Posts Tagged ‘Sue Barre’


Master Musician Visits Waterville

March 17, 2016

Waterville students benefit

IMG_2924Waterville schools had the privilege of hosting Srinivas Krishnan, an Indian Musician, for a week-long residency. The educational experience impacted the 80 members of the high school band, the 40 member chorus and 50 member orchestra. In addition, Srini worked with the 38, grades 4-8 elementary and middle school gifted and talented students from AOS 92 (Waterville, Winslow, and Vassalboro).

Singing WedWhile in Waterville Krishnan, taught the students about music from other cultures, cooked and treated them to Indian food and told stories. As often happens when providing unique learning opportunities for students, he enlightened the students about life and humanity. Scrini’s goal is to work in small towns to share his culture with students who would not otherwise be able to have access.

Not only was this a learning opportunity for students but when teaching artists spend time in schools, teachers benefit as well. It was an initial contact that Scrini had with Sam Lyons while he was at USM that lead to this residency. It was evident that Scrini impacted Sam and music educators Sue Barre and Ciara Hargrove as well.

With HS teachers

Ciara, Scrini, Sue, Sam

I joined Maine DOE visual and performing arts specialist Beth Lambert for the culminating performance at Waterville Senior High School and it was evident that the impact Scrini had on the music program and students during the week was enormous. In addition to the performance that I attended the community packed the auditorium on one evening that a day school was canceled.

Playing Tablas with HS Students

Playing Tablas with high school students

Srinivas Krishnan who goes by Scrini, is a Master Percussionist from India and has been trained under four master musicians in India. He gave his first solo recital at the age of 16 and was featured as a percussionist at the University of North Texas at the age of 21. Srinivas performs on the tabla, the ghatam, the Middle Eastern dumbek, the Irish Bodhran, and the mridangam. He has degrees in areas of the science, engineering and management from Miami University. You can read his entire biography at THIS LINK.


Ciara and Scrini singing

The English department chair, Katie Dunn sent the following note to the members of the music department Sue Barre, Ciara Hargrove, and Sam Lyons:
Thank you for such a heartwarming cultural experience on Friday. I was overwhelmed to see so many of our students singing and playing music with Scrini Krishnan. Over a quarter of the school was on that stage! And they had embraced this Indian rhythm and sound that is so different than what I imagine they usually hear and play. It was awesome to see and hear the results.

Check out a segment of the performance Scrini directed with the audience by CLICKING HERE.

Amy Calder from the Kennebec Journal attended the Friday concert and she describes the experience very well in the article at THIS LINK.

IMG_1768I think the experience was best summed up by accomplished sophomore musician Soren Nyhus, 15, a cellist in the school orchestra. “We all work to make the music better with the notes, the rhythms and all that stuff. Working with Scrini taught me that music is more than working on the notes. Music has the ability to speak to all of us through the heart, music is our common language.”

CLICK HERE for a glimpse at a rehearsal with Scrini that lead up to the performances.

CLICK HERE for video footage of the afternoon at Waterville High School.

Sue Barre, department chair, hopes that Scrini will return and involved more learners as part of a Global Rhythms Concert. If you’d like more information please contact Sue at


Great Day for Arts Education

December 8, 2015

Celebration at the State House

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 7.28.43 AMLast week 75 students in grades PK-12 were honored for their accomplishments in visual art and music education. We celebrated in the Hall of Flags in Maine’s State House. We are honored to have the First Lady Ann LePage as a partner in the Excellence in Visual and Performing Arts Education and to join us in recognizing the students in the ceremony.

Joining the First Lady in the Hall of Flags was Maine Arts Commission Executive Director Julie Richard, State Board of Education Chair Martha Harris, Acting Education Commissioner Bill Beardsley, and Legislators, Mick Devin (Nobleboro) and Martin Grohman (Biddeford).

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 7.27.02 AMStudents from AOS 93, AOS 92, MSAD 41, and the Biddeford School districts were presented certificates and viewed their artwork on display throughout the State House complex, in the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Department of Education.

Additionally, students from the Waterville High School Jazz Band under the direction of Sue Barre and a select choir under the direction of Ciara Hargrove performed at the ceremony. I know that Sue, Ciara and visual art teachers Lisa Workman, Kate Grant, Suzanne Goulet, and Sasha Bladen are proud of their students’ accomplishments!

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 7.26.47 AMThis is a first for the State of Maine. The Maine Department of Education and the Maine Arts Commission are collaborating to bring together this exhibit and in celebrating the students and teachers in a ceremony. I am sooooo excited that this is happening for Maine’s students and teachers!

It is a pleasure to work with Maine’s DOE Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Beth Lambert on the Excellence in Maine Visual and Performing Arts Education exhibit and celebration ceremony.

