The Hartt School Community Division Alumni Newsletter February 2017
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The Compass: February 2017

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February 2017

In this Issue


Welcome to another great edition of The Compass!

With each alumni e-newsletter, I am continually impressed and proud of the accomplishments of our students and faculty. As you know, a Community Division performing arts education is not just about learning a craft, perfecting a passage, a combination, or getting on stage. It is also about learning the skills necessary to be committed, organized, creative, thoughtful, and engaged as a whole person. In an effort to build awareness of the impact of an HCD education, we have created a series of short promotional and informational videos. Take a look at our “Message from the Director."

—Noah Blocker-Glynn, Director

Development: Fund for Access and Founders Day Challenge

Join HCD's COMPASS Initiative


In each issue, we feature Development opportunities, which include four areas that allow donors to support their specific interests: Access, Scholarships, Special Initiatives, and Programs. This issue provides another update on Access.

The Fund for Access is a means to provide high-caliber performing arts instruction to Hartford-area students who otherwise might not be able to afford it. Over time, the fund has been generously supported by private individuals, foundations, and corporations, but requires annual donations and gifts from the community to meet the ongoing need of qualified students.

The Fund for Access awards more than $130,000 in need-based financial assistance to more than 150 Community Division music and dance students from nearly 30 towns in the region, and 100% of donations are used for student scholarships.

This January, students were evaluated as part of the school's yearly mid-point evaluation. This evaluation ensures that all funds available are being used for as many students as possible. Thanks to generous donors, in January, we were able to award seven students with a Fund for Access Scholarship for the spring semester. Recipients include students from the private lesson, large ensemble, Connecticut Children’s Chorus, and Dance Department programs.

Founder's Day Challenge: Help us Raise funds Feb. 21–22

2017 Founders Day Challenge

The University of Hartford is celebrating its 60th birthday on Feb. 21, 2017! As part of the festivities, the Founder’s Day Challenge is seeking 400 donors to make a gift of any size in 48 hours. Many HCD faculty and staff have already pounced on the opportunity to donate, and we hope our alumni will, too. If you wish to donate to the Fund for Access, select “other” and write-in “HCD Fund for Access." 

Any gift is a gift of magnitude. Please consider a tax-deductible donation to make Hartt Community Division education possible for worthy students. Please use our unique URL to make your donation so we can track how many readers donated. Thank you for your continued support of The Hartt School Community Division!

2017 Founders Day Challenge

HCD staff donate to the Founders Day Challenge. Howie the Hawk's friend Clucky the Hen thanks you for your generosity. #UHartGives #HARTTexcellence

Our HCD Family

Carrie Davids, alumna interview

"I feel that my studies at the Hartt Community Division 100% helped shape my musical life."

Carrie Davids

Carrie Davids (CD): I began studying at HCD in 2004, when I was 12 years old. I was a part of the Viola Tour Group, at that time run by both Emily Yaffe and Melinda Daetsch. The first year I was there, the Viola Tour Group went to Europe! I participated in the Suzuki orchestras and, when I started high school, also participated in the Connecticut Youth Symphony. The teachers that I worked with included Teri EinfeldtMickey ReismanSteve Larson, Melinda Daetsch, Emily Yaffe, Dominick Fiore, and Daniel D’Addio. 

In 2007, I left HCD and went to finish the last two years of my high school education at Interlochen Arts Academy. There I studied with David Holland and many of the other faculty at the school. I graduated from Interlochen in 2009, and in the fall went on to study at Eastman School of Music (ESM) with Carol Rodland. I graduated from ESM in May 2013 with highest distinction and a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance.

During my senior year, I auditioned and applied to graduate programs, but I could not afford to attend any of the programs I was accepted into, so I decided to take a year off. The incredible Karen Ritscher was kind enough to take me in as her student outside of a school program, so I moved to New York City, got a restaurant job, and began saving money and taking lessons when I had time. I applied that fall to graduate programs again, this time with more money saved up, and was accepted into Manhattan School of Music (MSM), where I continued to study with Karen Ritscher. I graduated from MSM with a Master of Music in Classical Viola Performance in May 2016. I continue to live in NYC freelancing and a teaching. In September, I auditioned and won a job as Section Viola with the Glens Falls Symphony, located in upstate N.Y. I also hold a part time job as an administrator for Schmidt Artists, where I am learning about the “other” side of my career.

Though Carrie only attended HCD for three years, she participated in much that the school had to offer.

