Arts Hall of Fame Inductees 2017
Allen J Brennan (SSD Faculty 1966 – 1992)
Allen Brennan was the oldest of 7 children growing up in Southwest Philadelphia. After graduating West Catholic High School, Allen attended University of Penn where he received his BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) and MA (Master of Arts) degrees.
His first job was in New Jersey teaching elementary music traveling between 9 schools. While in Jersey, he taught piano lessons both privately as well as at The Yardumean Music School. Allen then came to E.T. Richardson where he taught choir and he also split his time at Springfield High School, teaching the choirs of the older students, as well, for a number of years. The students flourished under his direction and the people of Springfield and Morton were entertained with the many performance opportunities in the community. He spent many years teaching piano lesson at ETR in the after-school program which started on Saturdays, liking it to a mini conservatory.
After his retirement from the Springfield School District, Allen continued to serve music enthusiasts and taught at Penn Charter for another 5 years. Besides teaching, Allen started the choir at St. Kevin’s Catholic Church here in Springfield and was also the choir director at St. Robert’s in Chester, while his wife, Helen, was the organist. He also presently plays the organ every Sunday at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. Allen and Helen have been married for 60 years and they have 4 children, all of whom music is an important part of their lives. Mary played and taught cello, Joe is the String and Orchestra teacher at Haverford High School and was previously inducted into the Arts Hall of Fame in 2011, Brian, who played piano and sang, is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and was inducted in the Achievers Hall of Fame in 2016, and Cathy played flute and received her Doctorate in Special Education, presently working in the Penn Wood School District.
Barbara Flocco (SHS 1966)
Barbara Flocco had always been attracted to the field of music, but didn't imagine it would become her life's work. She joined the school chorus and always loved serving as an accompanist. Then along came Dance Band with Scott Reeves and ultimately, Luca DelNegro. She became part of a tight music-making team, where the talent was excellent.
By the time Barbara reached West Chester, she had been accompanying, playing services on the organ, and putting in hours of work at the Philadelphia Settlement Music School to get ready for the demands of a music degree. She soon learned just how rigorous the work of a music student would be, as she admits, “Music majors had no life whatsoever!
After these formative years, her musical life took two routes. One was very much in the teaching/mentoring realm, including teaching public school music K-12, teaching at the college level, teaching at a private high school, Phillips Exeter Academy and working with choirs, both choral and handbell, within a church setting. In these capacities, she served people of all ages from 3 to 93.
The other portion of her music making is best described as performance oriented, including recitals, organ dedications, chamber music, accompanying, and conducting. She moved from one role to the next multiple times a day.
Barbara has thrived on the varieties of her career – from working with a blind children’s hand bell choir to a September 11th Memorial at Lincoln Center.
According to Barbara, “Adventure lurks within every measure”, and she credits her education from Springfield as her inspiration. Barbara is extremely appreciative of the honor bestowed upon her today and thoroughly encourages anyone who is considering a career in music to go for it and never look back.
Ryan Hartley (SHS 1997)
Ryan’s introduction to the graphic arts came by way of his older sister’s recommendation. With a freshman exposure to Industrial Materials, Ryan was comfortable around machinery and elected graphic arts in his sophomore year. He quickly took to the blend of creativity and mechanical skills the course offered. He also was a student “manager” of the summer printing program where he interacted with staff for their various department printing needs.
Upon graduation, Ryan was employed by Valley Press, Inc. in Bala Cynwyd, PA and Pemcor Printing in Conshohocken, PA while he attended the Delaware County Community College. Ryan further developed his skills while a production manager for the Sir Speedy Printing Company in Paoli, PA from 2000 to 2005. From there he was employed by Choice Marketing in Aston, PA. With a long desire for entrepreneurship from his high school years, Ryan set his sights on starting his own business by acquiring equipment and supplies.
In 2005 the beginnings of Heartline Press, Inc. was formed in his garage and client lists were developed from contacts and associations he made throughout his time in the business. By 2007, with business expanding, Ryan opened Heartline Press at its present location in Aston, PA. Further expansion took place in 2012 with the addition of digital printing in an expanding full-color business climate. In 2016 Ryan was awarded the Small Business Achievement Award by the Chamber of Commerce for “demonstrating a remarkable entrepreneurial spirit through discipline, hard work and a commitment to success.” In March of 2017 he was awarded the SCORE Business of the Year Award also by the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce.
