Learwood MS New Choir Director

I would love to welcome Ms. Courtney Popp as our new director of choirs at Learwood Middle School! Ms. Popp is originally from Cincinnati, OH then attended Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music earning her Bachelors of Music Education. She recently finished student teaching at Elyria HS. Ms. Popp and I have sung in choirs together including the Westminster Chamber Choir in Princeton, NJ and in New York City, NY. Ms. Popp will be a fantastic teacher for Avon Lake! You will hear from her soon as she plans to take over the website/Facebook/instagram.

Hope you all have a wonderful summer! -Mr. Pontoli

End of Year Announcements

Learwood Spring Choral Concerts

Congratulations to both the 7th grade and the 8th grade on two wonderful performances. The students hard work paid off as they performed their best! After hearing much positive feedback on the concert structure, we will keep splitting the 7th and the 8th grade concerts. Below are some pictures from the concerts.


Cleveland Channel 19 Action News in Avon Lake

Tuesday, May 22, the Learwood A Cappella Ensemble had the opportunity to perform on TV! Other groups that were aired on TV included, the Learwood Jazz Band, The ALHS Merples, Chorale, Jazz Band, Marching Band, and Orchestra. They also had the track team and drama students involved too! Unfortunately, there is no video uploaded of the Learwood A Cappella Ensemble, but click here to see our high school ensembles performing on TV. Below are some pictures that I took from our morning.

New Choir Director Update

We have offered the Learwood Vocal Music Department job to our top candidate. Until this candidate is board approved, I cannot disclose any more information at this time. Stay subscribed to this website and I will post about the new choir director once I am able to. be patient 🙂

Learwood Choirs Website/Facebook/Instagram

Right now, it is looking as the website/facebook/instagram will stay active with the new director without switching accounts etc. If your son/daughter is leaving Learwood and entering high school and you wish not to receive any more information, you can unsubscribe from the website, unfollow instagram and facebook.  Otherwise, stay connected for important information for next year. Thank you for your support over the years.

One Last Note From The Director

Finally, THANK YOU all for a wonderful five years teaching. Whether, you are students, parents, staff, administration, or community members, I want to thank you all for your support to me and the Learwood Choirs to foster quality vocal music education in our community. I am going to miss you all! If you wish to follow my journey in CA at CalArts and beyond, feel free for anyone to follow my public music pages. Facebook page and Instagram @bradenpontolimusic

Have a wonderful summer!!!!!

Final Concert Reminders

Tonight is the 8th grade choir concert and tomorrow night is the 7th grade choir concert. Students report directly to the HS performing arts center at 6:30 pm. The concerts begin at 7:00 pm. Today students had the chance to review their riser charts which included an assigned seat to sit in the auditorium. 8th grade sopranos and basses will sit front house left and 8th grade altos and tenors will sit house front right. 7th grade women’s chorus will sit house left and 7th grade men’s chorus will sit house right. These charts are available to students on google classroom.

Please remind your son/daughter audience etiquette during performances. No cell phones to be used during the performance and cell phones should be shut off or on silent. No talking during choirs performances or speaking. No flash photography. When students are moving onto the risers, please be quiet when moving and once on stage to stay quiet until it is time to sing. Looking forward to two great concerts!

May Events

Hello! This May is busy for the Learwood Choirs! Below I have listed in order all of the May happenings, rehearsals, and choir concerts. Be sure to save this email!

Interview Choir

To help in the search for the new Learwood Choir director, Students have been signing up to be apart of the interview choir after school where students will get to work with our final candidates as the candidates teach our students a sample choir lesson. Students will then have the opportunity to fill out surveys about each director. Times for the interview choir are below and a link to sign up. If possible, please be signed up by this evening. Pizza and drinks will be provided for the choir. Sign up for both days or for one day. Held in the Learwood Choir Room.

Tuesday, May 8 3:15-4:30 p.m.

Wednesday May 9 3:15-5:00 p.m.

Interview Choir Sign Up

BGSU Chamber Choir Performance at Learwood

I’m excited for the BGSU Chamber Choir as they are on choir tour and will be stopping at Learwood MS this Thursday, May 10 during the day to perform and work with our 8th grade Concert Choir. Click here to see their other tour stops and maybe attend one of their concerts!

8th Grade Concert Choir OMEA District 4 Large Group Adjudication Friday, May 11.