CD: I feel that my studies at HCD 100% helped shape my musical life. First of all, it was after my first year at HCD that I decided I wanted to pursue music as my career. After getting to travel to Europe with the Viola Tour Group, and then my teacher, Melinda Daetsch, sending me to my very first summer music camp, I knew that a life in music was what lay ahead of me . The types of people I befriended, the joy of playing/music that I could now share with people all over the world, the ability to make decisions and create things on my own and that were my own—it all felt so invaluable, and I just had to continue to do it. Hartt was my first real orchestra and chamber music experience, and I think it gave me a great example for what I would want to do.

For more information about Carrie Davids, visit her website,

Chelsea Knox, alumna interview

"The Hartt School Community Division gave me a great foundation for my musical career."

Chelsea KnoxChelsea Knox, assistant principal flutist of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, was an HCD student from 2003 until she graduated high school in 2006.

Chelsea Knox (CK): After graduating from Litchfield High School, I went to Juilliard for my undergraduate and masters degrees in flute performance. I lived in New York city for about ten years and now reside in Baltimore, M.d., where I play with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. I’ve been principal flute of the New Haven Symphony, Princeton Symphony, and Chamber Orchestra of New York, and I’ve played with the IRIS Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, and San Diego Symphonies. I’m married to a wonderful cellist and have a lot of houseplants.

While at the Community Division I studied flute with Greig Shearer, took part in chamber music with Alan Francis, played in the Connecticut Youth Symphony with Dan D’Addio, and graduated from the Performers Certificate Program. I’m also grateful to my accompanists Frank Viola and Gay Chun!

The Hartt School Community Division gave me a great foundation for my musical career. During my last few years of high school I was there almost every day of the week taking lessons or performing. The support and education I got from Greig was invaluable, and additional classes in ear training and theory from the Performers Certificate Program helped prepare me for conservatory training after graduation.

Every year my favorite activity with the Performers Certificate Program was taking a trip to the Metropolitan Opera. It was always wonderful and slightly overwhelming to visit New York and take in such great performances. When choosing which college to attend, Juilliard was my top pick because of the great experiences I had in Lincoln Center during high school.

For more information about Chelsea Knox, visit her website at

Below: Knox performing March 26, 2012, at Morse Hall, The Juilliard School.

HCD Students attend master classes with Chiara quartet

Hartt Community Division students had the opportunity to work with members of the Chiara String Quartet in master classes on Wednesday evening, Feb. 8, before the snow rolled in. (The Garmany Chamber Series concert, originally scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 9, at The Hartt School, has been postponed due to inclement weather.) Here are just a few photos of the many students who participated in the master classes.



  • CSQ member and master class clinician Gregory Beaver works with the Quattro Formaggi String Quartet.
  • Cellist Giana Weidman with collaborative pianist Frank Viola. Weidman worked with CSQ member and master class clinician Gregory Beaver.
  • Daniel Wang (viola) with CSQ member and master class clinician Jonah Sirota.
  • Heather Gilleran (viola) with CSQ member and master class clinician Jonah Sirota.
  • Dylan Fafard (viola) with CSQ member and master class clinician Jonah Sirota (not pictured).
  • Arayana Carr-Mal with CSQ member and master class clinician Rebecca Fischer (not pictured).
  • CSQ member and master class clinician Hyeyung Julie Yoon works with the Fibonacci Trio (piano, clarinet, viola). You can see the Fibonacci Trio perform at the upcoming HarttWorks dance production March 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m.

Coming up: Northeast Horn Workshop

MARCH 24–26, 2017

NEHWJoin us for a horn-dedicated weekend hosted by The Hartt School Community Division, featuring performances by James Sommerville, principal horn of the Boston Symphony Orchestra; The United States Coast Guard Band with guest soloist William Purvis; Erik Ralske, principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and many local and regional artists, including collegiate horn studios.

  • High-school and college-level competition sign-ups available
  • Master classes
  • Horn Choir for college-level and amateur horn players

Participant registration deadline: March 10, 2017

Learn more.

From the stage, Harttworks

March 24 and 25, 7:30 PM

HarttWorks 2017

Now including three live musical performances by HCD music students.


HCD staff pick up their HarttWorks ticket at the UHart Box Office.The Hartt School Community Division (HCD) presents its annual HarttWorks dance performance Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. in Millard Auditorium at the University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford.

HarttWorks offers the unique opportunity for audience members to observe multi-genre, professional-quality dance works performed by HCD’s top dance students. Dancers will perform works ranging from classical and contemporary ballet to modern dance, jazz, and tap.

