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. During summer of 2017 she took Level I of the Kodaly music teaching approach at SUNY Fredonia. Imaginative play is the foundation for her lesson planning and she feels very fortunate to work in a district that values this type of music education. Patricia was chosen to present a music lesson for the 2008 ECMEA Classroom Music Festival and presented a 5-hour workshop in 2015 for the Western New York Orff-Schulwerk Association (WNYOSA) at Buffalo State College. She will be presenting for and co-chairing the 2017 ECMEA Classroom Music Festival in October. Mrs. Hills is excited for the recent return of Musical Theater Club at WBS! In 2016 she co-produced and co-directed Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, Kids and in 2017 Disney’s Aladdin KIDS. With casts of 80+ students, she looks forward to many more wonderful musical productions in the coming years. 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. In her spare time she enjoys singing with the Vocalis Chamber Choir and with the St. Joseph’s Cathedral Choir, Buffalo. She is on the board of directors for the Greater Buffalo Friends of Music and she continues to study voice with Dr. Margaret Kuhl. She and her husband, Robert Patterson, reside in the Allentown area of 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.
Derek Chazen graduated from the State University of New York at Fredonia in December 2013, and began teaching Strings in the Williamsville Central School District in January 2014. Mr. Chazen currently teaches Strings at Smallwood Drive School and Windermere Boulevard School, where he is so fortunate to be a member of such an outstandingly supportive and wonderfully diverse school community. In addition to his teaching in the Amherst Central School District, Derek also maintains a private studio of viola students. His private students have been accepted into the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra, ECMEA All-County Orchestras, and NYSSMA Area All-State and Conference All-State Orchestras. As a violist, Mr. Chazen frequently performs with many ensembles at various venues throughout Western New York. Aside from his devotion to teaching and performing music, Mr. Chazen is also deeply invested in international/multicultural interests throughout the area. Having spent significant time studying, performing, and tutoring abroad, Mr. Chazen enjoys working on local projects in many capacities with students and families from other countries. Such efforts include teaching English as a New Language classes during the summer, placing exchange students with local host families, and translating for students who speak Mandarin. In Mr. Chazen's spare time, he enjoys walking, traveling, attending concerts, and trying new kinds of food and tea.