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December 05, 2016
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Eldred’s music program feted

Brian Nivison, Eldred School District's Music Director and band teacher, joins in with a saxophone with two of his students. On theleft is Claire York playing base clarinet, to which she's just transitioned; next to her is Brianna Terry, playing the clarinet.
TRR photos by Anya Tikka

“Commitment is so rare in our society. You have to be dedicated, to have commitment. I’ve taken my students to the New York State School Music Association evaluation every year, although it’s such a small pool to draw from. We’re not going to have the level six that the large schools have, but we’re going to do as much as we can,” he said.

New York has six levels of instruction, going from level one to six, at which you could consider studying music at college level. “We have a few students who are level six individually, but as a band we are level four. I have three students this year at level six; every year I have between three to five. Last year three went to All State Band. One was an alternate.”

Nivison said he has a mentor, a music teacher in Eldred in the ‘70s, Corinne Duda, who built a “phenomenal program,” and whom he still sees once a year. “She told me our school being at level four is equivalent to a large school in Long Island being at level six,” said the beaming Nivison.

By all counts, Nivison has already succeeded in his stated goal of taking a struggling music program and helping to turn it around.

“I wanted to be a builder,” Nivison concluded.