The 2017 William J. McCormick Teacher Grant Awards

This past Saturday, October 14th, the Maryland State Music Teacher’s Association presented the William J. McCormick Jr. Teacher Grant Awards to four area teachers. These grants are designed for the continuing music education of the teacher, or as a scholarship opportunity for a student in need.

The awards were presented at the annual MSMTA Conference at the University of Maryland this past weekend, and recipients were:


Sylvie Beaudoin

 


Immanuela Gruenberg

 


Matthew Palumbo

 


Bonnie Pausic (MSMTA President Junko Takahashi receiving the award in our absence).

The award is funded by Jordan Kitt’s Music as a way to help foster the continuance of excellence in music education in the Washington Metropolitan area, and is named after the modern founder of Jordan Kitt’s Music, William J. McCormick Jr.

Jordan Kitt’s provides the new organ for National’s Park

For Matthew Van Hoose, the Washington Nationals’ playoff run will start on a low note. In the way that only a music professor can be, Van Hoose is psyched about the ultra-deep, bleacher-shaking registers of the team’s brand-new stadium organ.

“This thing has a ton of extra bass,” said Van Hoose, the Nats’ official organist, as he twiddled a few foghorn notes from the bright red, W-emblazoned, three-keyboard instrument that was installed last week at Nationals Park. “It’s good to have a little time to get used to it before the playoffs.”

Van Hoose was running the Viscount Sonus 60 through some test riffs during the Nats’ low-stakes final game of the regular season Sunday. This was basic baseball organ-izing: a little of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” to goose a placid crowd during a visit to the mound.

But come Friday, he knows the mood will shift from the carnival calliope of regular games to the “Phantom of the Opera” drama of a post­season sell­out against the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. When 41,000 fans stand to shout “Charge!” at that classic stadium prompt, Van Hoose will be playing an organ of 41,000 pipes.

And just in time, the front office has equipped him with an instrument boasting considerably more musical muscle than the Hammond keyboard he was tickling before. This is an organ a guy can be proud of.

The Viscount was made to order in Mondaino, Italy; shipped to New York; tuned up in Harrisburg, Pa.; and, during the Nats’ final road trip, fitted in a former radio booth on the second floor of the press box high above home plate. Above the three tiers of keys are rows of tonal couplers (“tremolo,” “piccolo,” “vox humana,” etc.). Below are crescendo and swell pedals and, just off the floor, a fan of skinny pedal boards spreading out from Van Hoose’s busy feet. It is an instrument fit for an octopus.
Van Hoose musically responds to the action at Nationals Park on the new organ. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
He uses his eyes, hands and feet when he plays. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

“I’m thrilled,” said Van Hoose, 46, who was dinking away at a kiddie keyboard when he got into baseball at age 3 in Norfolk. “It’s kind of like going from a plastic bat to a wooden bat.”

[Waiters, students and veterans belt out the national anthem for the home team]

The upgrade included a room of his own. Before, his portable keyboard was tucked into a corner of the control room with the crew that pumps sound effects and recorded music through the stadium speakers.

Now Van Hoose sits alone, following the prompts of DJ Daniel Zacharias through a video monitor and a headset. They take turns mixing sounds into the action, a sample of “The Price Is Right” uh-oh music when the Pirates’ first baseman drops a foul ball, a little polka ditty by Van Hoose for the crowd to clap to as Anthony Rendon steps out of the batter’s box.

“Rendon steps out a lot,” Van Hoose said, looking down at the field, his hands on the keys. “He gives you a lot of opportunities for prompts.”

Van Hoose’s bench is within leaning distance of the open window at his shoulder. If he were to start rockin’ it Ray Charles-style, you could imagine him pitching himself down to the club seats.

“I really feel like I’m in the park now,” he said as fan noise and fall air wafted in.

The team wouldn’t say what the instrument cost, only that the desire for a true stadium organ came from “the highest levels of the organization” and that they acquired it through a partnership with keyboard dealer Jordan Kitt’s Music, now “the official provider of pianos and organs for the Washington Nationals.” The same model is advertised for about $20,000 on European websites.

