Windermere Boulevard Elementary Music Staff
Michael W. Murphy has been an instrumental music teacher in the Amherst Central School District since 1997. Currently he is the band director at Windermere Elementary School. In addition to band rehearsals, Mr. Murphy teaches lessons for woodwind, brass and percussion instruments to 4 th and 5 th grade students. Mr. Murphy also started the 5th grade jazz band approximately 10 years ago. This is one of very few jazz groups in the WNY area exclusively for elementary students. The jazz band rehearses outside of the school day for the second half of the school year. This group has played at local community events over the years. The most notable being: Boys and Girls Club grand opening, Hard Rock Café, Pausa Art House, Cornerstone Family Fun Day, Martin’s Fantasy Island and the WBS Bike Rodeo. In the past, Mr. Murphy also taught the summer band program for grades 4-9, in the Maryvale Central School District from 1997-2004. Mr. Murphy has also taught brass lessons for the Sweet Home School District in past summers. In addition, he has given beginning to advanced private trumpet lessons at his home for 20 years. Mr. Murphy holds a Bachelor’s degree in music education and a Master’s degree in elementary curriculum design from Buffalo State College. Mr. Murphy feels the best part of teaching elementary students is being able to see a student’s face shine with a smile after learning something new (that never gets old). He enjoys playing for church services and various community groups and events when he gets the chance. Mr. Murphy has three children, 2 dogs and a cat. He enjoys spending his spare time with his family. Among his favorite interests outside of music are: camping, biking, tennis, classic cars and eating at Mighty Taco. Mr. Murphy’s advice to students is: “Don’t let people tell you the sky is the limit -when people have walked on the moon.”
Patricia Hills enjoys teaching PK–5 vocal music at Windermere Boulevard School. She attained three certification levels of the Orff-Schulwerk approach from the Eastman School of Music and very much enjoys using this instructional method in her classroom. Imaginative play is the foundation for her lesson planning and she feels very fortunate to work in a district that values this type of instruction. Patricia co-chairs the ECMEA / NCMEA Classroom Music Showcase. This annual event advocates for music education by featuring vocal music teachers who present their lessons and students in an informance setting for colleagues and parents. She enjoys presenting lessons for this event as well as for the Western New York Orff-Schulwerk Association (WNYOSA). In 2022, Patricia received the General Music Teacher of the Year award from Buffalo State College. Ms. Hills co-directs the WBS 5th Grade Musical each year as well as all three choirs in her building; one for each of 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. Recent musicals include the KIDS* versions of 101 Dalmatians, Aladdin, Jungle Book, Annie, and The Aristocats. Patricia has a Bachelor of Music Ed., Voice degree from Houghton College and a Master of Music Education Degree from SUNY Fredonia. She is a long-time WNYOSA board member and is currently serving as its Membership Chairperson. She enjoys singing with the Vocalis Chamber Choir, the St. Joseph’s Cathedral Choir, Buffalo and the Women’s Choir of Buffalo. She also serves on the board of directors for the Greater Buffalo Friends of Music. Patricia and her husband, Robert Patterson, happily reside in Buffalo.
Ada Wolfanger began her career at Amherst in 2010, and loves teaching classroom music to students in Pre-K - 5th Grade at both Windermere Boulevard School and Smallwood Drive School. She also team-teaches 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade chorus at both elementary schools. Ada is a member of both the Gordon Institute of Music Learning and the Western New York Orff-Schulwerk Association. Both approaches to music learning are blended together in her classroom to encourage the development of a lifelong love of music. In her classroom, students engage in singing, moving, and playing a wide variety of classroom instruments. Ada earned both her Bachelor of Music Education (2007) and Master of Music Education (2009) from SUNY Fredonia. Before moving to Buffalo in 2010, Ada spent two years teaching in Penn Yan Central School District, in Yates County. There she taught classroom music and choruses for students in grades 6-8. In her spare time, Ada has enjoyed coaching Girls on the Run, teaching a small studio of voice students, and spending time with her husband, son, and their two goofy German Shepherds.