Saturday, January 24, 2009


We are holding our final two fundraisers before the Carnegie trip.
If you are interested in tickets, please contact

Lynn Morin at *489-2294 - ext. 1716 or
THS (860)489-2294)or ask any Chamber Choir member.

Applebees Pancake Breakfast—Saturday, January 31st from 8:00-10:00 a.m.
Pre-sold tickets are $5.00 each and include three pancakes, two pieces of bacon and unlimited coffee/orange juice.
To be held at the Torrington Applebees at 1660 East Main St.

Torrington Elks Club Dinner—Wednesday, February 11th from 4:30-7:00 p.m. Pre-sold tickets are $8.00 each and include pasta dinner, salad, rolls, dessert, coffee/tea. Bar will sell $1.00 sodas and other beverages.

Torrington educator gets national technology award

BY JIM MOORE REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN - Saturday, January 17, 2009 3:12 AM EST

TORRINGTON — A music technology education program that Wayne Splettstoeszer built at Torrington High School, byte by byte, has earned national recognition.

"He not only does great things with the kids, he also shares that," said Thomas Rudolph, a teacher in Pennsylvania and president of the Technology Institute for Music Educators, which is recognizing Splettstoeszer as a role model and innovator for music teachers nationwide.

A growing list of high schools and colleges use Splettstoeszer's lesson plans, assignments and exercises which he posts online for fellow educators to use, Rudolph said.

The kids are keen on him, too.

Kasey Graves, 18, a senior in Splettstoeszer's introductory-level music technology class, said her teacher is "pretty sick," which translates from teen speak to "cool."

Graves and junior Mitchell Wimmer were among many students who crowded the school's computer lab Friday, putting the finishing touches on projects that mixed digital photography with original soundtracks created by computer software.

"I can learn how to write music, and be my own producer," said Wimmer, who plans to make a career in music.

Splettstoeszer, 38, who also teaches traditional instrumental music, will accept next month the 2009 Mike Kovins TIME Teacher of the Year Award during a conference in San Antonio, Texas. The award, Rudolph said, is competitive and reserved for a teacher who leads the way on the cutting edge of music education.

"It's a huge honor," Splettstoeszer said.

Splettstoeszer's technology class is a tough get. There is a waiting list every year for Music Technology I, and his yearlong Music Technology II class is always full.

Students in the advanced class learn how to produce radio commercials and film scores, using software and synthesizers. Students in the introductory class set poetry and short story excerpts to music, often writing original work that brings English into the mix.

Interim Principal Marsha Olsen said that kind of integration is the way of the future.

"That's one of our focuses that we're going to be working on next year," Olsen said. "Mr. Splettstoeszer is at the forefront of that."

Splettstoeszer said the electronic approach allows him to reach a generation of students who come to school armed with iPods and laptops. The elective courses also open the door to music appreciation for students who may have never picked up a traditional instrument.

"I've had valedictorians sitting next to future music majors sitting next to special education students," Splettstoeszer said. "All of them can have success."

Splettstoeszer started the technology program from scratch 13 years ago, learning as he went.

"My first couple years were learning five minutes before class and going in and teaching it," he recalled.

"There was no one I could go to. Music technology was in its infancy."

Splettstoeszer said he's just going with the flow.

"The kids of today are using technology in every aspect of their life," he said. "We need to reach them."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

THS choir shows it knows how to get to Carnegie Hall

Thursday, January 8, 2009 1:44 AM EST


TORRINGTON — A local high school choir is holding a benefit concert this weekend with the goal of raising money for a performance at Carnegie Hall in March.

The Torrington High School Chamber Choir will be holding the benefit concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 11 at the First United Methodist Church, 21 Fern Drive. The 30-person group is scheduled to perform pieces from their recent winter concert as well as some new ones, said Lynn Morin, choir director.

Music pieces will include Ave Maria, which will feature a trio, Love Psalm and a piece on Harriet Tubman. Apart from the large performance there will be other smaller vocal acts, namely duets and a small double quartet, Morin said. Some members also have prepared piano solos and flute solos, as well as other vocal solos used to audition for local regional festivals, she said.

As an example of one of the pieces high school student Rachel Pelchat, 16, will be performing a flute solo of Bach Sonata E flat Major, 2nd Movement, Pelchat said.

The concert is free to enter, but the group will accept donations, in a fund raising effort for a trip to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall on Sunday, March 8. The Chamber Choir is looking to raise $10,000 to $12,000 within the next few months to offset costs, Morin said. Currently the group has raised $2,500.

“We’re hoping for a good turnout,” she said. “So we can help these kids meet their fund raising goal.”

The entire trip in total costs over $24,000 and each student would have to spend $950. Many members, however, have already paid some initial costs and done their own individual fund raising, Morin said.

“Part of the big expense is paying for their hotel cost,” she said. The group is expected to be in New York for 10-12 hours of rehearsals, she said.

Some areas have seen costs reduced, such as the Kelly Transit Company which donated the round trip bus transportation for the event.

The Chamber Choir will be holding a few more events in the future, namely a pancake breakfast, to assist in the fund raising efforts, Morin said. All finances must be tied up and ready by early February, 30 days before the performance, she said.

Apart from offering donations the Chamber Choir will be pre-selling CDs of the concert, which will record on site, which should be available within a couple weeks, said Sue Pelchat, Rachel’s mother. Candy and other items will also be sold, she said.

A reception is scheduled to follow the performance. Tickets for the Carnegie Hall event will go on sale on their website 30 days before the performance.

Ronald DeRosa can be reached by e-mail at