Nats owner Mark Lerner said his family has long wanted to pump up the pipes as part of the game-day soundtrack.

“My family has always valued the role of music in the overall experience of attending a baseball game,” Lerner said. “We have always wanted to upgrade our organ, and we are all so thrilled about this amazing instrument and how it will contribute to our fan experience.”

Organist Matthew Van Hoose plays the new instrument high above the crowd at Nationals Park. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

Lerner’s 91-year-old father, principle owner Ted Lerner, was a Washington Senators fan back when Merv Conn played his electric accordion over the loudspeakers between innings.

“Ted is old enough to remember when they had marching bands at ball­parks,” said Phil Wood, a Washington baseball historian and commentator who has a picture of Conn on his office wall. “This is an ownership that cares about the traditions of the game.”

It can be hard to gauge whether younger fans, raised on walk-up music and video clips, feel the same thrill of an instrument so redolent of Cracker Jack and 50-cent beer. A brief survey of ticket holders Sunday suggests that many assume those quick organ takes on the “Mexican Hat Dance” and “Zorba the Greek” are just buttons on a synthesizer.

“I had no idea it was a real organ,” said Sadie Cohen, a fan from Fairfax at the game with her brother. “They should show him on the scoreboard.”

Wood said he settled a bet recently when a couple stopped him in the stadium. She thought the organ music was live; he thought it was canned.

Read more here

The Montgomery County Music Teachers Association recognizes Jordan Kitt’s Music

(pictured left to right: Cynthia Cathcart, President of the MCMTA, Ray Fugere, CFO of Jordan Kitt’s Music and Alice Ma, President Elect of the MCMTA.)

Jordan Kitt’s Music was pleased to have been recognized by the MCMTA (The Montgomery County Music Teachers Association) in appreciation of recent service to the their education community.

Jordan Kitt’s has worked closely with the Montgomery County Music Teachers Association for years in helping to provide its teachers and students with special resources, including the use of its 10,000 square foot piano sales and Music Education Center on Parklawn Drive in Rockville.

The MCMTA is a non-profit organization of independent music teachers representing private music teachers of all instruments and is affiliated with the Maryland State Music Teachers association (MSMTA) and the Music Teacher National Association (MTNA). Membership in MCMTA is available to all members of the state organization.

MCMTA was founded in 1965 with 25 members as a local chapter of the MTNA. With a current membership over 225 teachers, MCMTA is the largest chapter in Maryland.

For more information about the MCMTA, visit here…

The Grand Opening of Jordan Kitt’s New Rockville Showroom and Music Education Center

On January 25th, Jordan Kitt’s Music celebrated the grand opening of its flagship showroom and Music Education Center in Rockville, MD with a special concert and reception.

Grand Opening
Tony DeSare performs to a capacity crowd at the new Jordan Kitt’s Rockville Showroom

The Grand Opening Concert featured the enormous talents of Tony DeSare, who enthralled a capacity audience of just under 100 with a performance melding contemporary, jazz, pop, and classical piano.

Named a Rising Star Male Vocalist in Downbeat magazine, DeSare has lived up to this distinction by winning critical and popular acclaim for his concert performances throughout North America and abroad. From jazz clubs to Carnegie Hall to Las Vegas headlining with Don Rickles and major symphony orchestras, DeSare has brought his fresh take on old school class around the globe. DeSare has three top ten Billboard jazz albums under his belt and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, NPR, A Prairie Home Companion, the Today Show and his music has been posted by social media celebrity juggernaut, George Takei.

Jordan Kitt's Grand Opening
(L to R) Chris Syllaba, CEO of Jordan KItt’s Music, Tony DeSare, Ray Fugere, CFO of Jordan Kitt’s Music.

