Back to Posts

Three Area Music Educators Recognized by RPO Musicians with Annual Award

Rochester, NY – Three special music teachers from the Rochester area have been chosen as this year’s recipients of the 21st annual RPO Musicians’ Awards for Outstanding Music Educators.  Honored for their contributions to their students, schools, and communities, the winners will be recognized immediately following intermission at the RPO’s “Schumann & Brahms” concert on Thursday, April 16, designated as “Music Educators Night at the RPO.”  The 2009 award winners and their categories are:

• Dr. Lon Beery, Choral (Spry Middle School, Webster)
• Robert Leader, Instrumental Music – Band (Livonia High School, Livonia)
• Laurence Tallman, Classroom Specialist (Rush-Henrietta High School, Henrietta)

“The Rochester area is blessed with an abundance of gifted, dedicated music educators,” said Nancy Hunt, Chair of the 2009 Music Educators Award Committee.  “The RPO musicians are very pleased to honor the successes of this year’s Award winners and privileged to publicly recognize the importance of music in the schools.” 

Founded in 1988, the RPO Musicians’ Awards work to strengthen the relationship between area music educators and the musicians of the RPO.  The awards commend those teachers who have shown both educational and musical excellence, and recognize the positive influence they have on the musicians and audiences of the future.  Administrators, educators, parents, and students submit nominations that are then reviewed by a committee comprised of RPO musicians and community educators.  The Awards are sponsored by Jeff Reimer Piano Service.  For more information, or to download photos of winners, visit:

Dr. Lon Beery (Choral Music) teaches vocal music at Spry Middle School in Webster, where he directs the 7th and 8th grade choruses and “Spry Selects,” a select mixed chorus.  Prior to his return to public school teaching, he was an assistant professor of music education at Syracuse University, where he directed the SU Men’s Glee Club, and served as music education department chair.  He also has taught choral arranging at the Eastman School of Music.  This prolific choral conductor, composer, and arranger also has published articles in various journals and has presented at numerous conferences.  His composition, “I Believe,” was performed by the United States Army Chorus at President Reagan’s internment service in California.

Robert Leader (Instrumental Music – Band) is director of Livonia High School Bands and music department chair in the Livonia Central School District.  A graduate of the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, Mr. Leader began his tenure in Livonia as director of Intermediate School Bands directly following his master’s degree from SUNY Brockport.  Since 1985, he has been High School Bands Director, consistently sending its musicians to numerous All-State and All-Eastern conferences and music festivals.  In 1990, Mr. Leader formed the Livonia High School Band Booster Club, which brings many guest artists and composers to Livonia.  He is past-president of the Genesee Valley School Music Association, and founded and has chaired the GVSMA All-County Jazz Ensemble.  He also has formed the “Vintage Profs,” a big band consisting of music educators from Livingston County.

Laurence Tallman (Classroom Music Specialist) currently teaches music theory, composition, piano, and world music in the Rush-Henrietta Central School District.  He has taught band, chorus, and general music at all levels, including at SUNY Potsdam for six years.  Mr. Tallman is in great demand as a clinician, presenting workshops for professional organizations, colleges, and school districts in composition, theory, general music, and curriculum.  A successful composer and arranger in addition to educator, Mr. Tallman has been the recipient of numerous awards including the 1999 Phi Eta Sigma Award for SUNY Potsdam Professor of the Year, two SUNY Potsdam Distinguished Alumni awards, and recognition for outstanding contributions to Native American arts in 2002 by the National American Indian Enrollment Agency.

Tickets to the Thursday, April 16 Philharmonics concert at 8:00 pm featuring Christopher Seaman conducting Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 and Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 with pianist John Lill are available at, through the box office (108 East Avenue), by phone (585) 454-2100, or at any Wegmans location.  RPO Box Office hours are 10:00 am-5:00 pm, Monday-Saturday (non-concert Saturdays, 10:00 am-3:00 pm).  Wegmans is open 24/7.  A convenience fee may apply.