The Arts


September 2023 dawns with some new additions to South Side Middle School where my office is located. We have a new turf field, which should enhance our athletic programs, and a new roof on the building which will make for a drier environment in this beautiful and historic building.

One of Mr. Gaven’s priorities is the continual review and revision of our curricula. Over the summer, RVC Schools applied for and received confirmation of the New York State Department of Education’s Individual Arts Assessment Pathway. This will give Southside High School students the option to count their course work in the Arts as one of their 5 pathways (in addition to Math, English, Social Studies, and Science). This parallels the what they have been doing in their IB course of studies, but adds another credential to their transcript. In September of 2023, a cohort of high school students will have the option to begin this three-year process concluding with the completion of the Arts Pathway in June of 2026.

Outstanding Performers and Artists

Each summer, I look forward to hearing about our high school students who qualified to perform at NYSSMA’s All State Conference in December. Last Spring, we found out that James Giangregorio’s composition, “A Global Context” was selected to be presented at All State’s Electronic Music Showcase. KUDOS, James! Congratulations to Katherine Graci, alternate on viola, Owen Cashman, who was chosen as a guitarist for the All Vocal State Jazz Ensemble, Paul Adal, who will play cello in the All State Symphony Orchestra, and to Paul Marquardt, French horn player in the All State Symphonic Band!

I am always filled with pride and joy at the high level of accomplishment of these students, all the district’s teachers, and their level of dedication to their craft and pride in their work.

Welcome New Teachers

This year, I am pleased to welcome elementary general music teacher, Christina Sangeniti, who will be filling in for Kirsten Ruvolo at Watson and Covert while she is on family leave for the month of September. Congratulations to Ms. Ruvolo on the birth of her baby in July!

At the Middle School, we were sad to say goodbye to Mr. Andrew Killeen after two years of service to our band program. He will now be conducting bands closer to his home and family on the east end of Long Island. Replacing Mr. Killeen, we are happy to welcome Christina Tomek to the Middle School Music Department. She received her undergraduate training at SUNY Fredonia, a Masters Degree from Stonybrook, and several years of teaching experience locally, in Long Beach. We are very happy to have her working with our middle school music students!

Welcome to all our new and returning teachers!

As I begin my 20th and, most likely, final year in RVC, I reflect upon 44 years in the field of education. The feeling of gratitude I have is overwhelming. I am thankful for the wonderful professionals with whom I have had the privilege to work, the collaboration and cooperation of a supportive boards of education, dedicated administrators at the district and building levels and high-quality teachers who instruct our children, along with students, parents, the Arts Sponsors, Education Foundation, and AIM Committees in this wonderful community. This year, we will work together on the continued development of arts education. It’s good to be back for 2023-2024!

Brian Zuar, Ed.D. - Director of the Arts - September 2023

2023 Best Communities for Music Education  

Rockville Centre Schools’ Music Education Program
Receives National Recognition

The District is one of 4% of school districts in nation to receive distinction

Rockville Centre, NY –April, 2023– 
For the seventh consecutive year, Rockville Centre School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Rockville Centre is one of 4% of districts across the nation receiving the prestigious award in 2023. 

The Best Communities Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the Best Communities designation, district administrators answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

This award recognizes that Rockville Centre School District is leading the way with music learning opportunities that were creatively adapted during this unusual school year with its restrictions imposed by a worldwide pandemic.  

As Rockville Centre UFSD finalizes its 2023-2024 budget, The NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education Award and the state level implementation of the federal ESSA law bring attention to the importance of keeping music education part of curriculum offerings and available to all students. It also highlights music’s vital role in students’ overall success in school and the personal benefits of making music. Music and the Arts in Rockville Centre Schools have always been important to the social emotional development of our students. 
Rockville Centre offers General Music instruction alongside Band, Orchestra and Choral ensembles in all of its elementary schools.  South Side Middle School and High School give students the opportunity to explore music composition, sequencing and engineering in modern music laboratories equipped with electronic instruments and computer software and hardware.  The secondary school students also continue to develop their performing skills in higher level instrumental and vocal groups, including Jazz ensembles. The high school offers 11th and 12th graders IB Music, a comprehensive music curriculum that integrates performance, composition, and research at the commencement level.  

Students who live in Rockville Centre have had a broad range of opportunities to perform in community-based theatre troupes, bands, orchestras, and choirs, as well as county level advanced performing ensembles where they can use and improve the skills they learn in school.  

About The NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,300 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit

Click here to see photos and videos from the 2023 Little League Parade
On Saturday, April 23, 2023, eleven members of South Side High School’s Tri-M (Music Honor Society) formed a small band and led the 2023 Little League Parade from South Side Middle School to Hickey Field. Clarinetist, Sophia Bracco also sang the Star Spangled Banner to kick off the ceremonies that honored the 1978 RVC team that won the  Little League World Series. The Tri-M students included Sophia Bracco (Clarinet and vocal soloist), Trumpeters Miles Erdos, Paul Marquardt, and Will Barriocanal, Trombonist Alex Vargas, James Rakeman and Noah Leff (Bari Sax) Heather Cuevas (Bass Clarinet), and percussionists Cooper Gottcent, Connor Stack, and Mickey Morris. 

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