In an effort to expand its showroom, recital facility and Music Education Center, as well as consolidate it’s warehouse from a separate facility into an adjoining one, Jordan Kitt’s Music moved into this new location in December, and became fully open in mid January. The new space is more convenient to customers accessing the store from the beltway, and offers more than 5,000 square feet of new & used pianos from manufacturers such as Yamaha, Bosendorfer, Mason & Hamlin, Roland, Cristofori and others.

Recital Hall
A reception was held in the new recital facility designed for audiences of up to 90, and featuring a Yamaha concert grand for performance.

The facility also has a greatly expanded 1,500 square foot Music Education Center, offering piano instruction to hundreds of students weekly.  It includes private teaching studios complete with performance grade pianos, a large group teaching facility, a waiting area for parents, and a recital hall for seating of up to 90 complete with a Yamaha CF series concert grand piano.

The store expansion in Montgomery County marks Jordan Kitt’s Music’s 105th year of continuous service to the customers, institutions and piano students in metropolitan Washington, D.C. and continues to be the area’s (and one of the nation’s) oldest continuously operating music stores.  Jordan Kitt’s Music has matched the perfect piano with over 250,000 customers since 1912, as well as having taught over one million piano lessons.

MSMTA
(L to R) Michiko Yurko, member of Maryland State Music Teachers Association (MSMTA), Chris Syllaba, CEO of Jordan Kitt’s Music, Artist Tony DeSare, Lily Chang, founder International Young Artist Piano Competition (IYAPC) and member MSMTA, Alice Shiu, a teacher at the new Rockville Music Education Center and member MSMTA, and Ray Fugere, CFO of Jordan Kitt’s Music

The new showroom and Music Education Center is located at 11726 Parklawn Drive in Rockville, just 2.6 miles from the Washington Beltway (495) off the Rockville Pike (Rte 355) exit.  Anyone wishing to find out more information about lessons, the recital facility, home or event rentals or information about new or used products should contact us today at info@jordankitts.com

 

 

Jordan Kitt’s CEO elected to the NAMM Board of Directors

Just days ago, the National Association of Music Merchants elected a new board of Directors, including the appointment of Chris Syllaba, President and CEO of Jordan Kitt’s Music.

NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants, commonly called NAMM in reference to the organization’s popular NAMM trade shows, is the not-for-profit association that promotes the pleasures and benefits of making music and strengthens the $17 billion global music products industry. It serves as a hub for people wanting to seek out the newest innovations in musical products, recording technology, sound and lighting. NAMM’s activities and programs are designed to promote music making to people of all ages.

NAMM welcomed the following members to the organization’s Board of Directors: Lauren Haas Amanfoh, President, Royalton Music Center, Inc.; Bryan Bradley, Senior Vice President/General Manager, HARMAN International; Philip Cajka, President and CEO, Audio-Technica U.S., Inc.; Kathy Donahoe, President and Member Partner, American Way Marketing, LLC.; Alun Hughes, Managing Director, British Band Instrument Company Ltd.; J. Scott Mandeville, President, Tim’s Music; Eric Matzat, President, Palen Music Center, Inc.; and Chris Syllaba, President/CEO, Jordan Kitt’s Music.

Jordan Kitt’s Music was asked to be a part of this extraordinary organization for a number of reasons related to its own community outreach efforts, including:

    • Its participation in the Music Education Advocacy DC Fly-In, an annual advocacy effort organized by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) to promote music education in our public schools.
    • A partnership with Strathmore, supporting annual student concerts for Montgomery County Public School 2nd and 5th grade students resulting in 20K+ students each year being exposed to music and the different instruments of the orchestra.
    • Its presence on the Give a Note Foundation Board of Directors: formed by leaders of NAfME (National Association for Music Education) to “nurture, grow, and strengthen music education opportunities – every student, every school, every community.”
    • CEO’s involvement with classical music outreach as a member of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra (VSO) Trustee Council.
    • Its commitment to community music outreach through free public concerts featuring area talents at its recital facility
    • Providing music education through approximately 20K lessons taught per year out of five education centers in 2 major markets at Jordan Kitt’s Music School.
    • Its support of music education by providing recital hall, rehearsal rooms and meeting facilities for area music teachers, local Music Teacher Associations, and Piano Guild auditions.
    • The support of local Piano Technician Guild (PTG) meetings and organizing manufacturer training and education opportunities for the local piano technician community.
    • The support of numerous Music Festivals and organizations, including the Washington International Piano Festival, local Music Teacher Associations, and the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).

