Learwood Winter Choir Concert a Month Away!

Hi everyone! I cannot believe how the time has flown and we are almost to 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 28, 2016 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 12, 2016 at 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm LMS Auditorium
  • 7th Grade Men’s Choir Rehearsal Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm LMS Auditorium
  • 8th Grade Concert Choir and Symphonic Choir Rehearsal Monday, December 19, 2016 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 20, 2016 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 21, 2016. Please bring food or drink to share.

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

Welcome Back! Here’s Your First Assignment for Parents and Students

This assignment must be completed by ALL students AND parents enrolled in ALL choirs by Monday, 8/29/16

  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 2016-2017 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. (I corrected the link here so this is the correct link.)

After you complete these three steps, you are done!

Learwood Eighth Grade Concert Choir to Perform at the OMEA Professional Development Conference!


I hope you are all having wonderful summers. I am pleased to announce that the Learwood Eighth Grade Concert Choir was selected to perform at the Ohio Music Education Association’s Annual State Professional Development Conference which will be held at the convention center in Cleveland, OH. The conference will run Thursday February 2 through Saturday February 4 and OMEA will assign us our performance time and date. As I receive more details from OMEA, I will notify parents and students of details.

There were over 150 applicants and few were selected to perform. It is a huge honor to perform at a conference such as this. Our audience will be mostly music educators from around the state and even other states. This is the same conference where OMEA features their high school all state ensembles. This performance will advocate to the music community our great music program Avon Lake has to offer students.

You will see an updated handbook and calendar posted to the website sometime next week.

A huge thank you to our 2015-2016 Concert Choir for their awesome recordings we used in our application!


Learwood Spring Choral Concert Wrap-up

Congratulations to all of our students who dedicated their time, energy, talents and performed their best in the Spring Choral Concert! Every choir’s performance brought great joy in my heart. I am especially proud of our 8th grader’s hard work they put into making Amour Vincet Omnia a piece to remember. Donna Widener would like me to share her gratitude to you all. Dr. Philip Silvey was in tears hearing his piece and hearing the audience’s reaction. Again, a huge thank you to Dr. Silvey and everything he brought to our students. A special thank you to our HS Teacher Assistant Mr. Ben McComas for making the end of the year special for students and a huge help in assisting me with details for the concert.

Below are some pictures taken at the concert. I will have videos uploaded from the concert in the next few weeks. Thanks to the Learwood PTA with my new iMac, I can edit videos and upload even faster then before!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy summer break! Parents, THANK YOU for everything you do to support the Learwood Choirs. If you wish to unsubscribe to my emails/posts, please press unsubscribe at the bottom of this message.


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Concert Tonight

Hi everyone,

Some last minute reminders for tonight’s concert!

  • Students arrive at 6:45 p.m. to the HS PAC
  • Rooms:
    • 7th Grade Girls: HS Choir Room
    • 7th Grade Boys: HS Band Room
    • 8th Grade Concert Choir: Orchestra Room
    • 8th Grade Mixed Soprano/Bass: Room 114
    • 8th Grade Mixed Alto/Tenor/Select Basses: Room 113
  • Program Order:
    • 7th Grade Women’s Choir
    • 7th Grade Men’s Choir
    • Learwood A Cappella Ensemble
    • 8th Grade Concert Choir
    • 8th Grade Mixed Choir
  • Please look at handbook for dress code policy.
  • Please review with your son/daughter the importance of being a professional musician on 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.
  • Concert should be over around 8:45 p.m. All students are required to watch the concert backstage and parents please stay to watch the concert until the end. If you must leave early, please make your way backstage in between choirs moving and pick up your son/daughter in their designated room.
  • After the concert students will leave the stage and their rooms and meet in the PAC.
  • Divine Scoops is staying open late after the concert so go treat yourself on this hot day!

Looking forward to a great concert!

Learwood Concert Choir OMEA LGAE Results

 Congratulations to the Learwood 8th Grade Concert Choir for a beatiful performance at the Ohio Music Education Association District IV large group adjudication! The concert choir performed three selections for three clinicians. The concert choir received on a rating scale of I-V (I being superior and V being poor) straight Superior (I) ratings! Feedback from this event is used for our progress as a musical ensemble and for students individual growth as a musician. We will be listening for our comments as to help improve our performance before our spring concert.

