Westhill Music Department



The Westhill Central School District (Syracuse, NY) has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

The Best Communities Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.

Districts that have been recognized by the NAMM Foundation are often held up as models for other educators looking to boost their own music education programs.

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, school districts answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs.

Music at Westhill

The Westhill Music Department supports our District's students as they cultivate a love for and enjoyment of music through singing, performing on instruments, movement, music creation, listening, and exploring musical technology in classes and ensembles, and also by serving the school and greater community through their music-making. The study of music is an integral part of the intellectual, physical, social, and emotional growth of each child and is a powerful force in and vital aspect of the entire Westhill curriculum.

All Westhill elementary students study music as a part of their weekly curriculum and all students in grades 3-12 are encouraged to participate in Westhill's myriad performing organizations that include: chorus (starting in third grade); band (starting in fifth grade); select choirs, musical theater, jazz ensembles, and pep bands at the middle and high school level; and high school pit band and percussion ensemble. More than 250 students also perform in chamber music ensembles that are featured at the "Small Ensembles" concert each May. Many students participate in both band and chorus during the school day throughout their Westhill career.

Our Westhill musicians represent the district in every possible honor music ensemble across Central New York, and our ensembles have won accolades across the country including at festivals in New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Orlando, Tampa, Chicago, Baltimore/Annapolis, and Pigeon Forge, TN. Our student-musicians are not only accomplished music-makers, but also excel in academics, represent Westhill on every available District athletic team at all levels of competitiveness, and also serve the community with their exceptional spirit of volunteerism.

The Westhill community supports our music education program by filling our performing spaces to capacity at concerts and by enthusiastically welcoming our student-musician performances at academic events, ceremonies, athletic contests, and celebrations across the district. Community members actively speak of their pride in the program, approve yearly budgets and music-centric capital projects, and encourage generations of family members to take part in the Music Department at Westhill.

Westhill Music Faculty

  • Mr. Joseph Buchmann (jbuchmann@westhillschools.org) Westhill High School: Concert Choir, Select Vocal Ensembles, Vocal Lessons

  • Mrs. Elizabeth Buell (ebuell@westhillschools.org), Onondaga Hill Middle School: Sixth Grade Band, 7th/8th Grade Bands, 6-8 Woodwind Lessons, Jazz & Pep Bands, Small Ensembles (6-8)

  • Mrs. Danielle Cieply (dcieply@westhillschools.org), Onondaga Hill Middle School, General Music 5-6, Chorus 5-8, Select Vocal Ensembles, Musical Theater

  • Mrs. Sarah Colaluca (scolaluca@westhillschools.org), Walberta Park School and Cherry Road School: General Music K-4, Chorus 3-4

  • Mr. Corey Riley (criley@westhillschools.org), Westhill High School: Onondaga Hill Middle School and Westhill High School: Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble, Chamber Music, Brass and Percussion Lessons, Music Theory

  • Mrs. Erin Tapia (etapia@westhillschools.org), Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Jazz Lab, Percussion Ensemble, Pep Band, Pit Band, Chamber Music, Woodwind and Percussion Lessons; Advisor: Tri-M National Honor Society for Music

  • Mr. Brendan Van Epps (bvanepps@westhillschools.org), Onondaga Hill Middle School: Fifth Grade Beginning Band and Small Group Lessons

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