New Era for the Weedsport Music Department


Mr. Veiga teaches bass guitar to a recent music class.

Lizzie Meyer, Staff Writer

Over the past few years, the music program has grown immensely. Mr. Franco was a big part in this growth, creating new classes, music festivals, and directing the high school musicals. The 2017-2018 school year was Franco’s last year at Weedsport, and his departure left a lot of students unsure as to what would happen with all of the things Franco created – and the direction of the music department in general.
Mr. Veiga has taken the spot of the new music teacher for the 2018-2019 school year, and many students are curious as to what he will do with the program. Veiga has to take on a lot of different things coming to Weedsport, from new students to classes with not much guidance because they were made up by Franco. Recently, The Johnny Green talked to him to find out some of the answers to the questions students have about the future of the music department.
We started out by asking him how Weedsport is different than the school he taught at before, Southern Cayuga, and he said that it was just “a lot of little things.” Veiga told us that both of the schools are very similar to one another and that everyone at Weedsport has been very welcoming to him. He also said that he likes small, tight-knit groups, where everyone knows everyone and we’re all very supportive of what the people around us are doing. In terms of the music program, he let us know that he and Franco had been talking a lot over the past few years about what each of them were doing with their classes, and that they were actually quite different. He mentioned that Franco, “Had more resources to create classes centered around emerging ensembles, while I had more (resources) centered around electric composition,” when it came to the classes they teach. Despite these differences, Veiga said that he, “had a pretty good understanding of how Franco ran his classroom,” so it wasn’t too hard to transition into the different types of classes.
Building off of that, we asked him what direction he plans to take with the music program, and he said that he wants to keep it relatively the same as how Franco has been running things. Veiga knows that a lot of students liked Franco and the way he conducted his classes, so he wants to keep things going the way Franco had them. We also asked what improvements he wanted to make to the music program in terms of equipment, and he said there wasn’t much he would add. Veiga said, “I feel like all of the equipment has kind of accumulated over the years as the older stuff was replaced with new stuff, and that’s how I’m going to do it too.” Veiga said that as his time working at this school goes on, he plans to slowly get new equipment as it’s needed, but that what we have now is already good. We asked Veiga if there were any classes he has had to change this year, and he said that the audio production class was the main one. He said that this is the first year this class has been offered, and Franco made it up. Veiga had to pretty much make up the class, trying to stay within Franco’s vision of what it would be.
We finished off the interview by asking Veiga what he was planning on doing with Mayfest when the time comes, and he said that he is going to try his best to make it as close as possible to how it’s been done in the past. He told us that at first he was considering doing it at the school, but said, “I wouldn’t do this without speaking with the students that would make up the performing ensembles.” There were a few reasons that Veiga had originally thought about doing Mayfest at the school, one being the people. He wanted to make it more accessible to everyone because a lot of students can’t get a ride out to Auburn and a lot of parents might not have the time to get to Auburn. He also figured that since there are three perfectly good stages in the school and that’s the amount of stages we have access to at Auburn Public Theater, there was really no point in moving everything out of the school, which was the third reason he was going to do it at the school. It’s always a hassle to move all the instruments, stands, and other equipment over to the theater, especially considering they would have to do it all in one day because for all the days leading up to the festival, the performers still need all of those things to practice with. Despite all of this, Veiga has decided to contact Auburn Public Theater to talk about renting out the theater for Mayfest, saying, “I don’t necessarily care either way where we have it. It will be up to the students.”
A lot of students say that they like Veiga and the way he teaches. They like that he is involved with his students and is an easy person to talk to and just have a conversation with. Despite this, there are some students who say it’s taking them some time to adjust to having a new music teacher, but that they really like Veiga and are excited to work with him for the rest of the year and hopefully for many years to come.