Learwood A Cappella and Learwood Jazz Band will be on Channel 19 Action News!

19 News

Congratulations to the Learwood A Cappella Ensemble and the Jazz Band as they will be performing on the news this Monday morning, May 16th for Channel 19 Action News! Channel 19 is coming to do their weather portions of the news broadcast at Learwood. The A Cappella Ensemble and Jazz Band should be performing during the 7:00 news hour. We could perform as early as 6:45 a.m. Tune in!


Spring Choral Concert Information

Amour Vincet Omnia Concert.jpg

The Learwood Spring Choral Concert is approaching us rather quickly! The Concert is Wednesday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m. Students will report at 6:45 p.m. The students have been working hard since January preparing for this concert! I am proud to announce this year’s concert theme entitled “Amour Vincet Omnia, Love Conquers All.” This theme is centered around a piece that was commissioned for the Learwood 8th grade mixed choir entitled “Amour Vincet Omnia.” This piece was written by a dear friend and colleague Dr. Philip Silvey who currently teaches at the Eastman School of Music. Dr. Silvey will be our composer in residence at Learwood from Monday, May 23-Wednesday May 25.

I commissioned Dr. Silvey to write “Amour Vincet Omnia” based off of poetry of Rick Widener. Rick’s wife Donna Widener works on staff as an evening custodian. Donna cleans our music suite and I have become great friends with her. Two years ago, her husband Rick passed away. As I attended the viewing, I discovered that Rick was a poet and he had a book of his poems published “Amour Vincet Omnia Love Conquers All.” The poems were beautiful. A lot of the poems centered around love, but also talked about his childhood, nature, and the afterlife. I mailed the book to Dr. Silvey this past summer and he was able to create a beautiful piece that would sound great for the Learwood 8th Grade Mixed Choir. On Wednesday, May 25, Both Dr. Silvey and Mrs. Widener will be in attendance at the concert. In addition to “Amour Vincet Omnia” Each choir will perform a piece by Dr. Silvey.

Along with the pieces composed by Dr. Silvey, there will be many pieces performed that will focus on love, nature, and self motivation. Music from the 1600’s all the way to Adele’s Hello. Yes. I had to throw in a break-up song if a concert is themed around love.

Please refer to the Learwood Vocal Music Department Handbook to see what is considered an excused/unexcused absence, dress code, and other important information. Below I have listed all of the MANDATORY dates and times students need to be for their rehearsals.

  • 8th Grade Concert Choir OMEA District 4 Large Group Adjudicated Event Saturday May 14, 2016 Lorain High School 2270 E 42nd St Lorain OH 44055 Students report to Learwood at 7:30 a.m. 
  • 7th Grade Men’s Choir Rehearsal Tuesday May 17, 2016 at 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm Learwood Middle School Auditorium
  • 7th Grade Women’s Choir Rehearsal Wednesday May 18, 2016 at 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm Learwood Middle School Auditorium
  • 8th Grade Concert Choir and Mixed Choir Rehearsal Monday May 23, 2016 at 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Avon Lake High School PAC (Mixed Choir 7:00-7:45 Concert Choir will stay until 8:00 p.m.)
  • Learwood Spring Choral Concert Wednesday May 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm Students report at 6:45 p.m. Avon Lake High School PAC 

I hope you enjoy our uplifting spring choral concert! Thank you for your constant support for the Learwood Choirs.



8th Grade Concert Choir to Perform at OMEA Large Group, Saturday May 14th

If you do not have a student in the 8th grade concert choir, you can delete this message. More information will be coming soon in regards to the Learwood Spring Choral Concert

Parents I sent you an email in regards to OMEA District 4 Large Group Adjudicated Events where our Concert Choir will perform. Please read that email. Students will bring home a permission slip and information sheet but I have it available if you click here. All information is presented on the sheet. Rip off the bottom portion of the slip and students need to have it turned in on Monday, April 25th.

OMEA D4 Junior High Solo and Ensemble Results!

Congratulations to the 30 Learwood Students who participated in either a solo or participated in the Learwood A Capella Ensemble for the Ohio Music Education Association District IV Jr. High Solo and Ensemble! At this event, students perform either a solo piece or sing in an ensemble and is critiqued by a judge. The judge gives students ratings of I-V. A I being the highest (Superior.) Learwood MS received all Superior (I) and Excellent (II) ratings! A special congratulations goes to the Learwood A Capella Ensemble who received a Superior (I) Rating for their performance.

