Announcing the 2017 Music Educator of the Year

Michael-WellerMichael Weller will receive the Springfield Symphony’s “Music Educator of the Year” award at the February 25 concert. Mr. Weller is the music teacher at Ridgewood School in Springfield, Ohio. He also is the Music Minister at Memorial Presbyterian Church in Xenia.

Mr. Weller is a longtime resident of Springfield where his music training closely connects to the history of the Symphony. He attended Springfield North High School and played first horn all three years under John Smarelli who was the concert master of the Symphony for many years. Mr. Weller also played for John Ferritto in the youth Symphony, 25 years with the Fellowship Winds quintet, and eleven years in the Wittenberg Symphonic Band.

Mr. Weller studied horn with Fritz Holker, Richard Chenowith, and Colvin Bear at Wittenberg University where he received a Bachelor of Music Education degree in 2004. Michael has also been active in Springfield’s community theater where he played many notable roles in Civic Theater productions and in the Summer Arts musicals in Cliff Park. He sang with the Ohio Lyric Theater Chorus and performed at the opening of the Kuss Auditorium.

Michael Weller began teaching at Ridgewood School in 2005. Up until then Ridgewood had not included an instrumental program in its 87-year history. Mr. Weller began purchasing and refurbishing instruments with much help from Kincaids Music. All students at Ridgewood School in grades 4-8 now participate in one of three bands. Mr. Weller also shares the gift of music with Kindergarten through third grade. He has developed a unique music curriculum, and a notation system that creates early success in performance and music reading skills with younger students.

Besides three concerts a year, Mr. Weller also directs the school musical. He teaches the students how to build the set, run the sound and lighting systems, and collaborates with many staff members including Gail Suzel in dance, Molly Loftis in art, Colleen Huey in props and costuming, and Beth Dixon as an acting coach. This year Ridgewood is proud to present “The Wizard of Oz.” Students in the Ridgewood Band have also have participated in the OMEA large ensemble adjudicated event for the last three years under the direction of Mr.Weller.

Mr. Weller loves to see the wide-eyed wonder of students as they enter his classroom and hopes to instill a love of music in them for years to come.

Past Winners of the SSO Music Educator of the Year Award:
» 2016 Lydia Smith-Lockwood

» 2015 Karen Gorretta

» 2014 Amy Whitehall

» 2013 Jim Templeton

» 2012 Sharon Safely

» 2011 Evalind Pickering

Smith-Lockwood-right Lydia Smith-Lockwood received the 2016 Music Educator of the Year Award

Goretta-right Karen Goretta received the 2015 Music Educator of the Year Award
MEOY-Whitehill-Award Amy Whitehill receives the 2014 Music Educator of the Year Award from Maestro Peter Stafford Wilson

MOEY-Jim-Templeton Jim Templeton receives the 2013 Music Educator of the Year Award from Maestro Peter Stafford Wilson

MEOY-Safely Sharon Safley acknowledges her 2012 Music Educator of the Year Award

MEOY-Pickering Evalind Pickering receives the 2011 Music Educator of the Year Award from Maestro Peter Stafford Wilson


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