West Hartford’s Duffy Elementary School recently held its annual winter concert, an inclusive event led by several veteran teachers.
On Wednesday evening, Dec. 6, Duffy Elementary School celebrated the sounds of the season at their annual Winter Concert. The music program, led by veteran teachers Cheryl Tierney and David Thomas, has transformed over the years much to the delight of students, families and staff.
“I am a passionate believer that music is for everyone!” said Tierney.
“Mrs. Tierney supports parents of special needs students with video clips of songs so they can practice at home,” said Clare Taylor, mother of a fourth grader. “I am amazed at how my daughter worked without a para, learned song lyrics and focused during two concerts. It is a testament to the amazing ability Mrs. Tierney has to include, motivate and encourage all children to do their best. She is a champion in our home!”
“What a beautiful, powerful performance!” added Principal Kristi Laverty. “I’m so proud of the 145 fourth and fifth graders who participated. Mrs. Tierney returned to Duffy two years ago with a vision to grow the choir and create access to music for all students. With focus on inclusiveness, engagement, and passion, I think she’s been wildly successful!”
Thomas has been teaching at Duffy School since 1993. “I have always been impressed with the Duffy community’s commitment to our arts programs. Parents here value the importance of the arts in education and encourage their children to participate,” he said.
Sophie Kapetanopoulos has had three children go through the music program with Thomas. “His talent and dedication to teaching Duffy students over the years goes above and beyond expectations. He guides with patience and caring and thus students do not see practicing as a chore. When my oldest, who is now 25, had Mr. Thomas his motto was ‘practice every day you eat,’ and they did! Mr. Thomas gives Duffy students a priceless gift that will last them a lifetime. I am very grateful to him for all his selfless work,” she said.
“It always amazes me how our band and orchestra students so confidently and proficiently play their instruments,” said Laverty. “You wouldn’t know that our fourth graders had only three months of instruction! This says so much about them, but it also speaks volumes about Mr. Thomas. His experience, patience, and outstanding instructional strategies are such a gift to our community.”
Laverty added that parents are integral partners in the program’s success. Without parents, who encourage practice and are committed to ensuring their child is present and on time for so many morning rehearsals, the show would not be what it is today.
“This is just another example of how our community cares about the whole child and values a comprehensive, well-rounded curriculum,” said Laverty.
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