Stuyvesant HS Concerts
What are these concerts from Stuyvesant High School doing on the John L. Miller-Great Neck North High School Instrumental Music web site?
Simply because if it wasn’t for training and experience I received from my mentors AND THOSE INCREDIBLE STUDENTS at Stuyvesant, I would have never made it to Great Neck. When Superintendent Bill Shine, Instrumental Director Earl Higgins, NH Principal Carol Clarke and NM Principal Pat Sullivan came to observe me teach 3 classes at Stuyvesant HS on May 22, 1991, they were seeing a young teacher who was supervised and observed every day for 8 years by Max Watras. And I was able to observe him teaching every day for those 8 years. The Stuy principal Abe Baumel did everything he could do to protect me as a new teacher from being bounced in favor of the older teachers (with seniority) in the NYC Public Schools who wanted to teach at Stuyvesant. Phys Ed AP Mike Moskowitz invited me to coach the bowling team to give me another arsenal of experience. Administrative AP Murray Kahn hired me to be the Examination Coordinator, which gave me priceless practice of supervising the 200 teachers who proctored during the examination periods.
What Shine, Higgins, Clarke and Sullivan saw that day was a young teacher with the most wealthy accumulation of skills to rebuild a music program at Great Neck North.
My first 5 years in Great Neck was a baptism by fire. Many of the parents wanted to tar and feather me because I was making their kids play scales instead of songs.
On the first day I taught at GN North High period 9, the band students told me that they didn't want to come to class every day and would not play scales. On the second day of classes, I tried to teach the period 8 orchestra class of 16 students (almost half of them were woodwind players who didn't want to be in the band) the C major scale so that we could start rehearsing Mozart's Jupiter Symphony. GNPS Superintent Bill Shine, the tall retired US Marine Colonel walked in and I saw my life pass before my eyes. Here was the coach who just hired a new star quarter and wanted to see him throw some long passes. The students sounded terrible and we barely got through one octave of the C major scale (ascending only) by the time class ended. Shine came over to me and I thought he was going to say, "Rutkowski, you're fired!" But instead, he said, "You are giving them exactly what they need: discipline." When I told him that half the band in the next period wanted to drop, he offered to speak to them. You can hear what he said:
Dr. Shine would visit room 218 on a regular basis, even after his retirement as GNPS Superintendent. On November 19, 2014, Dr. Shine brought his son to visit North High and marched him up to room 218. I was able to introduce my 9th grade orchestra class to the man that changed my life. You can hear the exchange I had with Dr. Shine and my students:
Thanks to my new mentors Bill Shine, Earl Higgins, Jeff Schikler, Arlette Sanders, Denise Eisner, Dan Tomaselli, Bernie Kaplan, Patty Hugo, Danny Krauz, Mike Neary, Roger Ames, Neil Saggerson, their encouragement and support was necessary for me to help the student musicians (ALSO INCREDIBLE STUDENTS!) at Great Neck North High School find out how powerful it is to be able to listen to great music discerningly and to make great music.
That’s why I want you to see these concerts that were conducted by Max Watras and me.
Stuyvesant High School 1988 Demo Reel Instrumental Music Program
Written by Joseph Rutkowski, narrated by Vincent Grasso for the NYU National Eduation Arts Research Center, headed by Dr. Jerrold Ross
January 1989 Caroline Pet Soloist
May 1989 Alison Hoogerwerf soloist
program's last number (William Tell) is cut off
May 1989 Alison Hoogerwerf soloist
Last number is cut off