Read more here.

Jordan Kitt’s goes to Strathmore for Europe’s Finest Pianos Concert & Show

Two weeks ago, Jordan Kitt’s Music was proud to be a part of the largest European factory piano event in area history at Strathmore Mansion, featuring a unique collection of extremely rarte pianos from Bösendorfer or Steingraeber & Söhne.

A special performance by world renowned concert pianist Eric Himy played to a capacity crowd, followed by a show and sale event on Sunday. The event also included the the extraordinary Oscar Peterson Signature Edition Bösendorfer, a remarkable instrument capable of recreating “live” performances originally recorded by one of history’s greatest jazz pianists.

Boesendorfer piano

A unique sampling of pianos from this event are being hosted at area Jordan Kitt’s Music locations throughout the season. For specific model information, call (301) 770-9081 in Maryland, or (703) 573-6070 in Virginia.

Jordan Kitt’s hosts Teacher Workshop on Technology

This past Wednesday 7/13, Jordan Kitt’s Music was proud to host “Technology to Improve Student Motivation” featuring clinician Linda Christensen, Ph.D.

There was a great turnout from teachers looking to stay engaged with students during the summer months using modern technology to keep them practicing, even while on vacation.

Linda Christensen received her Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma, where she studied pedagogy with E.L. Lancaster and Jane Magrath. After over 20 years as a Professor of Music and Music Technology, she is now the Institutional Sales Director for Maryland/DC for Jordan Kitts Music in Rockville, Maryland. She is a frequent presenter for MTNA, NCKP, and many other national and international conferences.

To get on the mailing list for future education seminars, contact us at info@jordankitts.com

Jordan Kitt’s Music receives gift of original art after Awadajin Pratt visit

Following Jordan Kitt’s Music special presentation of Awadajin Pratt at the Woodburn School for the Fine & Communicative Arts, one student was so moved by the performance that she was inspired to create this wonderful piece of art commemorating the occasion.

Isabelle Campen, a 6th grade student at Woodburn, painted a 3 dimensional work of art created in layers titled “Awadagin’s Notes” and presented it to Chris Syllaba, President of Jordan Kitt’s Music.

This wonderful artwork is proudly on display at the Rockville location, so look for it next time you visit!

Jordan Kitt’s chosen to provide Yamaha Piano for Barry Manilow at DC’s “A Capital Fourth” Celebration

barry manilow 4th cr

Jordan Kitt’s Music was pleased to be selected as the provider of the Yamaha concert grand piano played by Barry Manilow at Washington D.C.’s “A Capital Fourth” Celebration on July 4th in the nation’s capital. As Washington DC’s most trusted home of new & used pianos since 1912, Jordan Kitt’s is the proud to be selected as the provider of Yamaha and Bosendorfer concert grands for international artists at some of the areas most respected venues, such as Strathmore, The Kennedy Center and many others.

Read more about the event here via the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Barry Manilow sang a medley of “Let Freedom Ring” to lead off a booming fireworks display on the National Mall.

Manilow’s performance put the nation’s capital in a patriotic mood, opening the Independence Day concert that preceded the fireworks display.

Manilow also sang “America the Beautiful” and “One Voice” with the National Symphony Orchestra. Nicole Scherzinger sang the national anthem, country singer Hunter Hayes sang his new hit single “21” and KC and the Sunshine Band got the crowd on their feet.

Security was tight with officers checking all bags. Visitors had to pass through metal detectors near the U.S. Capitol lawn.

