Page 9 - Southington Magazine Holiday 2020 Issue 42
P. 9

 by Cynthia Simms
Jeff Shaw knows a thing or two about music, and more specifically, about sharing his passion for making music.
After graduating from the University of Con- necticut (UConn) with a bachelor’s degree in music education (with a concentration in trumpet, voice and conducting), he received his masters from UConn and completed his 6th year degree at Cen- tral Connecticut State University (CCSU). He then spent 32 years teaching music, with 25 of those years at the helm of the Southington High School (SHS) music department!
During his tenure, Jeff led the award-winning SHS Blue Knights Marching Band, along with the school’s wind ensemble, stage band and orchestra. In those years, he became a legend in town -- in- spiring countless young musi-
cians, connecting with both kids
and their parents, and encourag-
ing numerous future teachers.
In fact, his replacement as head
of the town’s music department,
Sara Ossias, was one of many for-
mer students who were inspired
to pick up a baton!
In addition to building a nationally-recognized march- ing band program, he was in- strumental (pun intended!) in putting together “Music of The Knight,” a competitive field show for marching bands from the Northeast that lives on as the largest band competition in New England.
For those lucky enough to see Jeff’s bands take the stage, it was often hard to believe the perform- ers were high school students and not professional musicians. His pursuit of ensemble excellence, bal- anced with his desire to motivate and inspire each individual student to be his or her best, led to Jeff being recognized as “Teacher of The Year” for the town of Southington.
Of course, as the Southington Music Depart- ment’s reputation grew, Jeff Shaw’s aspirations did, too. He left teaching music in 2015 to lead in a new way - as a vice principal at the high school. But even as he became a respected administrator, music was never far from his heart.
Which brings us to today.
Upon his retirement from public school teach- ing and administration in 2019, Jeff realized that he had never really lost the desire to teach, and to nurture students to grow and excel as musicians. In fact, the desire had become stronger than ever. That’s why these days, you’ll find South- ington’s own “music man” once again inspiring young musicians at The Music Shop on Queen
Street.
Store owner Scott Mulrooney
says that having Jeff’s creative energy and love of music in the store is a true pleasure. “Jeff Shaw has a patience, a passion, and a way of teaching kids that is instinctive and effortless for him. It’s great to watch him in- still his love of music in others, and we feel so lucky to have him as part of our team of amazing teachers.”
 Jeff also developed “Surround
Sound,” an indoor marching mu-
sic experience that brought the
fanfare of a marching band field
show indoors. The extravaganza,
complete with lighting, sound, and theatrics, sold out every performance of every season, and has be- come the model for many other high schools who today continue the marching arts through the off season.
“I wanted to give kids the absolute best high school music experience they could possibly get,” Shaw explained. “I felt it important that the kids understood what it means to have a strong work ethic, and what it takes to have a nationally recog- nized band program.”
Of course, it hasn’t been all marching music for Jeff. The SHS Stage Band was also highly ranked un- der Jeff’s tenure – the group was a national finalist at the Berklee School of Music Jazz Band competi- tion.
SouthingtonMag.com
Jeff Shaw
In addition to teaching in- strumental lessons at The Music Shop, Jeff also plans to develop small jazz, brass and wind performance groups through his work with the store. He will continue to focus on his tried- and-true method of building the student along with
the ensemble.
“It’s exciting to be teaching again,” he explained.
“The Music Shop has been such a strong advocate of Southington’s music scene throughout my teach- ing career, and Scott has been great to work with over the years. I couldn’t be happier about spend- ing my time helping kids to make music again, and I wouldn’t want to do it anywhere else!”
To learn more about Jeff’s new role at The Mu- sic Shop, or to schedule lessons with the legendary teacher, call 860-628-7878, or visit https://music- shopct.com/
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