Office of the Superintendent

  • Superintendent Anthony PanellaWelcome to the Superintendent's Office 

    Anthony J. Panella
    Superintendent
    Email: apanella@amherstschools.org
    Phone: 716-362-3051
     
    Debbie Custodi
    Secretary to the Superintendent and District Clerk
    Email: dcustodi@amherstschools.org
    Phone: 716-362-3051
    Fax: 716-362-3022 


    February 2020

    The trophy case in our newly renovated music wing at Amherst Central High School is one of the first things you see when you visit the music classrooms. With a large orange lucite treble clef and shelves that represent a music staff, it’s filled with national, state and regional awards. Led by exceptional teachers, our music students have practiced many hours to earn those tokens of recognition. With last summer’s capital improvement project work focused on the music wing, they now have a top-notch space to match their talents.

    Without increasing its footprint, the space was internally reconfigured to gain office and storage areas and improved instructional and rehearsal space for our general music, choral, orchestra and band programs.

    The work in this area was extensive and started last spring break when music classes were relocated. From April through August, the renovations included new floor foundation in some areas, new drywall, electrical and ductwork. Updates to the heating-ventilation system included an adjustable humidification system since humidity changes can affect a wooden instrument’s tone as well as the instrument itself.

    Each area now has a dedicated practice room, office and instrument storage. Soundproof walls allow students to practice in a room adjacent to the teacher’s office. To illustrate, one day a student was practicing for his percussion audition while another student took a test in the adjacent office. The test-taker did not hear the drumming right next door.

    Acoustics, soundproofing and recording capabilities have been greatly enhanced in every area of the music wing.

    Square acoustic wall panels in each rehearsal space absorb and reflect sound. The choral room has additional oblong acoustic panels designed specifically for vocal sound. In each rehearsal space, BOSE sound systems can record and playback. The recording technology and improved acoustics allow students to truly hear their performance. Whether it’s a solo or group, students can hear themselves clearer and with better quality, thus improving their playing and singing in rehearsals which improves their singing and playing in performances. 

    The students’ favorite addition is the Wenger Virtual Acoustical Environment Practice Room. Inside this tiny, soundproof room, students can program the Wenger system to simulate nine different performance venues from a generic practice room, to a cathedral to a 20,000-seat arena. After listening to themselves, they can adjust musically to suit their performance venue. Within the practice room, they can record themselves and connect a laptop to the Wenger system and send the audio file right to their Google drive. Many students are recording their college audition tapes using the new system.

    Out in the music wing hallway, twenty large cabinets house more than 3,200 titles of sheet music the department owns. Now our music instructors have a central location for music scores. 

    Being a musician is something that can take a student in many directions and remains with you for a lifetime, whether it’s as a career or as a personal interest. We hope that for years to come, these improvements will continue to propel our students forward in their study of music.