Please click here for the permission slip/itinerary. I am still missing a few students’ permission slips. Please read this over if you have not read this. Students are to arrive at 4:00 p.m. to Learwood Choir Room and we will depart around 4:15 p.m. We will perform at Strongsville MS at 6:10 p.m. and will return to Learwood around 8:00 p.m. Open to the public. Parents and family, feel free to attend and watch our students perform!

OMEA LGAE mandatory and count for a large portion of the student’s grade for the quarter. Dress code and attendance policy for concerts can be found in the handbook.


All rehearsals for the spring choral concerts will be held in the Learwood Auditorium from 3:15-4:15 p.m. These rehearsals are mandatory and are graded. Please refer to the handbook in regards to what is considered an excused or unexcused absence.

Monday May 14-7th Grade Women’s Choir

Tuesday May 15-7th Grade Men’s Choir

Wednesday May 16-8th Grade Concert and Symphonic Choir. Symphonic Choir members will be excused at 4:00 p.m. Concert Choir members will stay until 4:15 p.m.


As a letter was sent home and is available on the homepage below, our concerts for the Spring Concert are now split by grade. Our students have been working very hard on their spring concerts. All students will now report to the HS PAC at 6:30 p.m. on their concert evening and the concerts will begin at 7:00 p.m. Learwood A Cappella members will sing at both concerts.

Learwood 8th Grade Concert Choir and Symphonic Choir Concert (With A Cappella) Monday, May 21 6:30 p.m. students arrive, 7:00 p.m. concert. Avon Lake HS PAC

Learwood 7th Grade Men’s and Women’s Choir Concert (With A Cappella) Tuesday, May 22 6:30 p.m. students arrive ,7:00 p.m. concert. Avon Lake HS PAC

These Concerts are mandatory and count for a large portion of the student’s grade for the quarter. Dress code and attendance policy for concerts can be found in the handbook.


March Updates

Fundraiser Pickup After School This Thursday

The items will be on the Learwood Stage for pick-up after school. Students may take items home with them. However, if your child sold a lot of items, they may need a ride to help them get their stuff home. Please enter through the back stage doors.

When items are brought home, please check through all the items to see if you have everything prior to delivering to customers.

When delivering items, please ensure that money is collected. Also, we prefer checks because we do not have cash to make change. Checks must be made out to Learwood Middle School. Please have all money turned in at one time by Thursday, March 29.

Thank you for your help with this year’s fundraiser!

OMEA Jr. High Solo and Ensemble Results


Congratulations to our students who performed a solo or was a part of an ensemble for Solo and Ensemble held this past Saturday at Tri-C in Parma. The Learwood Choirs left with 16 Superior (I) ratings and 2 Excellent (II) ratings. The Learwood A Cappella Ensemble for it’s fifth year in a row received a Superior (I) rating! It was a great day for Learwood!

Congratulations to the OMEA District 4 Jr. High Honor’s Choir Members from Learwood!


Congratulations to the 16 students who were selected to participate in the OMEA Jr. High Honor’s Choir! As a selected member of this honor’s ensemble, Students had to prepare five choral pieces after school and joined together with other schools from Lorain and Cuyahoga County to form the Honor’s Choir. Students attended large group rehearsals and attended the OMEA District 4 Jr. High Honor’s Festival on Saturday March 10 at Brecksville-Broadview Heights Middle School. The festival ended in a concert featuring the Honor’s Band, Orchestra, and Choir. Bravo to all who participated!

2018 Honor’s Choir Members

Soprano, Katie Yarham, Sophia Cikalo

Alto, Katie Soltis, Syd Ryan
Tenor, Kameron Riggs, Christian Pudelski, Josh Kerner, Joey Birk, Kyle Shinko
Bass, Brent Foley, Noah Venesile, Nate Jorgenson, Ben Cuomo, Riley Bair, Ben Dorman, Chad Schaffner

Music Department Fundraiser Delivery

We just received confirmation that the Learwood Music Department Fundraiser items will be delivered next Thursday, March 22. The items will be on the Learwood Stage for pick-up. Students may take items home with them. However, if your child sold a lot of items, they may need a ride to help them get their stuff home. Please enter through the back stage doors.

When items are brought home, please check through all the items to see if you have everything prior to delivering to customers.

When delivering items, please ensure that money is collected. Also, we prefer checks because we do not have cash to make change. Checks must be made out to Learwood Middle School. Please have all money turned in at one time by Thursday, March 29.

