LONGMEADOW – Retired Longmeadow High School (LHS) music department chairman Michael Mucci, who has been an integral part of music education in the community for 35 years, was honored by having the LHS auditorium named after him.
Superintendent of Schools Marie Doyle said the School Committee voted unanimously at its May 26 meeting to name the auditorium after Mucci. An announcement was also made during the Major Works Concert at LHS on May 28.
“Michael Mucci has been a living legend in music education in Longmeadow,” she added. “He has set the bar high for excellence in music and teaching. Naming the auditorium after this prestigious educator is a well deserved honored for this beloved teacher.”
Mucci told Reminder Publications he is still trying to “process” having the auditorium named in his honor, and “it means a lot” to him.
“It’s very kind for our community to honor me in this way,” he added. “I’m really proud of the work we did during my time there in Longmeadow. I had so much fun during my 35-year tenure helping to bring the Longmeadow music department to national prominence. It was totally my pleasure all the way.”
He also gave credit to the administration because without the support of various principals and superintendents, “none of this would have happened.”
Mucci said while listening to the concert on May 28 he thought the students performing “didn’t miss a beat.”
He added, “The culture is such that excellence now is always in the same sentence as the Longmeadow music department.”
Students he’s known during his 35 years of teaching have not only gone on to have careers in music, but have become successful people, Mucci said.
“Not all of our music students in Longmeadow become musicians, but a vast majority of them used music and what you learn from music to succeed in their lives and their professions,” he added. “That would be persistence, a discipline, [an ability] to work with others, just being able to recognize beauty and having an increased sensitivity to everything around them.”
Mucci retired in June 2013 and currently is the director of the Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble at the New England Conservatory in Boston and has also began serving on the board of directors for the Community Music School of Springfield during the past year.
“It’s really important work and I’m really enjoying contributing I can to growing the Community Music School,” he added. “It’s really exciting. I think there in a very important period of growth right now.”
According to information from his application for the naming of the auditorium, submitted by his wife Daryl Mucci, he has won numerous prestigious awards, including the Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award, the New England Public Radio Outstanding Individual of the Arts award, and the Singer Family Prize ‘Most Influential Teacher’ title from Rochester University.
While at LHS, Mucci taught orchestra, concert band, jazz ensemble, concert chorus, and he directed school musicals and plays. He also taught instrumental music in Williams and Glenbrook middle schools and was a coordinator of music education throughout the district.
“What is important to Michael Mucci is evoking a desire to learn music,” Daryl added. “He provided an atmosphere of excellence, professionalism, and warmth that students responded to. He has his own special brand of magic combined with a brilliant intellect, strong musicianship, and fine organization skills to inspire students to play and love music.”
Mucci said his accomplishments would not have been possible without the support of his family.