The students who performed on Saturday were,

Reagan Bushok, Carter Cowles, Dylan Eckenrode, Abby Golden, Daniel Gray, Maya Gonzalez, Jackie Grissinger, Maxwell Hallett, Kelly Hershey, Caity Hill, Tomi Johnson, Keith Kreeger, Clayton Ledbetter, Rebecca Lisi, Leah Mangano, Mikayla Mitchell, Isabella Molina, Dresden Moss, Brett Nicolette, Emma Okuma, Clara Orr, Creed Peters, Lauren Rish, Ella Rudkin, James Rokas, Aidan Shoop, Chris Stevens, Seth Wanner, Allison Wetzler, and Haleigh Whitt.


Concert Choir Tour Highlights Day 1!

Early Friday Morning, the Learwood Concert Choir left on their annual trip to Columbus, OH! The students were excited from the start when they found out they were riding on a brand new tour bus! We had a wonderful bus! Our first stop was to Ohio State University where we had the privilege to work with Dr. Kristina MacMullen, associate choral director at OSU. The students learned a lot in their short hour with Dr. M. From there we headed to the Ohio State House and performed for local Columbus residents and family who travelled to see our choir. We performed in the Crypt underneath the main dome and which the space provided a wonderful echo sound for the choir. The choir sounded Beautiful and I could not be more proud of their performance.

After our performance we toured the Ohio State House, had some shopping time at the OSU student union and then had a lovely Italian dinner at Bucca De Beppo. Our night ended seeing Beauty and the Beast Broadway Production live from the palace theater.

Today we head to the Columbus Zoo and the Ohio Weslyan University Observatory. Can’t wait for a fun filled day with some awesome students 🙂 


Fundraiser Pick Up Scheduled for Tomorrow 3-17-16

If you are anticipating picking up fundraiser items from the Learwood Fundraiser, they will be available for pick up tomorrow after 10:30 a.m. on the stage in the Learwood Auditorium. Items will be in alphabetical order and each student is assigned a number. Please look at the sheet right outside the auditorium to find your student’s number. The number will correspond with a post it note next to the box. Students can take their items directly to their lockers during their choir class then take them home, parents can pick up items during the day stopping by the main office, or students/parents can pick up items after school. A copy of the student’s order sheet will be given back to them and who they sold to.

Money will be due on Monday April 4th. Mr. Ewald and I are requesting that parents have all sellers pay parents and if parents could write ONE CHECK to Learwood Middle School, that would help out our book keeping tremendously. Please have the check in a sealed envelope with student’s name clearly printed on the envelope. After student returns to us all of the money, students will receive their prizes!

Thank you all for helping support the Learwood Music Department!

Learwood Choirs March Update

Hi everyone! As spring break is quickly approaching, I would like to update you all on our busy season the Learwood Choirs has had this past month!

First, Congratulations to the 8th Grade Concert Choir on a wonderful performance at the ALHS Winter Choral Concert! The Concert Choir combined with Da Cantari to perform a selection of Mozart’s Missa Brevis in C. Congratulations to our quartet soloists, Reagan Bushok, Daniel Gray, Rebecca Lisi, and Brett Nickolette for a beautiful performance!

Second, Congratulations to the Learwood A Cappella Ensemble and their performance at the AL Elementary Children’s Choir Festival. The A Cappella Ensemble was the guest ensemble for this festival. It was an honor to perform our program “SOUNDSCAPES” for the parents and community. At the end we had over 400 elementary students on stage with our A Cappella Ensemble for three closing pieces.

Third, Congratulations to our Honor’s Choir Members who participated in the OMEA District IV Jr. High Honor’s Festival this past Saturday 3-12-16 hosted by Avon Lake. These 10 students were selected to perform in the choir that was composed of the top middle school students from area west side schools. These students got to work with conductor and my dear friend, Mr. Frank Bianchi, director of the Baldwin Wallace Men’s Chorus. These students were Reagan Bushok, Rebecca Lisi, Esmerelda Melgoza, Emma Okuma, Brett Nickolette, Aidan Shoop, Connor Gallagher, Clay Ledbetter, Daniel Gray and Mitch Wargo.