Thank you for your help with this year’s fundraiser!

Fundraiser Order Forms are Past Due

I will have a box outside of my office door for students to deposit their forms. I need all parts of the triplicate form returned to the box ASAP in order for the items to be delivered on time before Spring Break. We will collect money after items are delivered. Please do not write online order forms on these sheets. Online orders only need to be processed online and not recorded on the sheet…or we will get double of the item.

Fundraiser Order Forms Due Tuesday, February 20th

I want to remind everyone that the music department fundraiser forms are due back to me in less than a week (Tuesday, February 20). I will have a box outside of my office door for students to deposit their forms. I need all parts of the triplicate form returned to the box by February 20 in order for the items to be delivered on time before Spring Break. Please collect the money when you deliver the items. Checks should be made out to Learwood Middle School.

Important Announcement for Spring Choral Concerts

Below is important information I am sending home via letter to every choir student today. Please read below as there is a change in the Spring Choral Concert. If you would like to see the official letter, please click here.

The calendar on the website will be updated this afternoon and the handbook will be updated as well.

I am writing to you today to convey there will be a change in our Learwood Spring Choral Concert to help alleviate the over-packed house we have been experiencing at our choir concerts. The concert was scheduled Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. After discussing with Dr. Nuggud, and Mr. Scott, we will be splitting the concerts by grade. The Learwood 8th Grade Concert and Symphonic Choir Concert will now be Monday, May 21, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. and the Learwood 7th Grade Men’s and Women’s Chorus concert will be Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. The Learwood A Cappella Ensemble will sing at both concerts.

There are many benefits of splitting the concert by grade. First, there will be enough seats for parents, family and friends to sit in the auditorium as well as our students. Students will be able to sit in the auditorium and watch their peers perform. Second, this will give the students a chance to expand their repertoire and performance experience as students will prepare one- two more pieces each to make each concert a decent length. Finally, parking will not be a problem anymore as half the expected audience will be at each concert.

This year for 7th grade, rehearsals and the concert are the same. This change will not effect the 7th grade choirs. This will effect the 8th grade choirs current schedule. Please see the revised rehearsal times below. All rehearsals and performances are mandatory and will be graded. Please plan accordingly. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for your ongoing support for the Learwood Choirs and the Avon Lake City Schools Music Department.

7th Grade Women’s Chorus Rehearsal Monday, May 14, 2018 at 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm LMS Aud.

7th Grade Men’s Chorus Rehearsal Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm LMS Aud.

8th Grade Symphonic Choir Rehearsal Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm LMS Aud.

Learwood 8th Grade Concert and Symphonic Choir Concert Monday, May 21, 2018

Students arrive to ALHS PAC at 6:30 p.m. Concert begins at 7:00 p.m.

Learwood 7th Grade Men’s and Women’s Choir Concert Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Students arrive to ALHS PAC at 6:30 p.m. Concert begins at 7:00 p.m.

Learwood Music Department Fundraiser Kickoff Today!

Today, we are kicking off our Learwood Music Department Fundraiser. We are selling chocolates, candy, candy Easter eggs, flower bulbs, flower/fruit/vegetable seeds, kitchen items, dip mixes, candles, tumblers, magazine subscriptions, cookie mixes, cheese, sauces and more! Students will have two weeks to sell their items. The order form attached inside the catalog is due on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. Please give us all three sheets (white, yellow, pink). We will give a sheet back to your student during delivery. Products will be delivered the week of March 19th.

This fundraiser is our annual fundraiser where proceeds from this sale are used to pay for music, instruments, supplies, equipment, accompanists, and clinicians to better our music students and programs.

Click here to access the fundraiser information sheet.

We are asking students to COLLECT THE MONEY when they deliver the products. When delivering products, Please pay by check only to Learwood Middle School. Parents, I would ask that you collect all money and checks written to your name, then write us ONE CHECK to Learwood Middle School. Remember please write the check(s) after you have delivered the fundraiser items.

Students will receive prizes for their hard work. Any student who sells five items by Wednesday, February 7, can bring in their order form and show it to me and they will receive a headphone splitter! So go sell your five items today! There are many prizes available if a student sells 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50+ items! For choir students, the top 5 students sellers per choir class will be invited to join a build your own Ice Cream Sunday Party!

All students received hard copies of the catalog, order form, and an information sheet today.

