Alumni Spotlight – Kevin Gorman

By Meet CVSM

When did you attend CVSM and who were your teachers?

My first class at CVSM was Musikgarten with Susan Whitelock when I about was 4.  Afterward, my parents enrolled me in piano lessons with Bob Parini. Marie Hershey and Brian Helman then became my teachers.

Where do you currently live and what do you do?

I’m back in Franklin County teaching at CVSM and Dickinson College. I’ve undertaken a recording project of the complete piano sonatas of William Bland (a former CVSM instructor) which has one CD out so far on Bridge Records. I am also the church musician at St. Andrew’s Episcopal in Shippensburg.

Do you still participate in music activities?

That’s literally my life!

What is your best/favorite memory of your time at CVSM?

In my senior year of high school, Brian (Helman( prepared me for my college auditions, which required over an hour of solo repertoire, memorized, and playing to the best of my abilities. That level of preparation eventually became the norm in my undergrad and graduate work but was not at all the norm when I was a teenager. It was an intense time for me, the first time music and piano really became the main focus of my life, and I was beyond fortunate to have Brian as a teacher during that time.

What are three words to describe CVSM?

Musical, creative, and fun!

What was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

My first job was washing dishes at the Cracker Barrel on Wayne Avenue. I think I lasted 2 weeks.

If you could instantly have any talent, what would it be?

To be able to sing, then I wouldn’t have to play the piano! 😉

What is one thing you can’t live without?

Worcestershire sauce

In what places have you lived?

Born in Chambersburg, PA, moved to Potsdam, N.Y. for undergrad, then to Montreal, QC.

What is your favorite quote?

“Life is a gift”

Donor Spotlight – Gene & Sally Herritt

By Meet CVSM

Gene is originally from the Williamsport, PA, area with a BS in Education from Clarion and an MEd in Reading from Shippensburg. Sally was born and raised in Chambersburg, then moved to Shippensburg when they got married. They have a daughter, Andi, and a grandson, Lyric. Sally retired as Executive Director of Chambersburg Community Theatre (CCT) after 25 years but continues to volunteer & perform with the group.

Sally is a singer, having studied voice with Peg Weeks as a teenager, and with Marjorie Hirsch at Juniata College. She continues to perform in her church choir and, when available, with the Mercersburg Area Community Chorus, as well as being an independent performer.

Sally knew Meagan Boozer from Chambersburg Community Theatre prior to the opening of CVSM, so she has known about the school from the beginning. Gene was first introduced to CVSM when someone mentioned they were looking for a board member and knew that he had experience with serving on non-profit boards.  Watching students perform and grow as a result of their experience with CVSM made him feel as if a non-talented person like him can still contribute to the arts.

Three words to describe CVSM: Gene—Talent, Growth, Opportunity; Sally—Excellence, Creativity, Passion

CVSM exists to provide people of all ages the opportunity to explore and grow their talent and interests in the arts. This is an economical alternative for the students and a chance for qualified teachers to reach more students through the school’s promotions of their offerings.

CVSM competes with local schools and private tutors, but no one else in the area is doing everything that CVSM does. The organized efforts of the CVSM staff allow for tutors to teach under the CVSM roof and reach a wider audience for their own talents as educators.

Gene and Sally consider CVSM a worthwhile local charity because of the opportunities the school provides local residents who wish to take advantage of them. It has brought over the years a high degree of talent both to and from our community. It helps to showcase the quality of talent and people that are here in South Central Pennsylvania and inspires them to continue offering financial support where they can. Having a background in the performing arts (dance, drama, music), Sally feels it is so important to support organizations that promote a love of the arts. Everyone enjoys music even if they don’t sing or play an instrument. Life without music would be a very dull existence.

Gene has bored his family and friends since his college days with stories of when he spent two summers hitchhiking around the country. That gave him a chance to see a lot of the country and experience the people from the areas he visited. Traveling in other parts of the world with Sally when she was on concert tours gave him additional travel experiences.

All of us fortunate enough to live in this area experience good people and good opportunities. CVSM is one of many and they are pleased to be a part of the community and to participate in its growth and its cultural development.

Student Spotlight – Carolyn Kent

By Meet CVSM

For how long have you attended CVSM and which teachers have you studied with?

I have studied for about 4 years with Brian Helman and Kevin Gorman.  However, I have also eavesdropped during my children’s lessons for many years, on Richard Overcash, Valerie. Merriman, Geoff Weeks, and Deb Stotelmyer!

Where do you attend school and what grade are you in? 

I am not in school at the moment, but I have taken music classes recently at Gettysburg College and Messiah University.

What are your favorite music activities?

I love to sit at the piano and play for myself in the evenings, but also enjoy concerts and listening to music. 

What is your best/favorite memory of your time at CVSM? 

Playing with Brian Helman in the recital hall downstairs

What do you do for fun? I love to read to my grandchildren and watch them figure things out!

If you could instantly have any talent, what would it be? To play any piano piece on sight!

What is your favorite memory? 

