Expanded Music Opportunities Offered at West Campus This Fall

by Diane VanDyke

Montgomery County Community College will be offering expanded music courses at its West Campus in Pottstown this fall.

“We continue to offer general interest music courses, such as the very popular Music Appreciation, a survey of Western Music history, and Fundamentals of Music, an introductory course in music literacy. But now, thanks to the completion of our Music Keyboard Laboratory, we can offer piano classes and music production classes,” says Associate Professor and Coordinator of Music Andrew Kosciesza. “All the classes are open to the public; you do not have to be a music major to enroll.”

The curriculum includes four levels of piano instruction, from beginner to advanced. Classes are taught using touch-sensitive Clavinova digital piano keyboards. Students receive individualized attention and have access to the lab for practice time outside of class.

The lab is also equipped with state-of-the-art PROTOOLS digital production hardware, and an array of music production software packages. In the Digital Music classes, students will learn the techniques of recording, sequencing, mixing, and mastering high-quality digital audio materials.

“Of course, we are also offering more traditional classes as well,” Kosciesza says. “Like our guitar classes and the West Campus Choir.”

Classes are led by highly skilled musicians with advanced degrees and extensive professional experience.

“We are thrilled to have Vincent Ryan come on board as our director for the West Campus Choir,” Kosciesza said.

Ryan is well-known in the Pottstown and surrounding communities. He serves as the Minister of Music at Advent Lutheran Church, Harleysville, where he directs and oversees the church’s five musical ensembles. Previously, he was organist and choirmaster at The Hill School in Pottstown. He has composed or arranged more than 265 works for a wide variety of solo instruments, ensembles, and choirs.

Also, MCCC’s Piano and Digital Music classes are taught by Howard Gordon, who has been an active musician in the Philadelphia area for more than 20 years. He is an experienced studio musician, working extensively with Grammy-nominated producer David Ivory, and has performed session work at Dylanava Studios, Sigma Sound, Studio 4, Philadelphia International Records and numerous other recording studios in the Philadelphia area.

Gordon is a graduate of Philadelphia’s University of the Arts with a master’s degree in Jazz Performance with concentrations in composition and music technology. He also is a recipient of the Steinway Award for Outstanding Pianistic Ability, Musicianship, and Artistic and Academic Scholarship, as well as the National Academy of the Recording Arts and Sciences Award for Excellence.

Guitar classes are led by Dr. Michael Simmons, who holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Guitar Performance from The University of the Arts, a Master of Music degree in Guitar Performance and Music History from Temple University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education from Boston University.

Additionally, he was the winner of the 1993 Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society Competition and a finalist at the 1995 National Guitar Summer Workshop Concerto Competition. As a member of the Philadelphia Classical Guitar Trio, he has performed both nationally and internationally, including at the 1999 Festival Internacional de Guitarra de Puerto Rico and the Third Encuentro Internacional de Guitarra Panamá 1999. In addition to teaching guitar and music history at MCCC, Simmons serves as the Fine Arts Department Chair at the Woodlynde School in Strafford, Pa.

To register now for fall classes, visit mc3.edu.

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