You are able to order online and students will receive credit by creating an account online. Please share this information on social media to help out with our fundraiser!

  1. Go to www.onlinefundraisingstore.com
  2. Click on Parent Registration and follow the directions. You will need your group code. PMNES18LEAR
  3. You will receive a confirmation email to register your student. Your child will received a personal student ID#. You can now send emails and share your sale information via social media using the student ID#. Students get credit for those sales. Customers can choose to order online and have the items sent to Learwood at no charge or shipped directly to a residence.
  4. Do not write online orders on your order form!
  5. Online orders will ship to any continental US state. No shipping to Alaska or Hawaii!

Any questions, please do not hesitate to call or email me.

OMEA Solo and Ensemble Registration Open


Solo and Ensemble provided through the Ohio Music Education Association gives our students the opportunity to prepare a solo or create and ensemble and prepare a piece of music with Mr. Pontoli rehearsing weekly from January 29-March 16. On Saturday March 17, 2018, students will travel with parents/guardians to OMEA District 4 Solo and Ensemble and present their piece in front of a clinician who will give a rating. There is a fee to register for OMEA Solo and Ensemble listed below. Learwood Choirs will provide the accompanist and pay the Accompanist for Solo and Ensemble. (A Cappella Ensemble is already registered and that fee will be paid for by Learwood Choirs.)

Please complete this form and turn in registration money to Mr. Pontoli by Friday, January 26th. Checks payable to Learwood Middle School. If Creating an ensemble, only one student needs to fill out the form for the ensemble. Solos cost $15.00 and Ensembles cost $19.00. Please have money turned into Mr. Pontoli and signed up online by Friday January 26th. Rehearsals will begin Monday, January 29th. Solo and Ensemble will occur Saturday, March 17th at Tri-C in Parma, OH. Parents/Guardians will need to transport students.

Students need to sign up their solo or ensemble using their google email. This was also posted in their google classroom.

Link to Learwood Choirs Solo And Ensemble Registration

Parking for Tonights Concert and Holiday Party Tomorrow

The doors to the commons from the south parking lot will be open so you are able to park in the south parking lot. The PAC is accessible from the North Parking Lot and can be reached by going through the commons in the South Parking Lot. You will be able to exit to the south parking lot after the concert but the doors will be locked after the concert so you will not be able to get in. You are able to park around the building and use  the lots available. North, South, Board Office etc.

Choir students will have their holiday parties tomorrow. Students are encouraged to bring food or drink to share. Please label the food/drink with students name and choir period. Period 4 only, please label by section-Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass. This will help me keep everything organized. Please refrain from any food containing nuts or nut related allergies.

Thank you all for your support for our choir program! See you all tonight! Happy Holidays!

Learwood Winter Choral Concert Important Announcements

The Learwood Winter Choral Concert is tomorrow night (Tuesday, December 19) at 7:00 p.m. at the high school PAC. Students and Parents, please review the information below to be sure we have a successful evening.

  • Doors to the PAC auditorium will open at 6:30 p.m. Students arrive at 6:30 p.m. to the HS PAC and go directly to their rooms listed below.
  • Rooms:
    • 7th Grade Girls: HS Choir Room
    • 7th Grade Boys: HS Band Room
    • 8th Grade Concert Choir: HS Orchestra Room
    • 8th Grade Symphonic Choir Soprano/Bass: Room 114
    • 8th Grade Symphonic Choir Alto/Tenor Room 113
  • Program Order:
    • 7th Grade Women’s Choir
    • 7th Grade Men’s Choir
    • Learwood A Cappella Ensemble
    • 8th Grade Concert Choir
    • 8th Grade Symphonic Choir
  • Please refer to the handbook for dress code/attendance policy.
  • Please review with your son/daughter the importance of being a professional musician on stage AND back stage meaning NO TALKING, Staying focused and standing still at all times. Walk on and off the stage with class and maturity. Students cell phones must be turned OFF during performance.
  • All students are required to watch the concert from their rooms and parents please stay to watch the concert until the end. Students will be watching the concert and reflecting on another choir’s performance as a part of their concert grade…In the classrooms, students may use a cell phone to complete the reflection available to them via google classroom. If there is a conflict where you need to pick up your son/daughter early from the concert, please report to the designated room for your son/daughter with a written note to the teacher. This will help keep noise to a minimum in the hallways and the audience nice and cheerful for our eighth graders. The concert should only last an hour maybe end around 8:10 p.m.
  • After the concert students will leave the stage and their rooms and meet in the PAC.
  • Divine Scoops and Dairy Queen is staying open late after the concert so go treat yourself.