This week, the Learwood Concert Choir heads on tour to Columbus, OH where students will get to visit main attractions and colleges in the Columbus area. Highlights of this tour include a workshop with Dr. Kristina MacMullen, performance at the Ohio State House, Tour of the city, seeing Beauty and the Beast at the Palace Theater, and going to the Columbus Zoo! Wish us safe travels!

Last, expect another post soon in regards to the fundraiser delivery that will take place tomorrow!


Learwood Music Department Annual Fundraiser has Begun!

Parents and Students,

This past Friday, we kicked off our Music Department Fundraiser. We are selling chocolate fudge, and gourmet popcorn. Students will have a week and a half to sell their items. The order form attached inside the catalog is due on Tuesday February 16th. Please give us all of the sheets. We will give a sheet back to your student during delivery. Products will be delivered the week of March 14th.

We are asking students to COLLECT THE MONEY when they deliver the products. When delivering products in the future, 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 tomorrow can bring in their order form and show it to me and they will receive a cell phone gooseneck stand! So go sell your five items today! There are many prizes available if a student sells 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50+ items!

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

You are able to order online from any catalogue. Please follow the steps below.

  1. Go to www.newerafundraising.com
  2. Click on “Online Fundraising”
  3. Make Selection
  4. Type in Group Name Learwood Music Dept
  5. Type in students name when prompted and we will award students these online orders.
  6. 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.

Winter Update

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I have posted. There are many wonderful things going on with the choirs that I would like to share.

We started off the year revoicing all of the choirs and now we are starting to read all our new music for our spring concert. I have begun to post YouTube videos on each choir’s page so be sure to have students take a look at these and parents feel free to preview the music as well! 

8th grade students registering for their choir next year, please only register for Men’s Chorus or Women’s Chorus. No one should register for Da Cantari. That is an error on the sheet. I must sign the paper copy of the sheet after you select your choir. Please bring that to me during class to sign.

The Concert Choir has two big events coming up. On Thursday March 3rd 7:30 p.m. Concert Choir will be singing a combined concert with Da Cantari, one of our Avon Lake HS choirs and they will be performing selections from Mozart’s Missa Brevis in C. This will feature a chamber orchestra and will be apart of the high school choral concert. Concert Choir will also be touring to Columbus, OH March 18-19 where they will have a choir clinic at OSU, perform at the Ohio State House, tour the city of Columbus, see Beauty and The Beast at the Palace Theater, go to the Columbus Zoo and the Olentangy Indian Caverns. If you would like to see a full itinerary of the trip, please go to the Concert Choir Page on this website.

Congratulations the the Learwood A Capella Ensemble as they were selected to be the Guest Ensemble for the Avon Lake Elementary Choir Festival. The A Capella Ensemble just gave a great performance at the Winter Pep Rally singing the Star Spangled Banner and the Alma Mater.

The 8th Grade Mixed Choir and I are very excited that we have commissioned Dr. Philip Silvey to compose a piece of music for our 8th grade mixed choir. The piece is entitled Amour Vincet Omnia and the text comes from a staff member’s husband from Learwood MS who is a poet. Donna Widener’s husband Rick Widener passed away two years ago and when I went to the viewing in support of Donna, I fell in love with his poetry. Donna is thrilled and our students are loving all aspects of the commission. Dr. Silvey will be our composer in residence May 23-25 and the work will be premiered at our spring choral concert Wednesday May 25th at 7:30 pm! All of our choirs will be performing one of his pieces and will get a chance to work with this fine conductor and composer.

Finally, you will see me post real soon in regards to our music department Fundraiser which officially kicked off yesterday! Stay tuned! 

 New quote above the music department hallway!

Holiday Parties Tomorrow

Hi everyone! Tomorrow in students choir classes, we will have our annual holiday party. Both ladies and gentlemen will come to choir that day. Please bring either food, or beverage to share. Please refrain from allergens such as nuts etc. Please have food or beverage marked clearly with students name and choir period. In class, students will have the chance to sing some Carol-oke and will get a little holiday concert by Mr. Pontoli singing and playing some holiday favorites including some Trans-Siberian Orchestra tunes!

Congratulations to all for a wonderful Winter Choral Concert! I am proud of ALL of our students for their hard work! I will be posting videos soon.

If I do not see you before break, I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday 🙂