Arts & Culture Maplewood Schools / Kids South Orange

Parents Association Welcomes New Faculty to Columbia High School Music Program

From the Columbia High School Music Parents Association:

Emily Vite (left) is the first-ever dedicated Music Theory and Music Technology teacher at CHS. Dr. Desmond Moulton is now CHS chorus director.

The Columbia High School Music Parents Association (CHSMPA) is excited to welcome Emily Vite and Desmond Moulton, DMA to the Columbia High School (CHS) music faculty. Ms. Vite is the first ever dedicated music theory and music technology teacher at CHS, and Dr. Moulton has taken on the role of chorus director after Jamie Bunce announced her pursuit of a PhD in Florida towards the end of the 2019/2020 school year, following a 10-year tenure. Both are exceptionally talented musicians and teachers who were drawn to CHS due to the school and district’s reputation for valuing the arts.

“We are thrilled about these hires and want to accentuate that the creation of Ms. Vite’s role was a direct result of CHSMPA advocacy before the South Orange & Maplewood district (SOMSD) Board of Education (BOE), recognizing that the CHS music program had gotten too big for just three music directors,” said Amelia Riekenberg, CHMSPA co-president. “With an election around the corner and three BOE seats up for replacement, we are very mindful to support the election of candidates who strongly support the district’s music program.”

Ms. Vite has seven years of experience as a teacher and performer, working with students of diverse ages and backgrounds. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota where she also studied piano performance and conducting. Ms. Vite is a co-founder and singer with the Glassbrook Vocal Ensemble, a professional choir based in Ewing, NJ and is on the music theory faculty of the Honors Music Program of Westminster Conservatory in Princeton, NJ.

Dr. Moulton made his debut as a professional singer when he was eight years-old as the opener for gospel concerts in Jamaica. He has taught choir, applied voice, music theory, music history and world music at Penn State Abington and University of Southern Mississippi, as well as at public schools in New York City and Los Angeles. Dr. Moulton recently wrote, produced and released an album of his original material called “Happiness is Priceless” which debuted on the Nielsen SoundScan Reggae Chart and the South Florida Reggae Chart.

“This is an especially challenging year as all SOMSD teachers have had to learn to navigate virtual school due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which can be extra tricky in the performing arts,” said Sarah Iozzio, CHMSPA co-president. “We commend Ms. Vite and Dr. Moulton for adjusting to virtual teaching formats in a new district and without having taught in the physical school or meeting any of their students in person.”

About CHSMPA

The Columbia High School Music Parents’ Association (CHSMPA) was established in 1994 as an outgrowth of a previous Band Parents Association. CHSMPA was officially incorporated in 2006 and received nonprofit status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2007. The organization was created to ensure CHS retained a strong music program following school budget crises in New Jersey and a reduction in funding for the arts overall. It is governed by a Board of parent volunteers who work directly with band, orchestra, and choral music directors as well as the district’s fine arts supervisor to ensure all programs stay strong. The CHS music program features award-winning band, orchestra, choral, and musical theatre offerings, including an annual musical production. For more information, visit www.chsmpa.com.

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