The Darien Public School Music Department


The Music Department in the Darien Public Schools is a comprehensive standards-based program of sequential musical study that delivers quality music education services to all of the students in grades K- 8 (3,436 students) and to approximately 300 students at Darien High School who participate in one of the performing ensembles (Band, Orchestra, Chorus, Jazz Ensemble), Music Theory, AP Music Theory or Music Technology I or II.  Adaptive Music instruction is also an important part of the curriculum for the students in the ELP program at Hindley. Ox Ridge and Tokeneke schools, the TLC at Ox Ridge School and at DHS and MMS. A total of 1, 200 students in the Darien Public Schools participate in the Instrumental Music program (Band and Strings in grades 3-12) and the number of Choral students in the district has grown to 970 students in grades 4-12 for the 2016- 2017 school year.  A total of 2,145 students or 59% of all 3-12 students in the Darien Public Schools participate in a choral ensemble, an instrumental ensemble or both.

Programs such as the Darien Young Composers Concert program, district-wide common assessments, standards-based curriculum, elementary band, orchestra and chorus honors ensembles, the district-wide annual curricular focus theme, enrichment programs of live music in the schools sponsored by the Darien Music for Youth organization, multiple performance opportunities for students in the district, the state and throughout the United States, the Annual All-Town Music Festivals, honors level high school ensembles and an emphasis placed on creating original music in our music curriculum continue to offer exceptional opportunities for students to realize their musical potential in our district.

Richard Sadlon, Director of Music, 203-655-3981 ext: 2329  

Music Department Philosophy

Darien Public Schools Music Department


Music is an art form based on creating, performing and responding where one's enjoyment increases exponentially with one's understanding.

Music offers unique learning opportunities to explore individual creativity, artistic expression and a more in-depth understanding of past and present cultures in our diverse global community.

A comprehensive music education based on developing artistically literate individuals will enable students to make more informed aesthetic choices, develop their musical abilities through self-discipline and focus, and will provide a vehicle to increase their confidence in learning across the entire curriculum.

We believe that all students should have a comprehensive, balanced, sequential curriculum of in-school instruction in music education in accordance with national, state and local standards, and that an education in music and the arts will develop the life-long learning abilities and aesthetic skills necessary to improve the quality of life in a more cultured, educated society.


Music Department Concert Calendar

Darien Public Schools


Richard D. Sadlon, Director

Music Department Concert Calendar for 2018-2019 


October 22

DHS Chorus Night Concert (MMS Camerata & Grade 8 Chorus)

7:00 P.M.

October 25

DHS Band Concert

7:00 P.M.

October 29

DHS Orchestra Night Concert (MMS Gr. 8 Orchestra)

7:00 P.M.

November 15-17

Theater 308 Production DHS Auditorium

7:00 P.M

December 3

Middlesex Winter Choral Concert at DHS

Grade 6, 7 Choruses at 6:30 p.m.,Grade 8 Chorus & Camerata  at 8:00 p.m.

6:30 P.M

8:00 P.M.

December 5

MMS Orchestra Winter Concert

        7:00 P.M.

December 6

Middlesex Bands Winter Concert at DHS

7:00 P.M.

December 10       

Tokeneke Holiday Concert

9:15 A.M.

December 11

Holmes Holiday Concert

9:30 A.M.

December 12

DHS Holiday Spectrum Concert (Bands, Orchestras, Choruses, Jazz Ensemble and Rockestra) Snow date 12/13

         7:00 P.M.

December 13

Ox Ridge Holiday Concert

9:45 A.M.

December 14

Hindley Holiday Concert 

9:30 A.M.

December 18

Royle Holiday Concert

9:15 A.M.

January 11-12

CMEA Western Region HS Festival at Greenwich HS


January 31-Feb. 2

Middlesex Theater Production at MMS Auditorium, Sat. Matinee Feb. 2

7:00 P.M.

February 6

Sweet Night of Jazz (DHS,,MMS,5-6 Jazz Ens.) Location: MMS Cafeteria  (Snowdate: Feb. 13)

7:00 P.M.

February 28

DHS Bands-Winter Concert with MMS Grade 8 Band (Snow date 3/5)

7:00 P.M.

