Thursday, May 19, 2022
Music Education Alumni Hall of Fame and Cooperating Teacher of the Year
by Anne Sears
In a ceremony at the final Music Education Lab of the semester, the Music Education Department inducted two alumni into the Westminster Music Education Alumni Hall of Fame and also announced the first recipient of the Cooperating Teacher of the Year Award.
Music Education Alumni Hall of Fame
The Westminster Music Education Alumni Hall of Fame recognizes alumni for their contributions to the field of music education and their support of the Music Education department. The 2022 inductees are Adrian O. Rodriguez ’17 and Rich Askey ’81.
Adrian O. Rodriguez is a conductor, educator, and scholar striving to widen the circle of community and inclusion in music and music education. He currently works at The Juilliard School where he enjoys reimagining education in the arts. He works with college students across disciplines through the Office of Community Engagement to re-engage their artistry through culturally responsive educational programming. Most recently, he spearheaded Juilliard's first community chorus, designed to promote collaboration and camaraderie among faculty, staff, and students from the College Division.
As a faculty member in the Juilliard Preparatory Division, he serves as chorus director and co-leads the Artist as Citizen Project for the Music Advancement Program, dedicated to the holistic progress of youth from communities and demographics underrepresented in classical music.
Before moving to New York City, he taught and made music for 10 years in Houston, Texas. He served in several capacities in the public education sphere, including music teacher, chair of fine arts, and curriculum developer. Equally at home with adult choruses, he also led community choral music ensembles, including as founding director of the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra Chorus, associate conductor of International Voices Houston multicultural choir, and director of music for Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church.
Rodriguez is a doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he draws on interdisciplinary studies to explore how values and ideals interact to shape music institutions, communities, and leaders. He received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Houston and his Master of Music Education from the Westminster Choir College.
Rich Askey is President of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, a 178,000-member community of educational professionals who make a difference in the lives of Pennsylvania students every day.
He has extensive leadership experience at the local, state, and national levels. His statewide Association service includes one year as PSEA’s vice president, two years as PSEA’s treasurer, several years as a member of the PSEA Board of Directors, and five years as a member of the NEA’s Board of Directors.
Askey is also a member of the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs. Established by Gov. Tom Wolf, the Commission is the first of its kind in the nation. Commission members advise the governor and state agencies regarding policies, programs, and legislation that impact LGBTQ communities.
A 32-year music teacher, he spent most of his career in the Harrisburg School District teaching elementary classroom music. He is especially proud of his work creating a concert series with local arts organizations featuring professional artists who perform and work with students throughout Harrisburg's public schools, giving opportunities to young people that they would never have experienced otherwise.
Born in Harrisburg, Rich is a graduate of Camp Hill public schools. He received his Bachelor of Music Education from Westminster Choir College. He also participated in Harvard University's Public Education Leadership Project for two years, and was one of only two classroom teachers involved in the prestigious program.
An avid musician, he has served as actor/singer, musical director, and board member for Theatre Harrisburg. He served as the theatre's director of education for many years. He also served as director of music for the Metropolitan Community Church and Second United Church of Christ in Harrisburg. A tenor, he has performed as a soloist with several choirs in the Harrisburg area.
Cooperating Teacher of the Year
This year the department of Music Education established a new award recognizing an outstanding Cooperating Teacher, and the first recipient is Laura Hall-Carney, who has taught general and choral music in the Ewing Public School system since 1995. Prior to coming to Ewing, she taught for the Northside Independent School district in San Antonio, Texas, and the Philadelphia School District.
She has taught children of all ages and levels, ranging from kindergarten through the 12th grades. She carefully crafts her lessons to each student’s needs, passing on her love of music in an inspiring and engaging manner.
She is also a high school choral director, and her choirs have been awarded several first place and superior ratings from choral festivals in Montreal, Florida, Michigan and Virginia.
In addition to her teaching career, Hall-Carney enjoys performing around the Philadelphia area and beyond. She shares her musical gifts with local churches, and is a soloist at the Holy Apostles and the Mediator Episcopal Church in West Philadelphia. She has had the privilege of working with several famous composers and musicians including Robert Morris, Roland Carter and Moses Hogan, and jazz legends Trudy Pitt and Mr. “C”.
Hall-Carney has served as a mentor to student teachers and practicum groups from Westminster Choir College for many years. A consummate musician, she has helped our students, particularly in the areas of urban education, special education, and the African American musical tradition. In the words of Dr. Sangmi Kang, “She magically teaches three-part songs to third graders without the use of a music score.”