Looking forward to a great concert!

Learwood A Cappella Ensemble on TV Today!

The Learwood A Cappella Ensemble will be live at Levin Furniture with Cleveland Chanel 19 Action News between 4:00-5:00 p.m. Levin Furniture is hosting a toy, coat, food, and cash drive for local charities. We will be providing musical entertainment. ALHS music groups will be performing after us so tune in! Attached is the flyer for Levin’s charity drive and a link to their ad in Channel 19 Action News.

Channel 19 Action News Levin Furniture Ad

SYH LEVIN THURSDAY Poster 2017 Tiff and Tanaka

Learwood Winter Choral Concert Less Than a Month Away

Hi everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! The Learwood Choirs have been working very hard towards their Winter Concert. Below are all of the dates and the locations for the rehearsals and our concert and a few other events. I will be emailing specific information for each choir in early December. Rehearsals and the concert are mandatory.

  • Learwood Holiday Decorating Party Monday, November 27, 2017 at 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm LMS Choir Room. Not a mandatory event. Come help Mr. Pontoli decorate his room with lots of holiday cheer! Snack will be provided.
  • 7th Grade Women’s Choir Rehearsal Monday, December 11, 2017 at 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm LMS Auditorium
  • 7th Grade Men’s Choir Rehearsal Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm LMS Auditorium
  • 8th Grade Concert Choir and Symphonic Choir Rehearsal Monday, December 18, 2017 at 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm ALHS PAC ***Arrive a little early so we can start at 7:00 p.m. Symphonic choir will be released at 7:30 p.m. Concert Choir will stay until 8:00 p.m.
  • Learwood Winter Choral Concert December 19, 2017 at 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Avon Lake High School PAC Students report at 6:30 p.m.
  • In Class Choir Holiday Parties! December 20, 2017. Please bring food or drink to share. Please label name and period and drop off in the choir room in the morning. 

For dress code and attendance policy. Please refer to the Vocal Music Department handbook.

Learwood A Cappella Auditions

IMG_4596Auditions for the 2017-2018 Learwood A Cappella Ensemble will be held next week. Tuesday 9/5/17, Thursday 9/7/17, and Friday 9/8/17 from 3-5 p.m. after school in the Learwood Choir Room. Students will sign up for a time slot by my bulletin board outside the choir room. Auditions last about 5 minutes. All students need to prepare is an unaccompanied song to sing. Only a minute of music is needed. Other things I will be looking for is range, vocal technique and tone, and if students can sightread and match pitch.

The Learwood A Cappella Ensemble, formed in 2013, is an auditioned ensemble where students are  interested in furthering their vocal education and performing on a regular basis. The A Cappella Ensemble performs around the Greater Cleveland Area. During the holidays, the A Cappella Ensemble performs their annual holiday program at local nursing homes and downtown Cleveland. In the spring the ensemble participates in the Ohio Music Education Association’s Solo and Ensemble Adjudication. Over the past four years, the A Cappella Ensemble has received superior ratings. In 2015 the A Cappella Ensemble combined with the ALHS Merples for their spring concert. The A Cappella Ensemble has also performed at sporting events including singing the National Anthem at the Lake Erie Crusher’s. In 2016 the ensemble performed on Channel 19 Action News.

Rehearsals are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00-7:50 a.m. Sometimes rehearsals are split where ladies sing Tuesday mornings and Gentlemen sing Thursday mornings. Rehearsals will begin Tuesday September 12, 2017.

Welcome Back! Here’s Your First Assignment

This assignment must be completed by ALL students AND parents enrolled in ALL choirs by Monday, 8/28/17

  1. If you have not already, please subscribe to my website so you will not miss any important announcements. You will see a follow button at the bottom right of your screen. Please click then insert your email, then click Sign Me Up!
  2. Please take the time to read the Learwood Vocal Music Department Handbook for the 2017-2018 school year. Please refer to the calendar in the handbook and be sure to have respected dates written into your personal calendars. If there any conflicts, email me ASAP.
  3. Please complete the online contact sheet/handbook online agreement.

After you complete these three steps, you are done!