March 1

DHS Invitational Jazz Jamboree Festival at DHS Auditorium


March 13 

All-Town Orchestra Festival: two seatings: 6:30 & 8:00 P.M. at DHS Main Gym (day rehearsal) (Snow date: March 14)

        6:30 P.M.                8:00 P.M.

March 21-23, 28-30

DHS Theater 308 Spring Musical (specific show times TBD)

        7:00 P.M.

April 9

Darien Young Composers Concert

Elementary 6:30pm, MMS & DHS 7:30pm

6:30 P.M.

7:30 P.M.

April 11-13

CMEA All-State Festival and Conference-Hartford, CT Conference Center


April 29

DHS Spring Choral Concert at DHS

7:00 P.M.

May 1

DHS Spring Orchestra Concert at DHS

7:30 P.M.

May 2

DHS Spring Band & Jazz Ensemble Concert at DHS

7:00 P.M.

May 6

MMS Spring Choral Concerts at DHS

Grade 6,7 & Viva Voce 6:30 pm Gr.8, Camerata 8:00 p.m. 

6:30 P.M.

8:00 P.M.

May 8

MMS Spring Orchestras Concert at DHS

7:00 P.M.

May 9

MMS  Spring Bands Concert at DHS

7:00 P.M.

May 15*

Royle Spring Concert at DHS

7:00 P.M.

May 16**

Tokeneke Spring Concert at DHS

7:00 P.M.

May 13***

Ox Ridge Spring Concert at DHS

7:00 P.M.

May 21****

Hindley Spring Concert at DHS

7:00 P.M.

May 22*****

Holmes Spring Concert at DHS

7:00 P.M.

May 27

DHS Band Memorial Day Parade

 10:00 A.M.

May 30

DHS Small Ensemble Concert at DHS

7:00 P.M.


May 15*                  Royle Rehearsal at DHS                  1:00 –3:00 P.M.

May 16**                Tokeneke Rehearsal at DHS            1:00 - 3:00 P.M.

May 13***              Ox Ridge Rehearsal at DHS             1:30 – 3:30 P.M.

May 21****            Hindley Rehearsal at DHS                1:00 – 3:00 P.M.

May 22*****          Holmes Rehearsal at DHS                1:30 – 3:30 P.M.

Music Staff Contact Information

Richard Sadlon, Director of Music, 203-655-3981 ext: 2329

James Allen, Ox Ridge Elementary, General Music/Chorus, 203-655-2579 ext: 4696

Christopher Andrade, Darien High School, Chorus, Tudors and Music Tech, 203-655-3981 ext: 2201

Brendon Babbin, Middlesex Middle School, Grade 7 Band, Music Explorations, 203-655-2518 ext: 3209

James Carter, Middlesex Middle School, Grade 8 Band, Jazz, and Music Tech.  203-655-2518 ext: 3408

Krista DiPietro, Holmes & Hindley Elementary Band and Strings, Holmes: 203-353-4371 ext: 4431  Hindley: 203-655-1323 ext: 4296

Jonathan Grauer, Darien High School, Band, Jazz Ensemble, and Music Theory. 203-655-3981 ext:2355

Dawn Hanley, Hindley, Tokeneke & Holmes Elementary Strings, Hindley: 203-655-1323 ext: 4296, Holmes: 203-353-4371 ext: 4431  Tokeneke: 203-655-9666 ext: 4006

Stacie Klein District Music Office Secretary, 203-655-3981 ext: 2250

Katharine Knapp, Hindley Elementary, General Music and Chorus, 203-655-1323 ext: 4294

Ruth Lettera, General Music, Hindley, Tokeneke, Royle, & ELP, Hindley: 203-655-1323 ext: 4234  Tokeneke: 203-655-9666 ext: 4142, Royle: 203-655-0044 ext: 4892

Angela Lindroth, Holmes Elementary, General Music/Chorus,  203-353-4371 ext: 4482

Jane Minnis, Darien HS Strings, Pops Strings, Royle Strings, Darien HS 203-655’3981 ext: 2287, Royle Elementary: 203-655-0044 ext: 4906

Tom O’Donnell, Middlesex Middle School Choral, Music Exploration, 203-655-2518  ext: 3259

