Here’s how you get to Carnegie Hall (updated)

A good underdog story sells. Underdog stories are about a person or group working against all odds to make it to the big time in sports, business, the movies, the circus, or to win a battle or true love, or to graduate medical school, or even high school.

So here’s news of the Hancock Select Singers, chosen to be part of the Tim Janis Chorale Ensemble for a Nov.29, 2012 performance at Carnegie Hall. That’s a big name for a choir from a tiny village. Seriously, I’m not sure if they still top the 1,031 people from the 2010 census.

Apologies to those in back row!

“We have such a small town, we can’t even have our own football team,” said Stephanie Poborsky, a high school freshman. (They combine with neighboring Deposit to field a team.)

But what they have is Loa Noyd, a music teacher who has a few connections in the music business.

“She is an awesome teacher and she makes it fun,” Poborsky said. Her mother, Betsy, was one of many in the Hancock community who made the trip to New York City to watch the pop chorale performance of original compositions by Janis.

“It was amazing and everything was so perfect. I was so proud of them,” Betsy Poborsky said.

Noyd is proud of the students for the performance. She’s also proud of the school community for raising the funds to pay for the transportation to get the students to New York, which made for an extremely long day: getting on a bus at 5:30 a.m. and not returning home to their Delaware County homes until 2 the morning of Nov. 30.

“We stood on those risers for about 3 hours of rehearsals and then again for the performance,” said Noyd, who, with her son Jeremiah, also sang with the choir.

Jeremiah and Loa Noyd

The magic of the Nov. 29 performance is at risk as the community confronts budget issues. Even though the proposed state budget would give the district a 2.25  percent aid increase for the 2013-14 school year, it’s still far below the $5.91 million the district received in the 2010-11 school year. Noyd said a major reason why a group of high school students can perform at a high-enough quality to make it to the big stage of Carnegie Hall starts with once-a-day music class that begins in kindergarten and continues through most elementary grades at her district. Starting in fifth grade, students only get music every other day for 45 minutes a day for part of the year. “I’m very worried as districts have to make tough choices about music education being eliminated altogether.” Click here for a link to about Yonkers cutting music.

“The talent is here, but it must be nurtured,” Noyd said. “It’s sad to know there are districts that rarely offer music classes to elementary students, especially when there’s such a strong link to higher academic achievement in math and other subjects.”

Stephanie agrees.

“Learning music is so much easier when you’re young,” she said.

Noyd is proud of her teaching and NYSUT background. She is a member of the Hancock Teachers Association. Her grandfather taught science and was a guidance counselor in a predecessor union, but her mother, two aunts, four cousins, a sister and a sister-in-law are all NYSUT members. Another niece, a teacher’s aide in Broome Tioga Boces at the Glenwood Center, was studying to become a special education when she was killed in a car accident.

“All of us are in New York state,” Noyd  said proudly.

On a side note, Noyd’s music teacher, NYSUT retiree Mildred Bowman, attended the conference. I’ve tried to contact Bowman in Florida, but haven’t heard back yet. You know how busy those retirees are! Here’s a pic of the two of them.

"Midge" Bowman and Loa Noyd

UPDATED Feb. 1. Calling in from sunny Florida where it was 50 degrees this morning, Mildred Bowman taught music in the Windsor schools. She recalled Noyd as one of a group of “absolutely stellar and gifted students I keep in touch with” even after three decades of being retired.
“Yes, I’m retired about as long as I taught,” Bowman said.
As to the Carnegie performance, Bowman praised the chorus and the music and noted it was a wonderful experience for the students.
“I was really impressed with how the students conducted themselves. They had to stand through two speeches, both which were longer than they needed to be. Their deportment was wonderful. They never fidgeted. They were totally prepared.”

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