Sue Rabinoff Pellegrino I can just hear my mom (in my head) talking about Normie. Oh, how we loved him in our house. Mr. Speiser was my music teacher and several years after graduation, it was his band that played at my first wedding. I wish I had a photo of that!
Ira Jay Krulik Our very own “Mr. Holland”. He was inspirational.
Wendy Equality Guida Mr. Speiser was the ideal chorus teacher. I sang in the Mixed Chorus and in the Madrigal Chorus from 1980-83. He selected (and sometimes arranged himself) such beautiful and challenging pieces for us to sing. "How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place" - "The Hallelujah Chorus" - "What I Did for Love" – “How Deep Is Your Love” - “Ride the Chariot” – “Oh Danny Boy” – “The Silver Swan” – “The Echo Song” – “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” - and of course our beloved Alma Mater.
Mr. Speiser was funny in class, but about the music he was dead serious, and he demanded our best. I remember him telling us that we must NEVER take our eyes off him during a performance and that he had roving photographers who would take pictures during concerts. If our eyes were photographed looking in any other direction, we would be penalized severely. I actually have no idea what the penalty would have been, as I kept my eyes glued to his face, awaiting direction.
Concerts are such intimate experiences for a chorus and a conductor. I don’t know if it is the same for a band or an orchestra, but that communication that passes back and forth is like no other relationship. Mr. Speiser could make us laugh with a look or a gesture and then pull from us the most glorious music. I remember feeling once, while singing “The Hallelujah Chorus,” that I was going to levitate from the sound waves around me. It’s such a physical experience to sing, to make music with your voice; to share that with the singers around you and a conductor like Mr. Speiser was a transcendent experience.
Thank you, Mr. Speiser, for the love you showed us, the inspiration, and for the music.
Elizabeth Perez Quigley Mr Speiser was my one of my favorite teachers. I was in chorus 1979-1982. I recall that he LOVED Barry Manilow songs (I can’t think of Barry Manilow without thinking of Mr Speiser, and vice versa). To this day, when I hear Hallelujah, I can still sing all the harmonies we sang in the alto section. His classes were so much fun; great memories.
Jean Alice One of my favorite teachers. I took guitar with him. I remember that I dropped my guitar pic in my guitar and he had to fish it out for me.
Nancy Rose Androphy Ironically, I was living on Long Island in the same town as Mr. Speiser, East Meadow, for many years before I realized he lived here, too! My husband actually officiated at his son's wedding, but did not mention the name to me, so I had no idea! He moved to Florida some time ago.
Diana Quevedo-Gouldsbury Mixed chorus class of ‘89...wonderful teacher ..great memories, fantastic arrangements..my brother & I still remember them ....Quevedos 1&2
Stanley Chris Beckwith In Mixed Chorus, I sat in the front row, middle aisle seat, Tenor section, 1985-89. Made me an involuntary target for jokes. Oh yeah, I was also flanked by stars of that time (Emmanuel Lewis) and the future (Wentworth Miller).
Marco Laganà Mr. Goldstein sent me to Chorus a good couple of weeks after the term had started (I was already in band & orchestra). Needless to say Mr. Speiser was not thrilled with being told who was going to be in HIS chorus. He proceeded to audition me in front of the chorus with (if I recall correctly) some pretty tough arpeggios. Well, I must have rocked because he looked at me, gave a simple nod of his head and said nothing more than “take a seat”. I’ve had nothing but THE BEST music teachers in my life from JHS through college...including Mr. Speiser.
Nancy Rose Androphy I never ate in the cafeteria because I always ate it during Girls' Chorus with Mr. Speiser for 3 years until I graduated in June 1969! I was an alto, and Rowey (Rose) Weiss played piano for us. We always enjoyed our rehearsals.
Ross Brady Mixed Chorus, intermediate Chorus, guitar, Dean. Felt like a friend, but most importantly a teacher.
Robin Levine-Wissing During my junior year I was in Chorus, Band, and Orchestra. Mr. Goldstein (band director) walked into the chorus room for some reason and Mr. Speiser said to him about me "we are sharing Robin next year", meaning I would have to sing during concerts and get up from my band seat a few times. It actually was a good laugh but in today's world can you imagine that comment now?
Lawrence Kales Nice guy and very down to earth. Mr Speiser was totally dedicated to the student
Dee Cee What a wonderful enlightening experience I had in the mixed chorus under Bella Tillis and his tutelage.
Abby K Castillo Awww so glad there is a tribute to Mr. Speiser. I remember singing to him to cheer him up.
Vern Hoston One of my favorite teachers! He’s a good dude!
Alan Meyerson Norman, you handsome devil
Marcelino I. Lake II Great teacher
Thomas Mason Hello Mr. S........from your political debate partner. Class of 84'
Christina Butler-Rodney One of my favorite teachers
Jim Kelly Was my music teacher back in 1978...I had problems with the guitar, he had patience with me though...
Cindy Sweberg Kleiman Hello Mr. Speiser from a Girls' Chorus member, ca 1971-74- great memories!