Later, the National Symphony played the “1812 Overture” as cannons roared amid the explosion of fireworks near the National Mall.

full article here

Jordan Kitt’s goes to the Capitol to promote music in schools…

DC group picture 6-15

The 11th Annual “NAMM DC Advocacy Fly-in” Delegation with a view to the US Capitol

Jordan Kitt’s Music, the DC area’s oldest piano retailer, again advocates for music education on Capitol Hill.

In May 2015, Chris Syllaba, President & CEO of Jordan Kitt’s Music, again joined members of NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) in advocating for the importance of music education in our public schools. This year, a record 76 members from the music retailing and manufacturing industry joined forces to meet with Members of Congress and their legislative staff to encourage the reauthorization of ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act), including identifying “music” as a core academic subject. There was significantly more optimism among Members of Congress and their staff this year now that the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee has voted unanimously to approve the bipartisan re-draft of the ESEA re-authorization bill titled the “Every Child Achieves Act of 2015.”

As with last year, the nearly week-long effort started with a “day of service” on Monday, May 18. This day was dedicated to Fly-in delegates spending time making music with fifth grade students at Bancroft Elementary School in Washington DC. Former NY Yankee and Latin GRAMMY-nominated musician Bernie Williams and opera singer Carla Dirlikov kicked off the effort with a brief musical performance. Nathan Diamond, Director of Arts for DC Public Schools, made remarks along with Joe Lamond, NAMM President, and Mary Luehrsen, NAMM Director of Public Affairs. Following this, delegates assisted the kids in three different music making experiences: A guitar class was facilitated by GRAMMY-nominated music educator Glen McCarthy, a ukulele class was led by award-winning folk duo Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer and a drum circle was headed up by John Fitzgerald of Remo Inc.

On Tuesday, delegates participated in a day of advocacy training starting with comments by Larry Morton, NAMM Chairman, and an address by Darrell Ayres, Vice President of Education, at the John F. Kennedy Center. One of the day’s presentations was made by Peter Grunwald, founder and President, Grunwald Associates, introducing the results of a recent and exhaustive study indicating the overwhelming support of school music programs by two key constituencies – parents and teachers. Among numerous findings in this study titled “Striking a Chord”, 77% of teachers and 64% of parents say access to music education is “extremely important” or “very important”. Also, 87% of teachers and 79% of parents “strongly believe music education has a positive impact on overall academic performance.”

This was followed by further training  throughout the afternoon and evening at the Capitol Hill offices of of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, NAMM’s tireless advocacy partner and consultancy. The sessions there were kicked off by Leo Coco, Senior Policy Advisor at Nelson Mullins. Also joining the group again as in past years was Richard Riley, former US Secretary of Education. He provided the delegates with invaluable insights and opened doors for the group on Capitol Hill. These training sessions were key in preparing the NAMM Fly-in delegation for a full day of congressional meetings the following day.

On Wednesday the real work commenced early in the morning on Capitol Hill. NAMM delegates organized and attended over 130 meetings with Senators, Representatives and their staff, representing a majority of the States of the Union. The message from the over 9,200 NAMM member companies representing the views of almost 430,000 employees and constituents was that music and arts education in American schools is of the utmost importance.

In the evening, a dinner and reception followed a successful day of music education advocacy at Nelson Mullins. The guest of honor was Congressman John Lewis (GA) who shared a powerful message about music’s role during times of change. “Without music the civil rights movement would have been like a bird without wings” said the Congressman. NAMM President Joe Lamond presented Congressman Lewis with a SupportMusic Award. The Fly-in culminated with a celebration of music overlooking the Capitol on the 9th floor terrace of Nelson Mullins with Bernie Williams and his band. Here Mr. Williams was surprised with SupportMusic Award as well.

Thursday morning concluded the week’s efforts with a SupportMusic Coalition call. Hundreds of individuals from around the country listened in on the call as the delegation summarized the week’s activities and proclaimed another overall successful advocacy effort.  For more information, visit http://www.namm.org