Rebecca Parnoff, Tokeneke School, General Music and Chorus. 203-655-9666 ext: 4142

Gretchen Perrett, Middlesex Middle School, Grade 6 Band, Music Exploration 7, 203-655-2518  ext: 3409

Kimberly Sadler, Middlesex Middle School, Choral, 203-655-2518 ext: 3212

Austin Scelzo, Middlesex Middle School, Strings/Rockestra, 203-655-3981 ext:3485

Dylan Spielvogel, Ox Ridge Strings, Middlesex Middle School String and Music Explorations, Ox Ridge: 203-655-2579 ext: 4697  Middlesex: 655-2518 ext: 3319    blog:

Kathleen Theisen, Royle Elementary, General Music/Chorus, 203-655-0044 ext: 4892

Kristen Turkosz, General Music, Holmes, Ox Ridge, & ELP, Holmes: 203-353-4371 ext: 4482, Ox Ridge: 203-655-2579 ext: 4696

Colin Walters, Elementary Band, Ox Ridge, Royle, Tokeneke, Ox Ridge: 203-655-2579 ext: 4697, Royle: 203-655-0044 ext: 4893, Tokeneke: 203-655-9666 ext: 4006

Curricular Focus Theme

The Darien Music Department Annual Curricular Focus Theme


 Each year, the Darien Music Department in grades K-12, devotes Professional Development time and resources to learning more about a specified historical period, composer, artistic work or aspect of music history in order to promote a more focused, in-depth study of a relevant topic for the entire Darien teaching and learning community.

 Our ultimate goal is that all of the students in the Darien Public Schools (PK-12) will engage in meaningful musical activities that lead toward a deeper understanding of our culture and history.

 Collaborations with the organizations outside of the school district also provide additional opportunities for live musical performances and cultural enrichment programs in the schools to support this curricular focus theme.  This annual project offers opportunities that encourage interdisciplinary connections, create meaningful, life-long learning experiences and provide a platform for real-world connections for our students and teachers.

                         Past Curricular Focus Themes:


               2004-2005                            Duke Ellington

               2005-2006                            The Music of Latin America

               2006-2007                            Music in the Media

               2007-2008                            Patriotic Music

               2008-2009                            The Music of George Gershwin

               2009-2010                            Music from East Asia

               2010 -2011                           The History of Rock

               2011-2012                            Bach to the Future

               2012-2013                            American Folk Music

               2013-2014                            The History of the Broadway Musical

               2014-2015                            Music of the Silver Screen: The History Movie Music

               2015-2016                            Voices of Freedom: The American Spiritual

               2016-2017                            Mozart and Friends: Music of the Classical Period

               2017-2018                            The Music of Russia!

               2018-2019                            The Music of Leonard Bernstein: 100 Years!



Concert Videos

Check out the Darien Public Schools School Concert channel on our video server.

The Darien All-Town Band Festival, March 1, 2018:

The Darien Young Composers Concert, April 4, 2018




Music Curriculum Documents

Grade 5-6 Jazz Lab

Welcome to the Darien 5-6 Jazz Lab!!

This exciting opportunity is open to all students in grades 5 & 6 currently enrolled in their school Band ensemble with exceptions made for a limited number of piano, bass and guitar students. This opportunity is open to students who play all band instruments, piano, bass, guitar and drum set.

Students will be performing music in the jazz, pop and rock styles and will develop skills in improvising and creating and performing their own original music. This ensemble will be taught by Darien Public Schools’ Elementary Band teacher, Mr. Colin Walters, and will be assisted by members of the award winning Darien High School Jazz Ensemble.

