Music Makes Big
Impact In District
by Herbert Alper
Over the years music in the Farmingdale Public Schools has
created more than its fair share of professional interest.
Sponsored by Adult Education, under the direction of Paul
A. Erlanson, the Farmingdale Music Foundation, Inc. from
1949 to 1957 presented six Gilbert and Sullivan performances.
It donated an organ to Main Street School and sponsored performances
by Mischa Elman and other renowned artists. It
also gave about $ 5,000. in prizes to young artists.
From 1955- 57 the Farmingdale schools drew national attention for the work of
high school musicians involved in a dance band prepared and conducted by Marshall
Brown. The highlight was two performances in 1956 and 1957 of the Farmingdale
High School Dance Band at the Newport Festival of Jazz, Newport, Rhode Island.
In 1959, with Herbert Alper as District Supervisor of Music, the schools expanded
many of the musical activities. As of next year there will be thirty- nine
staff members in music education in the Farmingdale schools. Some of the achievements
since 1959 include the choosing of the Farmingdale Public Schools as one of
the fifteen in the United States that have made the greatest contribution in music
education by the Research Project of Music Education at Mannattanville College,
Purchase, New York, under a grant given it by the Office of Education. National
publicity on this report was given in the February, 1967 issue of American Education,
the magazine published by the Office of Education of the United States Government.
The Farmingdale Senior High School Band performed at the national convention of
the Music Educators National Conference at Philadelphia in March of 1964. The
analysis of the " Suite Francais" by Milhaud performed by the band was done by one
of the greatest of the American musicians, Gunther Schuller.
A pilot project with funds supplied by the Ford Foundation was given for a summer
school project in Creativity for junior high school students during the summer of
At the Eastern Division Music Educators National Conference in Buffalo, February,
1965 two sessions were given with students from the summer course. Demonstrations
and lectures have been given at several County and School District meetings
throughout the East.
There have been visitors in Farmingdale from all over the United States to observe
the work in music.
For four years an inservice course for music teachers in the Farmingdale
schools has seen them compose with Twentieth Century devices with an indication
of their educational implications. Demonstrations of the result of this course have
been shown at county music teachers' meetings and in a public concert at the Farmingdale
A song written by fifth grade children was used on New York State Governor
Rockefeller's television program, " Executive Chambers" in 1964.
Farmingdale has hosted sectional performances, contests and festivals and zone
Its performing groups have developed an enviable achievement in contest ratings.
Probably the most unique achievement was the 120 out of a possible 120 points in the
Intermediate Elementary group at the NYSSMA contest in May of 1962 with the
Woodward Parkway Elementary School group.
The High School chorus and band have achieved excellent ratings and the junior
high musical organizations have also been in the forefront of the groups in the State.
Farmingdale has also produced more than a fair share of students going into music
and music education at some of the leading schools and universities in the country.
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226 MAIN STREET CHAPEL 9- 0268 FARMINGDALE
Farmingdale Observer Supplement Thursday, March 23, 1967
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