Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Job Opportunity for String Teacher

Employment Opportunity in Durham, NC

Position Summary

KidZNotes is seeking a qualified strings teacher for its program at Y.E. Smith Elementary School, to support a rich general music curriculum focused on cultivating a caring, cooperative and fun community.


*3 days/week afterschool (3:15-4:15): teach group violin class of 20 students (Pre-K, K, and 3rd grade)
*1 Saturday/month (9:00-11:00): assist full orchestra rehearsals of 60 students (tuning violins, playing in the sections, helping students with posture/note reading, 10-minute pull-out lessons)
*Be available for occasional professional development, concerts, and meetings with KidZNotes General Music Teachers, Orchestra Conductor, and Executive Director
*Excellent musicianship and artistry as a teacher/performer
*Strong commitment to El Sistema’s philosophy of social change through music and KidZNotes mission
*Experience teaching beginning strings, preferably in the Suzuki Method
*Strong interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work effectively in a diverse community
*Ability to be a mentor and role model for students, parents, and peers as an artist, teacher and citizen
*Ability to work under frequent observation
Preferred, but not Required
*Experience working with children from diverse ethnic backgrounds
*Experience working in underserved communities
*Bilingual in English and Spanish a plus

Interested applicants should contact Executive Director Katie Wyatt at or 919.451.0077 to schedule an interview. Applications close April 1, 2011.


The mission of KidZNotes is to provide under-served children, “beginning in the pre-school years, free-of-charge classical, orchestral music training to combat poverty, strengthen inner-city education, and foster positive decision-making to unlock the world.” KidZNotes is based on the model of “El Sistema,” the world-renowned National System of Children and Youth Orchestras of Venezuela, which since 1974 has transformed the lives of over 800,000 Venezuelan children from impoverished circumstances. KidZNotes rehearsals are 4 days/week after-school at each of our three schools, and on Saturday mornings at the Holton Career and Resource Center. KidZNotes provides free, classical, orchestral instruction and trains our teachers in the El Sistema methodology. Children and their families benefit from field trips to concerts, visits by performing artists, and other arts activities. Graduates leave with a sense of capability, endurance and resilience — becoming active and empowered citizens of their communities.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Honoring a Good Man

Today, I want to take a moment to honor my friend and former colleague, Ray Church. Ray served as a music instructor at NCSSM for 22 years and was my colleague here for the first 7 years of my tenure at NCSSM. Ray was a kind, gentle man. He was a fine oboist and musician. In the later years of his teaching career, he became very interested in jazz and jazz pedagogy. He was also a pioneer in distance education for music educators, teaching some of the first music-technology online courses in the country. He loved NCSSM and he loved the students at NCSSM. He made me feel welcome here and always acknowledged my contributions to the effort. He retired from NCSSM 3 years ago and was living in Hickory, caring for his elderly mother. He was a dedicated son and brother. Ray enjoyed tuning pianos, bee-keeping, and in recent years, really enjoyed tending to his mother's gardens and property. He recently told me that "he was really just a jazz-lovin' country boy at heart. Give me a tractor to ride on and I will be happy." That made me chuckle.

Ray stopped in to see me last Tuesday. We talked about the NCSSM Music Department, my family and his, life in Hickory, and many other topics. It was a light and enjoyable conversation. I wondered if it might be "goodbye."

Ray was an important part of my life for the past 10 years. He was my friend. I will miss him. Thanks, Ray, for caring for me and my family.

His obituary is below.

HICKORY -- Ray Edward Church, 61, of Hickory, passed away on Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory.

Born July 14, 1949 in Catawba County, he was the son of Elenoir Huffman Church and the late George Thomas Church Sr.

In addition to his father, he was preceded in death by two brothers: George Thomas Church Jr. and Gary Gene Church.

Mr. Church had graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Music from the University of Miami.

He taught in Nash County schools, St. Stephens High School and 22 years at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. He also played the oboe for the Ft. Lauderdale Symphony and he was a Fulbright Scholar in Germany.

In addition to his mother, he is survived by two brothers: Larry Dean Church and wife, Karen of Hickory, Richard Lewis Church of Lincolnton; and two sisters: Brenda Church Baker and husband, Seth of Asheville, Pauline Church Troutman of Newton.

The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, February 11, 2011 in the chapel at Bass-Smith Funeral Home with the Rev. Scott Frady officiating.

Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery.

The family will receive friends an hour prior to the service from 1 to 2 p.m. at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to the American Liver Foundation, 75 Maiden Ln., Suite 603, Hickory, NC 28603.

On-line condolences may be left for the family at

Bass-Smith Funeral Home is serving the family of Ray Edward Church.