A big congratulations was extended to April Carere, who was recently honored by Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director and Conductor JoAnn Falletta at the Celebration of Music Education Awards in May.
Carere, who has been teaching instrumental music in the North Tonawanda City School District for 20 years, received the BPO/Niagara County Music Educators Association Award for Excellence in Music Education. This award honors exceptional music educators for their contributions in fostering musical growth in their students and enhancing Niagara County music programs.
Carere said she decided to start teaching after some encouragement from a friend and other music teachers.
“I stayed home for 16 years with my children and I decided to finish my graduate degree and I traveled back and forth every other day to Fredonia while my three kids were in high school, middle school and elementary school and my husband was traveling all around the country with the Amherst Saxophone Quartet. I was determined,” Carere said.
She also credited her teachers from the Niagara-Wheatfield CSD, when she was in junior and senior high school, for making her inspired and encouraged to reach for her dreams.
“I owe them so much,” she said.
She said community involvement and music education advocacy is a driving force in her life. In 2004, she created North Tonawanda’s All City Band program incorporating all five elementary schools in the district. The “Remember Ryan Recital” has become a beloved tradition, resulting from Carere’s 10-year collaboration as a grant recipient with the Remember Ryan Foundation. This year’s performance premiered a commissioned piece for her Intermediate School Band.
In 2012, she co-founded and implemented a summer honors band program, which now includes over 400 students from various Niagara County schools and grows each year. She was also recognized by the North Tonawanda CSD in 2017 when she was inducted in the North Tonawanda Visual and Performing Arts Wall of Fame. She is also a dedicated member of NafME, NYSSMA and NYSBDA.
Music is a tradition and a way of life in the Carere family. Her husband, Russ Carere, is a musician and composer. They own and operate the Carere Music Studio together and have been private woodwind instructors for decades. She also has three children, who are also music educators who teach in Niagara and Erie County public schools.
“I am so honored to have the opportunity to bring music into children’s lives every day,” she said. “I was thrilled, amazed and astonished when I heard that I had received this award. I am normally the person who tells the person they had won that award and then presenting that award. My three kids were there and so many friends and colleagues from the whole Western New York area. It was surreal. It was so nice to be part of that.”
She added that what she likes best about being a teacher is, “About making a difference. I see students have gone on to high school or gone on farther and they’ll always remember something no matter how small it. Some of them still continue to play music and stayed in the arts. To me, it is the connections. It is a real connection you get through music. It is really special. It is not separate thing in my life. That is what it is like with my family. It is just who we are. I am proud to be a teacher. It is a terrific profession.”