October 22, 2021
Mariann Annecchino Retires as AHA’s Instrumental Music Director
Mariann Annecchino has retired from her post as instrumental music director at the Academy of the Holy Angels. Her 21-year career at the Academy officially came to a close on October 15, and included a final “pop up” concert in the Student Commons.
“It was my goal to bring the joy of making music to as many students as possible, and give them a creative and emotional outlet where they could expand their musical horizons and work toward achieving their musical potential,” Annecchino said.
She added that she has enjoyed working with the Academy’s students and appreciated the professional respect and academic freedom she experienced at AHA.
This multi-talented educator’s many responsibilities at the high school included directing the AHA Orchestra and Handbell Choir. She also led the Select Strings and Jazz Ensemble, both of which she established. She also taught humanities, music appreciation, and instrumental music lessons. Until recently, she was adviser to the Tri-M honor society, a national organization for high school students who excel in music, academics, leadership, and service.
Every fall, Annecchino brought selected AHA musicians to Wilton, Connecticut, to perform at the School Sisters of Notre Dame Donor Recognition Luncheon.
Each March, she played a key role in bringing Music in Our Schools Month® programs to every corner of Holy Angels. Annecchino made a tradition of having the AHA Handbell Choir ring in MIOSM® at the main entrance to the school. In recent years, pop up performances included a ukulele and guitar jam session, jazz renditions of tunes from a beloved movie series, an all-strings “hoedown,” a vocal duo covering ‘80s hits, and much more. When the pandemic halted live programs, Annecchino continued to fill the halls with music by presenting prerecorded performances via computer.
She also found a creative way to allow her music students to continue their lessons, even when AHA closed in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic. Annecchino directed the students to make videos of themselves playing their instruments along with a professional recording. She would then evaluate the final product.
Annecchino is a graduate of Holy Family Academy, an all-girl high school in Bayonne. She was taught by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, who nurtured her love of music through the school’s exceptional music program. She later graduated summa cum laude from Jersey City State College (now New Jersey City University) with a bachelor’s degree in music education. She is a New Jersey certified teacher of music for students in kindergarten through Grade 12.
She furthered her education by studying general music methods at Columbia University, Suzuki methods at Hart College of Music, and advanced courses at Westminster Choir College of Rider University. Annecchino has also taken various extension courses in music education and pedagogy.
“I have always believed it important for me to continue learning and growing, both as a musician and as a music educator,” Annecchino noted. “I have taught strings, orchestra, band, stage band, general music, and vocal music in several public school systems, including the North Bergen Public Schools, Governor Livingston Regional High School, and Tenafly Middle School, and have given a number of workshops for both students and educators.”
Annecchino is a member of several professional organizations for music educators, including the Music Educators of Bergen County, Inc., the North Jersey School Music Association, and the National Association for Music Education. She has regularly sponsored qualified instrumentalists for the honors ensembles offered by these organizations.
“I play both violin and viola as a freelance performer, and am currently on the board of directors for The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra,” she shared.
Earlier this year, Annecchino retired as director of the Children’s Choir at Sacred Heart Church in Haworth, a post she had held for approximately 30 years.
Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds.