www.facebook.com/events/1404258729590112/The first HCD alumni weekend was a great event for all who participated! Two master classes were held, as was a wonderful concert showcasing HCD’s piano and voice faculty.

The voice master class was given by Claudia Catania, a veteran Broadway and Metropolitan Opera performer, and was accompanied by Stephen Scarlato, a Hartt School alumnus and HCD staff accompanist. Six vocalists, ranging from a high school student to HCD’s newest voice faculty member, participated in the class, singing selections from both the classical and musical theatre repertoire.

Claudia Cantina's master classThe piano master class was given by Maggie Francis, HCD’s piano department chair. Five pianists performed a wide range of literature.

One of the high points of the weekend, for sure, was the concert given in Millard Auditorium.  It began with remarks by HCD Director Noah Blocker-Glynn and HCD voice and piano faculty member Amy Champagne Pott, and included the presentation of awards in honor of Nancy Andersen’s 30th anniversary of teaching and Maggie Francis’s 40th anniversary.

HCD faculty perform

Split into two halves, the first half of the program was a showcase by the voice department. It began with Nancy Andersen singing selections from the solo repertoire, a madrigal quintet comprised of Kevin Andersen, Nancy Andersen, Matthew Burke, Ann Graczyk, and Jack Pott, and continued with a concert performance of Warren Martin’s The True Story of Cinderella by HCD alumni and faculty members Nadia Aguilar, Nancy Andersen, Matthew Burke, Ann Graczyk, Louise Fauteux, Craig Hart, Jack Pott, Janelle Robinson, and Lauren Torres, and was narrated by Scot Haney and accompanied by Stephen Scarlato.

HCD faculty perform multi-hand piano worksThe second half was an arrangement of Camille Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals performed by piano department faculty members Tamila Azadaliyeva, Susan Cheng, Maggie Francis, Vera Kushner, Malgosia Lis, Kamilla Mammedova, and Pi-Hsun Shih, narrated by HCD student Kirsten Mossberg.

In addition to bringing together so many wonderfully talented teachers and students, donations from the event went to HCD’s COMPASS Initiative.

Photos by Kevin J. Andersen

Save the Date for alumni weekend 2017!

May 12–14, 2017

Save the Date for HCD's 2017 Alumni Weekend May 12-14

Join us for our second annual Alumni Weekend at The Hartt School Community Division Friday, May 12 through Sunday, May 14, 2017. This year's event will feature our instrumental ensembles, with a focus on the Connecticut Youth Symphony and the Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble. Here is the schedule, but stay tuned for details.

Friday, May 12

  • Alumni Social Event (off-campus food and fun)


Saturday, May 13 - Connecticut Youth Symphony celebration with Conductor Dan D'Addio.

  • 3-5 p.m.: Open rehearsal and alumni rehearsal for the evening concert
  • 5:30-6:45 p.m.: Alumni Dinner
  • 7:30 p.m.: Concert at Lincoln Theater


Sunday, May 14 - Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble celebration with Conductor Glen Adsit

  • 3-5 p.m.: Open rehearsal and alumni rehearsal for the evening concert
  • 5:30-6:45 p.m.: Alumni Dinner
  • 7:30 p.m.: Concert at Lincoln Theater

Join the Facebook event page for future updates.

From the stage

The nutcracker 

The NutcrackerThe Hartt School Community Division presents its annual holiday production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, opening December 9, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. at Millard Auditorium on the University of Hartford campus.

Nutcracker performance information:

  • Friday, December 9, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 10, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 11, at 2 p.m.
  • Friday, December 16 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 17 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 18 at 2 p.m.

Tickets go on sale Friday, November 4, at hartford.edu/tickets.

View "The Making of Mother Ginger" photo album on Facebook.

Share Your Story

If you are an HCD alumnus and are interested in being featured in a future edition of The Compass e-newsletter, email hcdpr@hartford.edu. Thank you for sharing your accomplishments with us!