As a young child, my mom worked evenings and my dad worked during the day.  After my sister and I went to bed at night, my dad would stand in the doorway of our bedroom, silhouetted against the hall light behind him, and talk to us about the music he played on the record player: Scheherazade, Pictures at an Exhibition, the Grand Canyon Suite, La Mer, the 1812 Overture, the Firebird Suite, and Swan Lake. 

In what places have you lived?

I grew up in New Jersey but moved to Mercersburg after finishing my pediatric residency.  Now I live in Greencastle.

Where is the best place you have traveled to and why? 

I hiked part of the Annapurna circuit in Nepal several years ago with the Sierra Club and it was so beautiful there are no words to describe it.

What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?

Toenails!  I still bite my fingernails but haven’t been able to reach my toes since I turned 36 years old.

Where is your favorite place to eat?

You can’t beat the Falafel Shack.  But I like Sheetz and McDonald’s too!

Congratulations to Zakary Reynolds & Lauren Swain!

By Announcements

Cumberland Valley School of Music students, Zakary Reynolds and Lauren Swain won first place in the United States International Duo Piano Competition held in Colorado Springs, CO on March 20, 2021. Zakary and Lauren are longtime students of CVSM instructor Susan Matson. Zakary and Lauren have already established themselves as excellent students at CVSM as they are the first and second place Piano Merit Award winners respectively in Piano for the 2020-2021 year. In addition to piano, Zakary is also the first-place Vocal Merit Award winner, earning him the Margaret Weeks Voice Award Scholarship.

Lauren Swain is the daughter of Dan and Julie Swain. Lauren has been studying piano for almost 14 years with Susan Matson and finished the 7th Suzuki book in 2019. She frequently plays in church as a soloist and accompanist. She enjoys collaborating with other musicians, including playing in ensemble with flute and other pianists. In May of 2019, she was awarded a perfect score in the Rockville Piano and String Competition and was invited to play in the Winner’s recital. Lauren also studies harp with Carol McClure and has won prizes in national and international competitions.

Zakary Mikael Reynolds is the son of William and Jamie Reynolds and is a 12th grade student at Greencastle-Antrim High School. Zak has been studying piano with Susan Matson for over 13 years. He participates in the school choir as a singer and accompanist and percussion in the band. In his junior year, he became drum major of the marching band. He has participated in District band (2019), District choir (2018-2020), Regional Choir Accompanist (2019-2020), Regional choir vocalist (2020), pianist for All-State Orchestra (2020), and All-State Choir vocalist (2020). He is also a keyboardist and organist for Spring BIC and Trinity Lutheran Churches. Zakary had the extreme honor of singing The National Anthem for Vice President Pence as he visited Manitowoc in 2019.  A member of the Tri-M National Honor Society, Zak was also a CVSM Merit Award winner in 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020.  Zakary received the CSEHY Summer School of Music scholarship award of honor in 2019.

The United States International Duo Piano Competition was created in 1999. The mission of the USIDPC is to provide a top-quality international duo competition that challenges talented performers of all ages to reach their musical potential in a setting promoting international cooperation and the coming together of musicians in the spirit and joy that is music. Each year at the competition, students compete among 9 skill levels ranging from age 6 and below through adult. This year, 54 duos competed at the home of the event, the prestigious Broadmoor Hotel.

Performathon 2021

By Uncategorized


(March 3, 2021) The Cumberland Valley School of Music will present its annual Performathon, sponsored by F&M Trust on Saturday, March 20, 2021 from 9am – 4 pm. Performathon is an all-school event featuring students, along with faculty members, friends and family performing in a continuous stream of recitals from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.  The public is invited to view the event being held on CVSM’s YouTube Channel and on their Facebook page. The event will feature live streamed and pre-recorded performances.

Students will be singing and playing their way through the day in musical styles varying from rock and jazz, to classical and Broadway. A broad range of performances will feature students of all performance abilities from elementary ages through our most seasoned performers.  

“Peformathon is a wonderful opportunity for us to come together as a musical community and share our love of music.” said Heather Kline, CVSM Program Director. “In these unprecedented times, we are even more excited to be able to continue sharing music together with our hybrid options, which include virtual performances and streaming live performances.” Student musicians seek monetary pledges as part of participating in the Performathon. All donations are tax deductible and will benefit the non-profit school.

Various area businesses and individuals contribute prizes for the students who obtain the highest amounts of donations to sponsor their performances. Among the prizes offered to students this year are a Shaman Standard Black Electric Bass, donated by Tregan Guitars; Sundae of the Month, donated by The Meadows; Apple AirPods, donated by Sunrise Electronics; a Deluxe Lego Set, Chick-Fil-A gift cards, donated by Chick-Fil-A Chambersburg; Kenny’s Grill Gift Cards; Paint Night, sponsored by the Chambersburg Council for the Arts; and a Creative Art Pack. Every student who meets the minimum donation requirement receives a commemorative t-shirt.

For further information about the Performathon, or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit the school website at www.cvsmusic.org . Additional information about the event can be accessed by calling the school directly at 717-261-1220 and speaking with any staff member.