Today, Heartline Press prints traditional offset, full-color digital, and promotional items for brokers, schools, private institutions and businesses throughout the United States. With an eye toward further expansion, Ryan has invested in new state-of-the-art printing technology which will go online this spring. He is married and the father of two children residing in Middletown, PA.
Louise Mathews (SHS 1969)
Louise Mathews was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Springfield, graduating in 1969. Inspired by her mother, who studied piano and voice, Louise began piano lessons in 2nd grade and viola lessons in 7th grade. Upon Mr. Del Negro’s suggestion, Louise began a long association with Evelyn Jacobs, who assisted her goal of auditioning for Eastman School of Music.
Louise chose to go to Eastman as a Music Education major, studying with Francis Tursi, earning a Bachelor of Music degree. After graduation, Louise taught public school strings for one year and then returned to working with Evelyn at the New School of Music. She played in the orchestra at New School and took chamber music classes; she also studied orchestral parts with Philadelphia Orchestra violist Albert Filosa. She taught viola for the Philadelphia Archdiocesan High Schools, and taught violin at home. She played some freelance jobs, and was in the reading group Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, eventually becoming principal. In the summer of 1976, she played in the Colorado Philharmonic, and the group performed 3 different concerts per week from the major repertoire.
In 1978, Louise joined the Orquestra Sinfonica de Colombia where she taught in the prep department of the Universidad Nacional and played as a ringer in Cali and Medellin orchestras. She also played in a chamber orchestra which visited Paris, Rome, and Madrid. Louise returned to the USA in 1982 where she worked on an M.A. in performance at the University of Iowa, studying with William Preucil, played with the Cedar Rapids Symphony, and won an audition for the Knoxville Symphony, playing in the “core” orchestra, performing orchestra, chamber orchestra, opera, ballet, and in- school string quartet presentations.
Realizing she wanted a pension, and some savings, Louise returned to another great love from grade school – maps, and enrolled as a full time student in Geography at Iowa, while still playing full time in the Symphony. That transition led Louise to the Aerial Photography Field Office in Salt Lake City, where she is still employed. Louise earned a Geographic Information Systems certificate from the University of Utah in 2002, and also was a volunteer for the spectacular Olympic Winter Games that year.
Louise plays in the Salt Lake Symphony, has been principal viola in the group for over 15 years, and has also started playing Scandinavian fiddle music for a dance group in the area. At 66, Louise doesn’t’ regret the decision to leave music as a job. She still does a lot of playing, and hopes to continue playing as long as possible. The experience which started in Springfield school music program, and the academic background of the Springfield school system, have proven to be an invaluable background for a life with music and maps.
Anne Peterson (SHS 1974)
Growing up in Springfield, Anne Peterson began her musical studies with piano lessons under Luca Del Negro at Springfield High School when she was six years old. She began her double bass lessons in middle school, started by her choral conductor, Mr. Salentino. She was very fortunate to continue her bass studies with Neil Courtney, Roger Scott, and Michael Shahan, all in the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Anne studied double bass and piano at Eastman School of Music, the New School of Music, and attended the University of Pennsylvania before winning her first orchestra position with the Louisville Symphony Orchestra. After brief periods in Kentucky and New York City, she returned to Philadelphia, becoming a member of Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Philly Pops, Opera Philadelphia, and performing with the Academy of Vocal Arts and Delaware Symphony. She is principal bass of Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra and West Jersey Chamber Orchestras and has substituted with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, Reading and Lancaster Symphonies, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, and has played with the Colorado Music Festival and Lake George Opera Festival, Mostly Mozart, Bethlehem Bach, and Fringe Arts Festivals.
A very treasured part of her musical life is playing assistant principal bass with the Santa Fe Opera every summer for the last three decades and she loves the yearly experience of the Southwest’s incredible beauty, the world-class opera productions, and of course, green chili!
Anne has extensive experience playing and recording with area baroque ensembles, including Tempesta di Mare, The Bach Collegium, and Brandywine Baroque, as well as performing contemporary music with Network for New Music, and Orchestra 2001. She has recorded on the Chandos, Dorian, RCA, CRI, and Plectra Music labels.