This ensemble will meet every Thursday from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the Darien High School Orchestra Room , 80 High School Lane.  Depending on the response for this new opportunity, enrollment may be limited so please respond by promptly returning the form below to: Colin Walters, Ox Ridge School 395 Mansfield Avenue, Darien, CT 06820 or email to:   by Friday, October 12 in order to assure participation. The first rehearsal is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 18. If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Walters or Director of Music, Rick Sadlon at:  or 203-655-3981 ext: 2329

Use the sign up link:

Name  :                                                                       Grade:

Instrument:                                                                 School:

Parent’s email:                                                            Parent’s Phone #:

Address:                                                                      Student’s Band Director:

I understand that attendance at all 5-6 Jazz Lab Band scheduled rehearsals is expected and that I will provide transportations to and from rehearsals. (more detailed information will be forthcoming)

Parent signature _____________

The Darien 5-6 Jazz Lab

Rehearsal/Performance Dates 2018-2019

(All rehearsals are on Thursdays from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. in the Orchestra Room (F023) at Darien High School School unless otherwise noted)

October 18 (first rehearsal)

October 25

November 1

November 8

November 15

December 29

December 6

December 13 - Special “showcase” performance for parents 4:30 - 5:00 p.m. DHS Orchestra Room

January 3

January 10

January 17

January 24

January 31

February 6 Performance at “Sweet Night of Jazz” 7:00 p.m. Location: Middlesex Cafeteria - Details are forthcoming



Darien Young Composers Concert

     Video of the 2018 Darien Young Composers Concert:


                   ATTENTION YOUNG COMPOSERS !!!  

The Music Department of the Darien Public Schools will be sponsoring our 19th annual Darien Young Composers Concert on April 9, 2019 at 6:30 PM for grades K-5 and 7:30 PM for grades 6-12 in the Darien High School auditorium. This program is open to all students currently enrolled in the Darien Public Schools.


Please read the guidelines below and speak to your school Music teacher about what is required.  We are all looking forward to hearing your music and featuring it on this special concert.   Good Luck!!


Guidelines and Rules


1. All compositions must be primarily student created and notated, but may have the guidance of a music teacher, parent or other knowledgeable music person.  For your information and planning, the "Composition Assessment Form" explaining the judging criteria should accompany this form. Please read it carefully.

 2. The concert will feature compositions that equally represent students from the Darien Public Schools at the Elementary School, Middle School and High School levels.

 3. A  DVD, CD or link of a live recording and a copy of the written representation(see your teacher) of your composition must be submitted to your school music teacher on or before Friday, March 15, 2019  A committee will then review the compositions and notify the students who are accepted for the concert performance.

 4. All composers must be involved in the final presentation of their composition.

Selected participants are expected to be present for the Young Composers Concert on April 9.

Specific details will be announced to selected participants after March 21.

Please TYPE or clearly print all of the information located on the next page and submit it with a recording (one composition per recording) of your composition and a copy of the written score to your school Music teacher on or before March 15, 2019. 

Submission Form: Darien Young Composers Concert – April 9, 2019  Please Print Clearly or Type:

Name(s):_______________________________ Parent's Phone #_____________________School:________________________________ Age: __________________________

Parents email address: _____________________________________________

Students Home email address (if applicable): ________________________________

Music Teacher(s):_________________________Grade:_____________________

Name of Composition: ________________________________________________ 

Approximate length____ (max. 6 minutes)

What is your performance medium?  (Example: voice and piano or trumpet, flute duet, etc.) 

 Important: On the back of this form or on another piece of paper, explain your composition or the process used in creating your composition using musical terminology. (Ask your teacher if you have any questions).



Grade 8 to 9 FAQs

Participation in Music at the High School level will enhance the entire high school experience by providing life-long experiences and opportunities that only the arts can provide. Students develop musical skills as well as interpersonal and teamwork skills and will become part of a social network of students and teachers. Below are some frequently asked questions regarding incoming freshmen Music students.


Q.  If I take Band, Orchestra and Chorus, will I be able to take other electives?

A. Yes, the students currently enrolled in music ensembles are taking electives in all other areas including art, drama, video, business courses, and other AP academic courses.

Q.  What are my music course options as a freshman at Darien High School?

A.   As a freshman, students have the option of signing up to participate in Concert Band, Concert Choir, Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, Music Theory or Music Technology I.

Q.  I would like to continue my music, but I have too many electives choices and was told that I need to schedule a study hall. How can we work this out?

A.  We have found that in many cases, students felt that they did not necessarily need the one period study hall during the day and would rather have participated in a music ensemble and kept their musical progress and experiences going with their friends instead of being in a study hall.  This is an individual choice that students and parents may need to make with their guidance counselors and music teachers.

