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Four county music boosters can toot their own horns

A state professional organization honored four Pinellas administrators Friday for their contributions to music education.

The Florida Music Educators Association recognized Jeanne Reynolds, the district's K-12 music supervisor, with a leadership award. Robert Lister, principal at the Center for the Arts and International Studies at Perkins Elementary, shared the organization's elementary administrator of the year award with program coordinator Pat Archibald. Seminole High School principal Rick Misenti received an award for secondary administrator of the year.

The awards, which were presented at a breakfast during FMEA's annual conference this year in Tampa, were unusual in several respects, Reynolds said. The administrator of the year designation usually goes to one person.

"Bob and Pat are such a dynamic team that they were both selected," Reynolds said. "Rick Misenti's nomination must have been so compelling that they decided to do a secondary administrator of the year."

It also is rare for one district to have multiple award winners, Reynolds said.

"It's a very prestigious award," she said. "This is pretty remarkable and very exciting."

Reynolds was nominated for the leadership award by the executive board of the Florida Elementary Music Educators Association. The Florida Music Supervisors Association nominated Lister and Archibald. Seminole High's three music teachers nominated Misenti.

Both Perkins and Seminole have impressive music programs, Reynolds said. Among the opportunities offered to Perkins children are twice-a-week violin lessons for first- and second-graders, weekly vocal and keyboard instruction, and band for third- through fifth-graders. All children are encouraged to participate in focus groups for guitar, steel drum and piano.

"The children who really struggle as well as the ones who are incredibly musically talented get exposed to music here," Archibald said. "We appreciate music as something that children need, just as they need reading, writing and arithmetic."

At Seminole, students can participate in wind, percussion and jazz ensemble, symphonic and marching band, string orchestra, music theory and appreciation, piano skills and concert chorus.

The Department of Education recognized Seminole as a music demonstration school for the 1999-2001 school years, and the Florida Orchestra awarded it artists-in-residency grants for 2001-2004. The Seminole Warhawk Marching Band participated in this year's Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.

The Florida Music Educators Association is a nonprofit professional organization that supports music education research and provides in-service training programs. Membership is open to prekindergarten through college level music instructors, including music supervisors.