For Lauren Byrne, the music never stops

Central Valley. A look at this dedicated music educator.

| 02 Apr 2024 | 04:40

When music educator Lauren Byrne finished graduate school, she said it was “an easy decision” to return to her high school alma mater, Monroe-Woodbury.

“I knew how wonderful the program is and how supportive the school and community are,” she said.

For the 12th consecutive year, Monroe-Woodbury has been ranked among the “Best Communities for Music Education” by the nonprofit NAMM Foundation. The Chamber Orchestra, which Byrne leads, is a significant part of that.

Last spring, three M-W ensembles — voice, wind, and chamber — participated in the WorldStrides Heritage Festival in Philadelphia, winning several awards. The Chamber Orchestra was named Best Orchestra.

In addition, the orchestra was recognized by Sight Reading Factory, an online music education program, as a winner of the recent Sight-Reading showdown, earning accolades that included a monetary donation to the district’s Music Boosters.

“The music boosters are a strong force of parent volunteers that raise money year round to provide scholarships for many of our talented students and consistently help us keep our trip costs affordable for all of our students,” she said.

Indeed, many parents of orchestra members were in attendance when the 28-member orchestra opened a February concert with The Munich Philharmonic String Quartet, following a master class with the quartet consisting of intense training and rehearsal.

“The opportunity of being able to see a professional concert and work side by side with musicians of this caliber is a once in a lifetime experience and one I hope they will never forget,” said Byrne.

Byrne received her undergraduate degree for music performance and education at Ithaca College, and her graduate degree in chamber music studies from the San Francisco Conservatory. At Monroe-Woodbury, besides leading the chamber and concert orchestra, she teaches group lessons and advises other ensembles. She also teaches violin and viola to private students at her home studio and performs with several ensembles in the Hudson Valley.

Her work with music students is a legacy in the making. Many of her former students have pursued musical careers, she said. “I constantly receive emails from past students sharing their collegiate performances and endeavors... I am so proud that they keep music a part of their lives.”

At St. George’s, the orchestra performed a classical selection from Benjamin Britten’s “Simple Symphony.” But the repertoire is not confined to one style. “At each of our concerts you can expect to hear selections ranging from baroque, classical, romantic, modern and even pop! said Byrne.