by Dave Warner

Little Falls was named a 2020 Best Communities for Music Education winner by The NAMM Foundation for the fifth year in a row.

Emily Rozonkiewiecz, chair of the music department said, “it’s not just about our music program, but also the community of Little Falls supporting music in our schools and our students out in the community.”

She believes that one of the reasons the City is unique and able to win this award each year is “this wonderful bunch of four teachers that get along so well and work together. We’re just always there for each other.”

This year was one of those examples, where she had to take an unexpected medical leave and the other teachers filled in for her. “I was really concerned about the beginner band students who were just starting out. You can’t just get anybody to substitute teach for that,” she stated.

One of the other music teachers just jumped in and covered rehearsals and dealing with other issues so that nothing was missed. “That’s the kind of thing we do for each other.”

She believes that the children and the community see that and that people feed off of that and become good working with each other as well.

She said that they are working through the school closure, but that teaching music is not an ‘online’ thing. “It’s hard. We’re not able to have our rehearsals, not able to make music with the kids very easily. Our concerts have been canceled, so our kids won’t be able to showcase their talents like they normally would.”

She hopes that the children are still finding music in their lives and in their homes. “The high school kids have been doing things through their social media to make music together.”

At the high school, Amanda Grimaldi said, “When things shut down I created an Instagram account for the Drama Club, and was able to post some pictures and videos from the musical that we got before it was canceled.”

“I then invited them to send me videos of them singing for a virtual cabaret. A bunch of them have done so and the response has been really great! I’m hoping for more student participation going forward. It’s been a great way for kids to stay connected, support each other’s musical talents and gain confidence in themselves,” she stated.

Rozonkiewiecz said, “we’re grateful for the community and the administration, faculty, and staff. That’s another reason that we are able to keep getting this award. If we ask for kids to come out of classes for things, most of the time we get them if we need them.”