namm hills

Hillsborough County Schools, Music Retailer Gain National Attention

June 24, 2020

By: Deborah Childress

TAMPA Fla. – The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) has once again honored the School District of Hillsborough County as an annual “Top 100” school system for excellence in music education.  A consistent winner, the county is at times the only school district in Florida to receive the annual “Best Communities for Music Education” recognition.  NAMM analyzes funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for music programs.


Hillsborough County Public Schools quoted Dan Dubay, Director of Bands at Blake High School who said, “We are one of the few districts in the country to offer band, chorus, and orchestra in the majority of our middle and high school sites.”

Beyond the county’s music education recognition lies another outstanding performance by a local music retailer with multiple sites in Tampa Bay.  Violin Shop Tampa, Inc., founded by Ethan Morency, is a NAMM “Top 100” dealer in the U.S.  When asked about his clientele and who his stores serve, he explained, “We serve the schools, but we have customers who regard their music involvement as being therapeutic.  One 12-year-old student wrote an essay about how music helped ease her anxiety.  Music was recommended by her therapist.”

Cliff Longcoy, along with his wife, Grace are music industry professionals located in Wesley Chapel.  Cliff is a successful classical pianist.  “Classical music is a giant brain game,” he said.  “Every day, you push yourself in a way that keeps your mind younger with a good memory, and helps you find patterns.  Reading skills are improved through music.  In fact, Albert Einstein was a violinist.   Other highly intelligent people in the world have played instruments.”

Einstein’s violin was auctioned off in March 2018 for over one-half million dollars.  He once said, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician.”   

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