This year’s performances feature a special collaboration between the HCD dance and music departments. Honors music composition student Xavier Blackwell-Lipkind, a sophomore at Conard High School in West Hartford, has composed original music that will be performed live during the modern segment at both performances. Hartt School alumna Rebecca DeNies (BFA, ‘14) choreographed the piece. Dancers will be accompanied by an advanced chamber music trio, Fibonacci Trio, comprised of Northwest Catholic High School senior Kate Jessen on clarinet, South Windsor High School sophomore Gabe Galley on viola, and Glastonbury High School senior Karlee Cummings on piano.

In addition to DeNies’s modern piece, the evening will include a classical ballet performance staged by HCD Dance Chair Carol Roderick, a ballet premiere choreographed by Ballet Master Susannah Marchese, a musical theatre jazz and tap piece choreographed by Dance Faculty/Assistant Director of Dance Administration Melissa Chasse, and a modern piece choreographed by Hartt Professor of Dance Stephen Pier.

Ticketing information

Tickets are $10 each, and can be purchased via the University Box Office in person (located in Lincoln Theater), over the phone at 860.768.4228 or 800.274.8587, or online at University of Hartford and Hartt Community Division faculty, staff, and students are entitled to one free ticket, which must be reserved in advance through the box office. (HCD students must purchase their ticket in person with a valid HCD ID. University of Hartford faculty, staff, and students may reserve their ticket in person, over the phone, or online.)

Pictured: HCD staff pick up their HarttWorks tickets at the UHart Box Office.

Save the Date: HCD Alumni Weekend

Join our Facebook event page.

Alumni Weekend

2nd Annual Hartt Community Division Alumni Weekend
Friday, May 12 – Sunday, May 14, 2017
University of Hartford

Please mark your calendar and join us for the second annual HCD Alumni Weekend! Each year we will celebrate the accomplishments of the various HCD departments as well as honor notable faculty anniversaries. There will be opportunities and activities for alumni and current students to reconnect and interact, as well as performances for everyone to enjoy.

This year the spotlight will be on the Connecticut Youth Symphony (CYS) and Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble (GHYWE), as well as Dan D’Addio, who is celebrating his 30th year of teaching.


Alumni from our large ensembles program are invited to perform on stage with the Connecticut Youth Symphony, under the direction of Daniel D'Addio, and the Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Glen Adsit. Instruments include strings, winds, brass, and percussion (no piano). Sheet music will be provided in April to those who sign up. Please RSVP.

Connecticut Youth Symphony will perform on Saturday, May 13, at 7 p.m. in Lincoln Theater

  • Capriccio Espagnol, Op. 34 - Nicholai Rimsky Korsakov
  • Andante and Hungarian Rondo, Op. 35 - Carl Maria von Weber
    Soloist - Emily Yaffe, viola – HCD Alumna
  • “Nimrod” from Enigma Variations, Op. 36 - Edward Elgar
  • March Slav, Op. 31 - Pyotr Illych Tchaikovsky (with alumni)

Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble will perform on Sunday, May 14, at 7 p.m. in Lincoln Theater

  • March, from "Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber" - Hindemith
  • Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral - Wagner, arr. Cailliet
  • Rumpelstilzchen: A Fairy Tale for Symphonic Wind Ensemble - Turner
  • Lullaby for Noah - Turrin
  • Apollo Unleashed, from Symphony No. 2 - Ticheli
  • Star Wars Trilogy - Williams, arr. Hunsberger
  • First Suite in Eb for Military Band, mvt. 1 – Holst (with alumni)

HCD Seeks Full-Time Classical Ballet Instructor

HPACCome work with Hartt School Community Division Dance Department at the the University of Hartford! We are seeking a classical ballet instructor to begin work in summer 2017. We are searching for an exceptional pedagogue to become a member of our experienced and motivated team of instructors. 

Candidates should possess the following qualifications:

  • Extensive training background and professional performance credentials
  • Substantial teaching experience with a professional company or conservatory (Vaganova Method strongly preferred)
  • Experience in teaching classical ballet technique to students ages 8-18

For more information, visit our employment page.

Have you voted in the "Best of hartford magazine" Poll yet?

Deadline to vote: Feb. 26, 2017

Best of HartfordHartford Magazine has launched its 2017 "Best of" online readers' poll. If you're a fan of the Hartt Community Dance Department, we encourage you to vote for us in the "Best Dance Lessons" category. Simply visit to vote, and enter "Hartt School Community Division" in the "Dance Lessons" field on page 1.

Please note that you do have to vote in at least ten "best of" categories to submit your ballot.

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 Thank you for sharing your accomplishments with us!