In addition to performing, she has been the contractor for the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, the Philly Pops orchestra, and the West Jersey Chamber Orchestra for many years, has chaired and served on orchestra committees, and volunteers at Children’s Hospital. She is an adjunct faculty member at Temple University, and Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges, and very much enjoys teaching students of all ages privately.
Anne and her husband, Gary Sippel, a chef, have three daughters, and a cat. Anne continues to enjoy her family, music, and fantastic food, which are the great passions of her life.
Brent Porche (SHS 1998)
They say, “if you choose a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” For Brent Porche, he has spent his entire career pursuing his passion of music and entertainment. His love of music began at Scenic Hills Elementary School, where he began as a percussionist, and has taken him across the airwaves of many popular radio stations, including Y100, Harrisburg's 105.7 The X, B101, and Philadelphia's No. 1 Rock Station: 93.3 WMMR, where he currently holds a position as a full time on-air personality.
During his time at Springfield High School, Brent was a member of the SHS Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and Marching Band. Additionally, he was a Varsity member of the Soccer, Lacrosse, and Swim teams. In his schoolwork, it was his time spent with Dr. Benton that inspired him to consider turning his passion for music and broadcasting into a career. With the help of Dr. Benton, Brent qualified as a finalist for the KYW News Studies Program, which gave him his first taste of being “on the air.” Brent went on to attend Millersville University, where he graduated with a Degree in Broadcasting and Communications in 2002.
Since college, Brent’s career in radio and production has taken him on a great adventure. For many years, he split his time as a Traffic Producer at 6 ABC while also fulfilling many functions at WMMR, from working behind the scenes to being on the air. In 2017, Brent was hired as a full time on-air host at WMMR, after working at the station for 10 years. He is the first full-time outside hire at the station in over 15 years, and serves as one of the youngest on-air personalities in the history of the station.
In his tenure at WMMR, Brent has interviewed and covered some of the industry’s most influential artists, including The Rolling Stones, Rush, U2, Bon Jovi, Metallica, Guns' N' Roses, Jay-Z, Jared Leto, Korn, Eminem, Linkin Park, and dozens more. He has been on stage to introduce musical acts at some of the area’s most storied venues, from the Tower Theatre to our beloved Spectrum to the Wells Fargo Center, and nearly everything in between.
Brent also serves on the PHL Live Committee, a group of music industry insiders brought together by Philadelphia City Councilmen with the mission of enhancing the music scene in the Philadelphia area. Because of the outstanding support at Springfield High School, especially within the Arts Departments, Brent is progressively achieving his goals and striving to pay it forward by sharing in the efforts to keep the arts alive within our community.
Bob Preston (SHS Faculty 1984-2012)
Bob Preston arrived to Springfield High School in 1984 after a sweeping change to the department, when the three existing teachers resigned to pursue private business. Bob was charged with building a program from what was a declining enrollment in the graphic arts classes. The goal was to change the program into a viable career track for students. Enrollment recruitment began by literally going into the hallways and cafeteria at lunch times to show samples of work created in the class. By the spring of 1988, student work was showcased at the Celebration of the Arts to further encourage students to consider the class as an elective.
Bob began an outreach to industry leaders at various Philadelphia Printing and Graphic Arts firms to foster business and education partnerships. With the cooperation of Braceland Brothers Company president, John Braceland, the first summer student internship curriculum was written in 1990. Students chosen for the paid internship experienced the work of four different departments within the company every two weeks during the summer break. The success of this model opened further opportunities with Pearl Pressman Liberty Communications, Valley Press Incorporated, and Delco Trade Services.
In 1993 Bob was presented with the Philadelphia Graphic Arts Association Industry Education Award. These business/education partnerships had long lasting benefits as a number of student participants were hired by each company upon completion of college. Company executives also directly participated in the program by serving as industry judges in the annual Celebration of the Arts exhibition and competition. Students highly anticipated their work being critiqued by industry leaders rather than solely by their teacher or peers and it served to raise the bar of competitive spirit in the class. The new millennium saw the introduction of full-color digital printing equipment, large format printing and laptop computers for each student. A new wave of Celebration of the Arts competitive judges also arrived in the new millennium with former student graduates employed in the industry.
Since retiring from education, Bob has worked at Heartline Press in Aston, PA. Another sweeping change arrived in 2012 and 2015 as grandchildren Kaitlin and Jack arrived into his life and he now looks forward to enjoying their lives more fully in retirement.