If you have questions or are interested in participating, please contact Beth at or me at

Photo credits to the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Arts Commission.



Waterville High School GRAMMY School

November 23, 2015

Congratulations to the music program!

Waterville Senior High School selected as 2016 GRAMMY Signature School

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 8.01.47 AMThe GRAMMY Foundation has selected 119 schools nationwide as GRAMMY Signature Schools semifinalists for 2016. Created in 1998, the GRAMMY Signature Schools program recognizes top U.S. public high schools that are making an outstanding commitment to music education during an academic school year.

Each of the GRAMMY Signature Schools finalists will receive a custom award and monetary grant to benefit its music program. The top programs are designated Gold recipients, and the best program of the Gold recipients is designated as the National GRAMMY Signature School. The remaining schools are designated as GRAMMY Signature Schools. For schools that are economically underserved, the GRAMMY Foundation established the Enterprise Award to recognize the efforts these schools have made in music education. A list of semifinalist schools in the Enterprise Award category will be posted in mid-December. The GRAMMY Signature Schools program is made possible in part by the generous support of Converse, Ford Motor Company Fund, Hot Topic Foundation, Journeys, Les Paul Foundation, and RBC Foundation USA.

The GRAMMY Foundation has also established the GRAMMY Signature Schools Community Award, an extension of the GRAMMY Signature Schools program. Through our partnership with Converse, the Hot Topic Foundation, Journeys, Les Paul Foundation, Brookfield Properties and the RBC Foundation USA, the GRAMMY Foundation identifies deserving public high school music programs to receive the award and a $2,000 grant. To date, 500 awards totaling approximately $1 million in grants have been distributed to high school music programs.

“From our perspective, many public high schools across the country provide top notch music education programs for their students—often working with very limited financial means,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation. “Our GRAMMY Signature Schools program steps in to augment those resources with cash grants, and to celebrate the excellence of these programs and the beneficial and lasting effects of a music curriculum in the lives of young people. We are especially excited to celebrate a landmark in our GRAMMY Signature Schools Community Award program, which has awarded its 500th grant since the initiative began in 2010.”

In mid-March 2016, the GRAMMY Foundation will announce the finalists for the GRAMMY Signature Schools program. These schools will receive a custom award and a monetary grant ranging from $1,000 up to $6,000 to benefit their music program.


MMEA Leadership Does DC

June 30, 2015

Visiting the Maine delegation

The leadership of the Maine Music Educators Association were in Washington, DC last week representing the professional organization in meetings with NAfME. Their week started with visits to the offices of Representative Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree. And, they met with Senator Susan Collins and Angus King. They did a great job of advocating and were pleased with the responses.

MMEA President-Elect Sue Barre, President Pamela Kinsey, Senator Collins, and Past-President Sam Moore-Young

MMEA President-Elect Sue Barre, President Pamela Kinsey, Senator Collins, and Past-President Sam Moore-Young


To Providence and Back Again

April 13, 2015

Presenting with MMEA President-Elect Sue Barre

I had the opportunity to go to the 54th NAfME Eastern Division Biennial In-Service Conference last week held in Providence, Rhode Island. Its been some time since I traveled to Providence for a conference so I was surprised to see changes in the city.

Waterville music educator and Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Teacher Leader Sue Barre invited me to co-present with her. Our workshop called Assessment in Maine – The Way Life Should Be was scheduled for two time slots. The participants were a mix of pre-service teachers, veteran music teachers, and arts administrators. We created a wiki for participants at which is an open wiki with our workshop resources. Participants had good questions, many related to the type of resources that teachers are seeking.

Sue and I also sat on the Teacher Effectiveness panel with leaders from other eastern states. The session provided me an opportunity to learn where other states are in the process that all states are dealing with.

One of the workshops that I attended was called Can We Measure Creativity? A Confluence of Rubrics, Technology and Out-Of-The-Box Thinking  which was presented by music educator Kim Yannon, from the Cheshire Public Schools in Connecticut.  She shared very useful information.


MAAI Teacher Leader and MMEA President Pam Kinsey and Greg Pattillo from PROJECT Trio

One of the conference highlights was the Thursday evening performance by PROJECT Trio from Brooklyn, NY. Greg Pattillo on flute, Eric Stephenson on cello and Peter Seymour on bass. They are a unique high energy group who travel around the world playing chamber music. You can view them in the YouTube below. There are several other YouTubes with their work that you may want to check out. We spoke to them about the possibility of them coming to Maine for the fall biennial statewide conference on October 9, 2015. If anyone would like to contribute funding to bring them to Maine please let me know.


Another Teacher’s Story: Sue Barre

March 4, 2014

Featuring one teacher’s journey as an arts educator

This is the first for 2014 and the third phase of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative of this  series of blog posts telling arts teachers’ stories. This series contains a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read the stories and to learn from others.

