Pakachoag Music School alumni are making Music for Life! No matter whether our students go on to college, pursue a trade, join the military or learn a craft, we hope that all of our students will make music a part of their life – for life.
Fall/Winter 2020 Alumni Highlight: Meet Joel Spinney
Joel Spinney graduated 20 years ago from Pakachoag and high school. Since then, he has carved his path in education—both music and administration.
Joel shares, “I am currently the Principal of Academic Affairs for the Towanda Area School District.” Towanda is a small community toward the north/northwest border of PA. For a number of years, Joel also taught music in the Philadelphia public school system.
Joel, who took piano lessons with Lea Lipner during high school, shares:
“I remember coming to Pakachoag, thinking I knew a lot, but quickly finding out that I did not. Mrs. Lipner hammered my rhythm and my music theory. I learned the importance of practice and attention to detail. Pakachoag was a great place, and offered many opportunities to develop and share my music.”
Sarah Smongeski, Executive Director, remembers Joel as a quiet, committed, serious student. We are happy to know that Joel has made music education his vocation which has now extended to educational leadership.
Fall 2016 Alumni Highlight: Meet Katerina Vujić
Piano. Class of 2012. From Shrewsbury, MA
B.A., International Relations and Affairs, Skidmore College (May 2016)
Double Minor: French and Anthropology
College Activities and Societies: Integrity Board, Fight Club (Mediation Club), Pre-Law Society, Private study of classical piano and voice/opera.
Katerina, a recent college graduate who has been traveling in Europe and will be pursuing employment in the field of marketing and related areas. shares:
The music I’ve made studying piano at Pakachoag and participating in many of its events and musical groups, is something that has, and will, truly stay with me forever. I learned to craft and channel my connection with music, as much as I learned to craft and channel myself.”
Spring 2016 Alumni Highlight: Meet Rachel Hanauer
Flute and Voice. Class of 2006. From Oxford, MA
Bachelor’s Degree: Music Performance, UMass, Amherst
Master’s Degree: Music Performance, Roosevelt University
Rachel has been successfully carving a career in the challenging world of music performance and education. She has taught at St. Johns River State College in Florida, where she also sang with St. Johns Cathederal in Jacksonville. In Chicago, Rachael was a soloist with Oper-Matic.
This winter , I went to OperaWorks in LA for some advanced training and more confidence to propel some of my opera singing aspirations…. I’m acting in a couple plays at the Newport Playhouse (currently PB in “One Slight Hitch” by Lewis Black and next Linda in “Play it Again, Sam” by Woody Allen).
Recognizing that a life in the arts requires versatility, Rachel has volunteered in prior years for an MENC music festival and with the Massachusetts Symphony’s Concerts in the Parks.
In addition to pursuing her dream of operatic performance, Rachel hopes to become involved with a non-profit as a volunteer or board member in the future.
While at Pakachoag, Rachel studied voice with Silvia Irving and Flute with Sarah Smongeski. Below, you can listen to a recording of Rachel singing while a Pakachoag student. She is accompanied by Liz Bachelder who was our featured alumna in our Fall-Winter News 2015-2016. The performance was recorded live at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Worcester.
Sampling of College & University Student Acceptances
Our student alumni have been accepted to a wide range of colleges and universities, and pursue degrees as diverse as medicine, engineering, social work, the classics, and yes, music too.
Anna Maria College
Carnegie Mellon University
Catholic University of America
Eastman School of Music
George Washington University
Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford
Holy Cross College
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
New England Conservatory of Music
Notre Dame University
Oxford University, England
Quinsigammond Community College
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Indiana
Salem State College
University of Dallas
University of Illinois
University of Southern California, LA
University of Vermont