NYSSMA President Elect awarded with music teaching award

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NYSSMA President Elect Russell Faunce (photo: SUNY Potsdam)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — A member of the North Country’s music community has been recognized for his years of service and leadership.

New York State School Music Association President Elect Russell Faunce was recently presented with the 2021 SUNY Potsdam Helen M. Hosmer Excellence in Music Teaching Award. According to Potsdam, Faunce was given the award following years of “dedication to fostering the music education community in New York State.”

The Helen M. Hosmer Excellence in Music Teaching Award is presented annually to a Crane School of Music alumni in public school music education.

As an alumni of SUNY Potsdam, Faunce graduated with both his bachelor’s and master’s degree from the Crane School of Music. He then went on to lead a 34-year choral teaching career in the Watertown City School District.

Before retiring from the traditional classroom in 2015, he taught classes in choral music, music theory, class piano and musical theatre. At NYSSMA festivals, his choirs received “gold with distinction” ratings, and they traveled to perform in California, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York City. Additionally, over 100 of his students at Watertown High School were selected to sing with the NYSSMA All-State Conference choruses.

Throughout his career, Faunce has been integrally involved with NYSSMA. He served as the NYSSMA Zone 5 regional representative for two six-year terms, acted as the All-State choral chair in 2006 and 2007 and continues to be an All-State adjudicator.

Russel Faunce continues to teach privately and serve as a college supervisor and is set to take on the role as NYSSMA President.

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