For a small school, St. Norbert in Orange has a mighty music program.
EVERY SCHOOL YEAR AT ST. NORBERT’S INCLUDES A SPRING MUSICAL PRODUCTION THAT INCORPORATES A THEME SUCH AS BROADWAY TUNES. PHOTO COURTESY OF CATHERINE RISLING
The well-rounded curriculum, in fact, was named one of this year’s Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM).
“We are proud of our dedication to enhancing our students’ lives and their academics with music education, and we are grateful to NAMM for recognizing us with this prestigious award,” said Joe Ciccoianni, principal of St. Norbert Catholic School (SNCS), which serves about 300 students.
The criteria for the award focuses on the importance of music in the academic curriculum, teacher qualifications and the school’s historical approach to music.
SNCS implemented its music program 36 years ago with a dedicated teacher who focuses on music theory in each of the kindergarten through eighth grade, producing three musical performances a year. The school offers optional instrument and band lessons with biannual recitals and a dedicated music studio. In addition, SNCS has a robust choir that has competed in the Diocese Choral Festival throughout the years.
The music program was led by Antoinette Miraflor until 2020, when she retired after nearly three decades and handed over the handbells to Samantha Dominguez of the Music Universe school music program.
“The addition of Music Universe’s curriculum means that our students are getting focused music instruction that increases in complexity as they grow and mature,” Ciccoianni said.
Ciccoianni shared that he is looking forward to growing the music curriculum and including a hand chime performance group in the coming school year.
“Many schools simply have sports programs, but this leaves out so many students whose talents are not in the realm of physical activity,” Ciccoianni said. “Providing a strong music program—just like providing a great sports program, an academic decathlon team and performing arts opportunities — enables our school to reach each and every child and to help him or her realize the amazing talents that come from God.”
Founded in 1901, the international NAMM Foundation recognizes the music products industry and its contributions. This year, 80 public, private, parochial and charter schools nationwide were recognized with NAMM’s Support Music Merit Award as part of the Best Communities for Music Education program. Schools were chosen based on their responses to a short, qualitative survey that accessed their ability to “address the inroads and setbacks impacted by the pandemic, as well as goals for equity and access to music education for all students and national standards for music education.”