String Students Perform in Honors Concert and Megan Foley Honored

Upper School violinists Olivia A.-J. '25 and Bianca H. '24 were selected to perform with the California Independent Schools Honors Music Festival String Orchestra hosted by Viewpoint School in Calabasas. They participated in intensive rehearsals with students from independent schools from the southern California area and were led by composer/conductor Soon Hee Newbold. Ms. Newbold was the composer of all five pieces they prepared for their performance. A unique aspect of this festival is that the students got to work with the composer of the music, so they were able to ask questions and gain a unique understanding of her perspective and approach the music as she intended.

“The performance was a great experience because we had the opportunity to work with other students from other schools who were also very skilled musicians. Having the opportunity to have Soon Hee Newbold, who also wrote the pieces we played, as our conductor was awesome,” said Bianca H. “We had the chance to learn what she was thinking about when she was writing the pieces, as well as portray the emotions she wanted the audience to feel through our instruments.”
In addition to this exciting news, Middle and Upper School Performing Arts teacher Megan Foley attended The California All-State Music Education Conference (CASMEC) in Fresno, CA. While there, she was also the recipient of The California Music Educators Association (CMEA) Innovations Award.
CMEA accepts statewide nominations for up to 17 awards annually for different specialties. This year, 11 awards were granted to 13 recipients statewide, including Megan. Honoring excellence in music education innovations, the Innovation Award is given to the "music educator who identifies, promotes, and expands innovative pathways and practices/processes in music, ensuring all students receive a high-quality music education."
Poly is thrilled that our students were recognized in the honors music festival, a testament to Megan’s teaching style and recognition for the Innovation Award.
“The award came out of nowhere; a colleague with whom I had been talking about music education, brainstorming new approaches — including a new music technology class at Poly — nominated me” shared Megan. “I am always thinking about ways to create music with students that are meaningful, interesting, and unique. As for the honors festival that Bianca and Olivia attended, I look for opportunities for dedicated students to shine. The festival was a perfect chance for them to play with peers who are not only musical equals but also those above their caliber; add working with the composer of the music you are playing and you have a very cool experience for a student musician.”