Finley's Frank Battista Earns Director's Honors
Frank Battista is a special kind of music teacher. The J. Taylor Finley Middle School community already knows this. He will soon earn even more admirers after being selected to conduct the All-County Division I West band for Nassau County.
The concert will be held on Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 4 p.m. at The Tilles Centner on the campus of Long Island University's C.W. Post College. All-County band students are selected based on their New York State School Music Assn. (NYSSMA) scores from the previous spring.
"I am truly honored and excited about conducting this years Division I West band," Mr. Battista said. "Since starting my career 11 years ago, I have always wanted an opportunity to work with an All County band."
Joan R. Fretz, Huntington's district director of fine and performing arts, called it a "huge honor" to be asked to conduct the All-County band. "Frank is an amazing teacher and person," Ms. Fretz said. "He is in charge of many student activities at Finley and responsible for a lot of the great activities that the staff participates in as well."
Mr. Battista received a B.M. degree in percussion performance and music education, and a M.A. degree in music education from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. He has also studied percussion at The Julliard School of Music's summer percussion seminar.
At Finley, Mr. Battista teacher instrumental music, specializing in seventh and eight grade concert band and honors symphonic band. He also coaches many of the chamber ensembles and teaches percussion for the award winning Huntington High School Blue Devil marching band.
"I am proud to be a part of the Huntington school district and its fantastic music department," Mr. Battista said. "Huntington has given me the opportunity to teach incredible students alongside incredible people everyday."
Mr. Battista has taught the percussion methods class at The Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College and was director of the Lawrence Eisman Center for Preparatory Studies in music wind ensemble and percussion ensembles from 1998 to 2001 and from 2004 to 2005. He also enjoys teaching instrumental music at Huntington OOMPAH's summer arts enrichment program.
The road to becoming the conductor for the All-County Division I West band was a challenging one for Mr. Battista. "Woodhull School band teacher Tara Adams was a huge help this summer during my concert program selection process," he said. "I am not too familiar with concert band literature at this level and Mrs. Adams steered me in the right direction."
"I greatly admire Frank's interest in meeting the needs of every child in his program," Ms. Fretz said. "He is constantly working on getting to know each of his students well in order to insure that the program meets their interests and needs. Students are simply captivated by Frank's enthusiasm and humor. He is exceptionally skilled at helping students perform at a very high level of achievement while making every class so much fun. He makes you want to push yourself."
Mr. Battista also adjudicates NYSSMA festivals on Long Island and teaches private percussion lessons. He is currently a member of "Stik Figures Percussion Ensemble," a Long Island based contemporary percussion ensemble He is also the percussionist for the Long Island soul band TNT and the J-Walkers.
Some of Mr. Battista's past performing credits include the PASIC Conference in Orlando Florida, New York City Day of Percussion, the Balanced Mind Conference (2008 – current), NYSBDA (2007), NYSCAME (2010) and the 2010 chamber music series at the Patchogue Theatre.
Mr. Battista has performed with John Bergamo, Ganesh Kumar and the Ethos and Talujon percussion ensembles. He has also been a member of the Long Island Symphonic Winds and regularly performs in local pits and with bands and orchestras.
The Finley teacher said he is "honored to have been chosen as the conductor for this year's All-County band. I look forward to this exciting opportunity to work with some of Nassau County's most talented musicians."