SueBarreSue Barre teaches students in Grades 5-12 at Waterville High School and Junior High School and the Albert S. Hall School. She has been the Band Director since 2007 and was the Chorus Director from 2007 – 2007. Sue also teaches Band and HS Music Theory. Sue has been a teacher leader with the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) during the last year. She took a graduate course with the New England Teacher Institute for Teacher Education 2 years ago and she was “hooked”. The rest is history as Sue is committed to the MAAI and the quality of work she is doing.

Her student breakdown includes the following:

  • Grade 5 band – 38 students
  • Grade 6 band – 30 students
  • Grade 7/8 band – 55 students
  • HS Band – 58 students
  • JH and SH Jazz Bands
  • HS Pep Band

Sue was the Director of the Pit Orchestra for fall musical, has worked in public schools for 19 years, teaching instrumental and choral music. She is the owner of Music Together, a preschool music program, for 5 years.

What do you like best about being a music/art/drama/dance educator?

I most enjoy watching the light bulbs go on for students, those “aha” moments.  The sense of accomplishment when an ensemble performs a piece effectively is priceless.  In my current position I truly enjoy watching the students grow and mature from fifth graders until they are heading off to college.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

  1. Support of Administration in word and action.
  2. Passion for teaching by the educator.
  3. A “glass is half full” attitude by the educator.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

Assessments have allowed me to converse with my students in a meaningful manner using a common language. Assessments have also required me to assess my own teaching and learning.  I am constantly learning what works for students and what does not.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

To be in a room with educators who share a passion for quality education and assessment is invigorating. The Arts Initiative has given me what seems to be bottomless supply of resources for teaching and learning, assessing and reporting and a place where others feel as passionately as I do about arts education!

What are you most proud of in your career?

That I have made a difference in students lives. Facebook has afforded me the opportunity to hear from former students and I am often amazed what affected them the most in the classroom and beyond.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

At this point in my life it is time, much time is dedicated to motherhood (that I would not trade for the world).  If I could add eight hours a day for prep for school that would be ideal.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

The improvement of my jazz band programs over the last nine years has been hard work. As a french horn player this is not a genre of music that I studied a lot or performed often. I need to work for every point we earn.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Remember that no matter how big they appear, all of the students (even those seniors) are children. They need structure and guidance and to know you care. You need to be their teacher and not their friend. If you are honest and hardworking and show that you care success will find you.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

10% to charity to repay the help that we have received over the years and then I would take my family to Disney and let them do anything they want!

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

No I do not. I have my faith, I have my beautiful family and I have a job that I find rewarding and truly love.  I tell my students that I have never heard anyone say later in life that they wished they had spent more time at work and I try hard to model the importance of family each and every day.


Spirit of Washington DC Award

April 5, 2013

Waterville High School Musicians spend 5 days in DC

Screen shot 2013-04-01 at 10.15.11 PMI received an email from Waterville music teacher Sue Barre who shared a message that she (and colleague Ciara Hargrove) sent to the parents of the Waterville High School music students as they were heading home on a bus from Washington DC. With her permission I am reprinting it and suggest you read the article that was posted on the Waterville High School web page at

CONGRATULATIONS to the 77 music students representing Waterville High School!

At 10 AM we are headed north the buses are fairly quiet with very tired children (and adults!).  Tired but full of stories and memories to share.

It was inspiring to sit at the music festival’s banquet last night with students from 40 schools, 1200 people in total representing eleven states.  

Trip highlights
At Arlington National Cementary as the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier was underway an Air Force General being laid to rest was honored by a fly by overhead where one plane pulls away from the formation in tribute, it was breath taking.

We saw the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial and visited the Lincoln Memorial and took a picture on the steps with everyone.

Some of us went on a tour of the Capital, others the Holocaust Museum and we all saw the Smithsonian Museums, we drove by the White House and the Supreme Court and so much more….

The students have been on time and on task (we did have one room of freshman boys oversleep one morning…not sure they will ever live that down :-)!    

Musical Highlights
All three ensembles performed to their fullest potential earning 3 excellent ratings, silver awards.

Spirit of DC Award
One school at the festival, of the forty, is recognized for outstanding behaviors such as being cooperative, polite, receptive and helpful, responsible and respectful.  A “sportsmanship award” for lack of a better term. Waterville Senior High was recognized with that award last night. This means as much ( if not more) as the music awards.  We are very proud to call these students our own.  Thank you for sharing them.

Please have patience with your children if they are grumpy over the next few days due to fatigue.  Know they helped us earn that Spirit of DC award, they were and are awesome.

Thank you Sue for sharing this information with the meartsed blog readers!

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