Unsung Heroes #101

This Unsung Heroes post started with a request to honor one Bedford Middle School music teacher: Lou Kitchner.

A parent praised him for his “innate passion for music, and the power music can have on an individual child.” She mentioned his special ability to make each student feel special; his utter devotion to his craft, and the youngsters he works with; his ability to reach each at their own level, and help them reach far beyond whatever they thought was possible.

Lou Kitchner

Mr. Kitchner certainly deserves those kudos. But Westport is fortunate to have many other superb music educators too. Each one — from elementary school teachers like Greens Farms’ Suzanne Sherman Propp, to Staples’ Luke Rosenberg, Carrie Mascaro and Nick Mariconda (who retires this year, after more than 40 years as band leader) — earns well-deserved praise and love from students and parents.

So — 2 days before the Westport music department’s 4th annual Pops Concert (a sellout, as always) — “06880” hails the entire town’s band, orchestra and vocal teachers as Unsung Heroes.

Luke Rosenberg, Carrie Mascaro and Nick Mariconda at the 2018 Candlelight Concert.

But I kept thinking about Lou Kitchner and his Bedford band. This has been a very tough year for his school — and of course Coleytown Middle too. Teachers from 2 schools were suddenly thrown together, in 1 building. Overnight, they had to adapt to an entirely new situation.

With incredible hard work, they got it done. Administrators and staff members — teachers, paraprofessionals, custodians, you name it — did whatever they had to to serve their students. (The same thing happened at Staples High, with Coleytown’s 8th graders.)

Spaces and resources were shared. Schedules were worked out. Everyone compromised. The school year went on.

That teamwork was never more evident than on Memorial Day. The Bedford and Coleytown bands marched together. Their numbers were huge. Their sound was impressive. Walking proudly — in front of, behind, and among them — were music teachers from both schools.

The Bedford and Coleytown Middle School bands combined this year. Hundreds of young musicians sounded great — and very together! (Photo/Sarah Tamm)

So everyone who had any part in making the Coleytown/Bedford/Staples transition work this year is an Unsung Hero too.

That’s a lot of heroes. But it takes a village to educate a child.

We bang the drum for all of you.

4 responses to “Unsung Heroes #101

  1. John Karrel

    Suzanne Propp can do no wrong. I assume that is also true of the others, who epitomize dedication to their teaching and their charges.

  2. Kristin Schneeman

    Hear, hear for these un”sung” heroes! We are truly blessed in Westport to have such a wonderful music program led by such talented and committed teachers — committed to our kids, to their craft, and to one another.

  3. Sue Herrmann

    As a parent, I would like to give a personal shout out to the Coleytown Middle School teachers Jim Forgey, Eileen Shannon and Jason Thomas. Despite being suddenly displaced from their own teaching environment at CMS (at times even having to teach the kids in a repurposed storage room!!) the beautiful music they have taught our children is beyond compare! As a not-musically-talented parent (😊) I am so grateful for all they have done and continue to do for my son. It’s no wonder Westport continually wins awards for its school music programs with all the fine music teachers we have across this town!

  4. Lori Winthrop

    Hail to lou Kitchner – my daughter takes her final bow at the pops concert tonite having played the trumpet for more years than I can remember. Thank you Lou for always praising her and reminding her how important music is in all our our lives