Music teacher honored by county with her own ‘day’

From left, Legislative Chairman Roy Dimond, County Executive Matt Ossenfort, Stephaine Boice and District 9 Legislator Robert Purtell. Boice, who is Ossenfort’s mother, was honored Tuesday for her impact on students during her 33-year career as a music teacher, as well as her contributions during her retirement. Tuesday was officially named “Stephanie Boice Day.” (The Leader-Herald/Jason Subik)

FONDA — Tuesday was officially named “Stephanie Boice Day” in Montgomery County, after a proclamation by the Montgomery County Legislature recognized her impact as a 33-year veteran music teacher at the Greater Amsterdam School District. Boice was also recently recognized by the New York State Band Directors Association for having received the Outstanding Retired Band Directors Award at the 36th Annual NYSBDA Symposium in Syracuse.

Boice is the mom of Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort.

“You have done so many things to increase the lives of the youth of our community, for as long as I can remember,” District 9 Legislator Robert Purtell said. “My daughter always spoke very highly of you. You were one of her heroes in high school and I know you’re the hero of another gentleman, who you are a very close to. You did a great job raising our county executive and you should be very proud.”

Matt Ossenfort and Stephanie Boice both began to cry as Purtell read some of Boice’s career achievements, including her time serving as director of the Amsterdam Marching Rams, AHS Wind Ensemble, AHS Drama Club; she served as a department curriculum leader at the school district, and continues to teach summer music classes at HFM BOCES. Boice was also the founder and director of the Mohawk Valley Chamber Music Ensemble, featuring both adult and student ensembles, while also organizing and directing “The Winter Showcase,” which features local musicians in the greater Amsterdam area for an annual concert, and has served as the co-director of the annual Rotary Club of Amsterdam Variety Show.

In addition to those accomplishments, Boice is the owner of Boice’s Woodwind Studio, which provides lessons in clarinet, saxophone and flute. She also serves as a woodwind coach for the Empire State Youth Orchestra, middle school chamber music program. Boice performs regularly with groups including the River Valley Ringers of the United Presbyterian Church in Amsterdam, the Johnstown Citizens Band and the Gloversville Civic Band. She has also worked as a guest conductor for select groups from Fulton, Schoharie and Niagara counties, while also serving as a conductor for the NYSSMA Zone 4 Area All-State Band, in 2015.

“I am so glad to have you a part of our community, you’ve done so much,” Purtell said.

The resolution to recognize Boice with a proclamation was co-sponsored by Purtell and Legislative Chairman Roy S. Dimond.

“I’ve pretty much dedicated my life to music and music education especially. Music education is very important in all of our schools,” Boice said. “What I’ve found in retirement is that there’s a lot of music in our community members and that’s what I’ve really enjoyed doing, being a part of Mohawk Valley Chorus has really helped with that.”

Ossenfort spoke about his mother’s dedication to her craft of teaching music.

“Here we are a few years after she retired and I get the call that she’s received the award for the New York state Retired Band Director, which to me wasn’t very surprising because she’s been achieving and going above and beyond all my life, but although people think retirement is the time to relax, I’ve found it’s quite the opposite,” Ossenfort said. “You know, you are who you are and some people grow up in agriculture families, for me, I grew up in a family of music and the arts.”

During the ceremony Kaelee Ossenfort, age one and a half, made her presence known.

“Daddy!” she screamed at the top of her lungs.

Several observers remarked the youngest Ossenfort might well follow her grandmother in a career in music, perhaps as a singer.

By Patricia Older

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