Q.  Can I play a sport if I am in a Music Ensemble?

A.  Yes! Students in all of our music ensembles are also active participants in almost all varsity sports including cheerleading. We even have band, orchestra and chorus members on almost all varsity sports teams.  We believe that all of these life experiences are beneficial to our students at Darien HS and will work with students to enable them to continue their participation in our music program at the high school level.

Q.  What are my after school commitments when I am in Band, Orchestra or Chorus?

A.  The only out of school commitments for Orchestra and Chorus are 2-3 formal evening concerts per year. In addition to the 2-3 formal evening concerts, the band members have the option of performing in the Blue Wave Band for Saturday afternoon home football games. Football game performances are optional and not required. The band also participates in the Darien Memorial Day Parade.  Participation in any other performance opportunities or band trips is optional.

Q.  If I am an 8th percussionist, what ensemble should I sign up for? 

A.  If you are currently an 8th grade percussionist and are planning on continuing in Band at DHS, you should sign up for Percussion Ensemble. As of January 2019, all percussion students in grades 9-12 who are not in Wind Ensemble should sign up for Percussion Ensemble. The Percussion Ensemble will perform on Band Concerts as a separate ensemble and will also perform as the percussion section with the Concert Band. This allows our percussion students to receive more individualized instruction on all of the percussion instruments while still being involved in the DHS Band program. If a percussion student wishes to participate in both Band and Chorus, they will still need to sign up for Concert Band and will split their time between Band and Chorus with the teachers.

Q.  How can I participate in the Jazz Ensemble or Pops Strings ensembles?

A.  Participation in all of our smaller ensembles is by audition only. These ensembles are  open for all students in grades 9-12 and auditions are announced in the fall. Pops Strings meets on Thursday evening from 6:30 -8:00 p.m.and Jazz Ensemble meets on Thursday evenings from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. These ensembles require an extra commitment of the students and have increased performance opportunities during the school year.

Q. Can I be in both and instrumental ensemble like Band or Orchestra and still be involved in Chorus?

A. Yes! There are many opportunities to play your instrument and sing at Darien High School. Some of our students work out a schedule with their teachers that allows them to alternate between an instrumental and vocal ensemble. Permission of the instructors is required.  Some students even play in band or orchestra and then sing, act and dance in the annual DHS Musical.

 Q. Do the Darien High School Music groups travel and perform outside of Darien High School?

A.  Yes, our ensembles have a history and reputation of performing music on a high level and there will be opportunities for students to participate in performances that take place in the community, throughout Connecticut, around the United States and even abroad. Our music students have performed at Carnegie Hall, Boston, Washington DC, Disneyworld and Disneyland/California, Hawaii, Bermuda, and in Italy.  All of these travel performance opportunities are presented as voluntary options to students and are not a requirement of course participation. We have found that these travel opportunities  enhance the total high school music ensemble experience and create life-long memories for our students.

Q.  If my ninth grade schedule is full, can I take Band, Orchestra or Chorus as a Sophomore?

A. Yes! However, we have found that music students who do not perform in an ensemble during their freshmen year, rarely reenter the program later in their high school careers. If you are thinking about possibly being in a performing ensemble in high school, our recommendation would be to give it a try in your freshmen year and see how you like it. We have an over 90% student retention rate in our ensembles from year to year, so the chances are, if you give it a try in grade 9, you will continue performing and enjoying music throughout your years in high school creating life long memories.

This is your chance to become a member of our outstanding musical family at Darien High School. We think that we have the best students at Darien High School in our Music ensembles and look forward to having you join us.

We currently have about 25% of all of the students at Darien High School participating in our music courses. There are many academic and life-long benefits from including music as part of a student’s life during their high school years at Darien High School. For more information or to discuss your individual situation, please contact the Director of Music, Richard Sadlon, at: or 203-655-3981 ext: 2329. Visit our website to become more familiar with all of the Music Department opportunities at:


For News and Information Subscribe to Our Music Department Blog

For the latest news and information, subscribe to our Music Department Blog at:


Music for Youth 2018 Donation Form

Music for Youth Contest Forms

Music for Youth Elementary Poster Contest Form:

Music for Youth Middlesex Middle School Poster and Writing Contest Form:

Music for Youth Darien High School Poster, Writing and Music Composition Form:

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